"Go: A Kidd's Guide to Graphic Design," by Chip Kidd., is an amazing book!
Are you asking yourself why anyone would want to write a book about graphic
design for children? Isn't that a topic for high school or college classes?
Isn't it for people who will be using graphic design in their careers? Who
else would need to know much about it? Wouldn't that be a rather dry, dull
book for kids?
Surprise! From the opening cover of a bright red, octagonal sign with the
word GO, to the green, round STOP sign on the back, Kidd's book is one
visual and textual delight after another. Inside the covers are pages filled
with pictures, illustrations, colors, shapes and fonts explained in such a
way as to make everyone aware that everything we see in the world around us
is designed to make us experience items in certain ways. All of this is
presented in an easy-to-understand, humorously exciting manner that will
keep kids (of all ages) turning the pages to see what comes next.
The author's introduction defines graphic design as problem-solving, and
we should care about it because it affects us all the time. Unless something
is from nature, it has to be designed, and graphic design when used with the
right combinations of pictures and type can make our brains respond in
certain ways. (Understanding how it does this may help when we are bombarded
by advertising everywhere!)
Kidd takes the reader through a very brief history of graphic design,
starting with the cave paintings of Lascaux, France, to Barack Obama's
campaign logo, inviting readers to create a design of their own as well.
Topics of scale, juxtaposition, cropping, color theory, positive and
negative space, and image quality in the "Form" chapter are illustrated
through the use of book covers, comics, photography and packaging.
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The "Typography" chapter explains typefaces, styles, points,
picas, kerning, leading, color, proportions and textures with
examples and histories that are easy to understand. With clearly
defined examples so all those frustrating terms finally make sense,
Kidd has almost accomplished a miracle! If you have ever wondered
why certain text is more pleasing to you than others, this chapter
will give insight into why.
In the third chapter, "Content," Kidd explains that content is
what drives a design, as the purpose of the design must be
communicated to the audience. This is sometimes the hardest part of
design to understand. To illustrate its importance, he starts with
two different "Exit" signs. Through the use of the font, color and
shape, the reader can clearly see how one sign is vastly superior to
the other. Going on to give examples of how imagery, illusion,
metaphor, visual flavor and even font type can relay information
about the content, Kidd gives the reader insight on how all these
separate parts of design play together to evoke responses in humans.
Finally, the book wraps up with a chapter of 10 projects that
encourage children to play with design on their own. None of the
projects would be expensive, often involving materials ready
available to anyone.
I encourage everyone to take a look at this fantastic book. Young
or old, interested in creating a design yourself or just wanting
information on how design affects our world, this informative,
interesting book is fun and it's a quick, easy read.
Come in and explore lots of unusual nonfiction offerings at the
Lincoln Public Library, 725 Pekin St.
[By LOUELLA MORELAND, youth services librarian,
Lincoln Public Library District]
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