Judge This by Chip Kidd

The beauty of TED talks books are that they’re done by experts in whatever field is being discussed. You, the reader, can trust that they know their stuff- I find it comforting. The books, based on the 18 minute presentations, are not so long so that you feel overwhelmed or bored. I find myself branching out and exploring topics that I wouldn’t normally be interested in because of their brevity. I’d never put too much thought into product design or labeling and Chip Kidd was just the guy to introduce it to me.

Take the billing on movie posters for example. I never knew that, by union contract, the names had to a certain size on the poster. Or, that there’s a clearer font that could be used for improving the clarity of the names so that they can be read from further away, but it’s never used. Who knew!

His dissection of the Diet Coke can and ad campaign was another of my favorite moments. Kidd comes off as funny as well as highly knowledgeable- one of the best combinations in my opinion.

The last, but not least, of my favorite moments was when we got to hear Kidd’s thoughts behind why and how he designed the covers for some really impressive titles like Fraud: Essays, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, or The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite. Out of those three, Gulp drew my eye the most. When it first came into the library, I remember re-shelving it a couple of times, looking at its cover, and thinking “Wow, this is really different.” And not different in a bad way. It was different in a way that made me want to pick it up and add it to my mammoth to-read pile. And, apparently, that was exactly what Kidd was going for.

If you enjoy Judge This, I’d recommend Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead (Google reveals its elegant methods of internal organization) and The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere (another TED talks book but about meditation instead of art design).

I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads. Thanks for reading!

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