Book designer Chip Kidd knows all too well how often we judge things by first appearances. In this hilarious, fast-paced talk, he explains the two techniques designers use to communicate instantly — clarity and mystery — and when, why and how they work. He celebrates beautiful, useful pieces of design, skewers less successful work, and shares the thinking behind some of his own iconic book covers.
The Apple Watch is the first Apple product that has not enticed any kind of curiosity in me. I think it mostly has to do with the fact that I’ve not worn a watch in decades and don’t feel the need for one. Though I suspect at some point the functionality of the watch will lead me to get one, probably two versions down the road, when it is fine-tuned further.
However, I am very curious about the conversation happening around the watch. A conversation about digital luxury and digital intimacy. Those two subjects now join the conversation around digital privacy and what it means to have technology so closely know what you are doing.
I am not one of those designers who are eager to expand the role of a graphic designer. I’m a graphic designer. I know I’m good at that. I’m not an expert about customer service. I’m not an expert about coming up with the valuation of an IPO. If someone comes to me and has a shitty product, I will say tell them upfront that I don’t know why people would use this and that, to me, it doesn’t make sense, and I’m not sure a logo is what they need right now. But I’m not someone who is dying to have a seat at the table and have input earlier in the process; I’m surrounded by people who have goddamn opinions about things they don’t know anything about, and I don’t want to be one of those people. Sorry if that sounds like bad advice for students who should be expanding their horizons, but I think that everyone should work out what they are good at and do that thing.
I have a productivity trick that I didn’t know I had until I heard about it on a radio program. NPR did this interview with experts about boredom. iPhones and other forms of digital media were disrupting boredom, because people can occupy themselves all the time. You don’t have any more downtime—you go on your iPhone, look at email, or you’re playing video games. The fact of the matter is, that eats up really good creative time. I realize that when I’m sitting in a taxicab in traffic, or on my way to the airport, or waiting to get on a plane, or trapped in some other boring situation, that’s when I get the best ideas, because I’ve got nothing else interfering with it. I didn’t realized until I listened to that broadcast how important boredom is to me. I have to stop reading emails or being anywhere near the internet to be able to create.