Alternative Self-Portrait: Jeff Williams

The Cheese Monkeys is the first book written by graphic designer Chip Kidd.  (Chip Kidd, The Cheese Monkeys, Scribner, 2001)

The Cheese Monkeys is the first book written by graphic designer Chip Kidd. (Chip Kidd, The Cheese Monkeys, Scribner, 2001)

Chip Kidd is a graphic designer most known for designing book jackets and covers. He has worked at Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group since graduating from Penn State in 1986. In 2001 he wrote his first novel The Cheese Monkeys. After designing nearly 1200 book covers for other authors he was able to design a cover for his own book which is loosely based on his experiences while attending college as a design student. I consider this an alternative self portrait because not only did Kidd write this book, he was able to design every aspect of it. I think this is a good example because he had complete creative control and was able to create a cover he thought was most appropriate because he knew the content of the book very well.

The first things I notice about the cover is the hierarchy and lack of text. The word “the” is in top left, which is the usual starting point when reading the english language. The illustrations of the cheese and the monkeys are placed in a order (cheese above the monkeys) that’s easy to understand and know that the book is called The Cheese Monkeys. Both the illustrations of cheese and monkeys have consistent styling. They are both framed with a black background showing that they accompany each other. The use of illustration instead of type for the cover is fitting considering the topics of design and illustration present in the book. The fore edge is printed with two messages. One reads “GOOD IS DEAD” and the other “DO YOU SEE?” These messages can only be seen singly depending on the books orientation and when the pages are bent at the right direction. These messages are layered and the effect combines and contrasts the messages at the same time.

The fore edge of The Cheese Monkey reads GOOD IS DEAD and DO YOU SEE? Images taken from lindypratch.blogspot.com

The fore edge of The Cheese Monkey reads GOOD IS DEAD and DO YOU SEE?
Images taken from lindypratch.blogspot.com

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