Book List of the Week

Five Book Cover Designers and the Books That Inspire Them

Peter Mendelsund, Chip Kidd, Coralie Bickford-Smith, Seymour Chwast, Carin Goldberg

August 4, 2014

To mark the publication of two new books about books and their covers, written by Knopf art director Peter Mendelsund, we’re highlighting the book lists of five graphic designers admired for their book cover work. The designers, along with Peter Mendelsund, associate art director at Alfred A. Knopf and the author of What We See When We Read and Cover, both debuting this week, are Seymour Chwast (Push Pin Studios), Coralie Bickford-Smith (Penguin Classics), Chip Kidd (Alfred A. Knopf and author of Go!), and Carin Goldberg.

Covers for novels by Franz Kafka designed by Peter Mendelsund for Pantheon (Alfred A. Knopf)
Peter Mendelsund's Book List

I don’t believe I’ve ever read a “design book” in my entire life. (I don’t think I’ve ever read a single book devoted solely to the visual arts or architecture either, unless you include the occasional biography of a painter, or an essay collection here and there that might have happened to include some piece or other on design or the visual arts.) Furthermore, I have no formal training as a designer so I wasn’t asked to read these books in an academic program either.

Chip Kidd's Book List

E. B. White, Chris Ware, Frank Miller.

Coralie Bickford-Smith's Book List

Books surround me. I have piles of them waiting patiently for my attention, some for work, some for pleasure or inspiration. Each book has its own memory of how and why it ended up in my consciousness and what it taught me. My book list contains the favorites that I find in my hands time and again when starting a project or feeling a bit lost.

Carin Goldberg's Book List

Like most designers, I have an extensive and indispensable library of books on art and design. These books have always been and will continue to be the most important set of tools I use as a designer and a teacher. I was a product of the 1950s boom generation when television began to dominate the culture. For the most part, reading wasn’t particularly encouraged in my suburban public school or at home.

Seymour Chwast's Book List

The books I like are human-size 3-D objects. The are made of ink and paper and sometimes boards and cloth. They often contain things to ponder, ignore, memorize, and laugh and wonder at.

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