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GO: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design by Chip Kidd. Workman Publishing. 2013. Library copy. YALSA Nonfiction Finalist.
It’s About: A book about graphic design, designed in such a way to both show and tell what graphic design is.
The Good: To be honest, the nonfiction titles on the YALSA Nonfiction Finalist that are about history are ones that I would want to read anyway. One thing I like about my self-imposed challenge to read all the titles on the list is it pushes me to read outside my typical scope of interests.
GO is terrific. I love how Kidd both tells the reader what graphic design is, but also shows it, using pictures, fonts, and other design features.
GO isn’t a lecture: it’s a discussion, immersing the reader into graphic design and inviting them to think about the things around them that otherwise they wouldn’t notice. “Most of the decisions you make, every day, are by design” — and GO asks the reader to think about that. As Kidd later explains, “graphic design needs your willing mental participation, even if it’s subconscious.” Asking one to examine that subconscious — here in the context of graphic design — is a good exercise for anything. What choices do we make, what do we “know,” what are we deciding without realizing that indeed a judgment took place?
I also liked what GO had to say about problem solving: “but the main thing to learn about graphic design problem-solving is that the best solution can usually be found in the best definition of the problem itself.”
GO ends with suggestions of projects the reader can actually do — and invites the reader to share those projects with Kidd at gothebook.com.
Other reviews: Amy Hood Arts; Graphic Design; New York Times interview with Kidd.
Filed under: Reviews
About Elizabeth Burns
Looking for a place to talk about young adult books? Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and let's chat. I am a New Jersey librarian. My opinions do not reflect those of my employer, SLJ, YALSA, or anyone else. On Twitter I'm @LizB; my email is email@example.com.
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