The Road Not Taken

Among the morsels in Chip Kidd: Book One—the star book designer’s monograph of covers and ephemera documenting his process and rise to fame—is the 1986 date book from Kidd’s postcollege job hunt in New York. The agenda has him scurrying from Pentagram to Pushpin with his student portfolio, itching for a position at a multidisciplinary design outfit with no apparent interest in designing book covers.

In his third week in New York, Kidd interviewed at five-year-old Metropolis with art director Helene Silverman. “I was just completely knocked out by Metropolis,” Kidd says. “I thought Helene did an incredible job with it, but the interview was obviously pointless. It was very much a one-woman show.” Though that interview may not have panned out, Kidd’s first serious job offer—doing book covers at Knopf—turned out to be auspicious; he still works there today. “If I’d have got the job at Metropolis, I think I would have done fine,” Kidd says, “but I don’t think I’d have gotten much notoriety for it.”

For a more in-depth review of Chip Kidd’s book, click here.

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