Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Judge This

Kidd, Chip (Author/Illustrator)
Simon & Schuster 2015. 132 pages
First published: 2015
Series: TED Books
ISBN: 9781476784786 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Dewey: 741.6
Book type: Non-Fiction

Text Elements:

layout, multimodal, point of view

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Chip Kidd, renowned book cover artist, shares his wit and wisdom in this short, succinct book about first impressions. Myriad design examples, ranging from an ATM machine to a Diet Coke marketing campaign, are shown in photos accompanied by their respective ratings on the author’s patented “mystery-o-metre. The author explains why a balance between mystery and clarity is crucial.

In one example, he uses a photo of a New York subway service-change notice in which the dates and times are not clear, scoring a high mystery rating although clarity is of utmost importance. On the next page, he offers his re-worked version, which employs “simple, declarative sentences” and easily recognizable icons.

Kidd takes us through his creative process when designing book covers. For example, for Oliver Sacks’ book on visual perception, Kidd cleverly uses the font used on eye charts, adds colour and tweaks the letters, making them slightly out of focus.

The writing is casual, with playful chapter headings: “Don’t Get Me Started. Or Do” laments the unneeded complexities of tax forms; “Lead Us Not Into Penn Station” describes the tearing down of the original Pennsylvania Station as “one the most egregious New York design crimes of the last century” and its replacement by “an abysmal drop-ceilinged, overhead-fluorescent-lit, basement-level hellpit.”

Herein is an intimate gaze into the creativity and thought processes behind the work.

  •  

    This text provides information that can be used to support media literacy, particularly for the exploration of techniques used by writers/producers of multimodal and multimedia texts.

  •  

    In pairs or small groups, discuss the impact the design of everyday objects (e.g. packaging, book covers) has on the consumer or end user.

  •  

    Using the texts as models, produce a reflective text about an everyday object in your school. Consider how design decisions add to or detract from the object’s purpose and use.

  •  

    Go on a Graphic Design Hunt around your school campus and take photos of ordinary products. Regroup in small teams and categorize your photos along a spectrum: successfully informative products at one end and successfully mysterious products at the other. Discuss as a large group.

  •  

    Explain the irony in the title of this book, Judge This. Then, with a partner, judge the graphic designs of the books available in the classroom. Use the mystery-o-meter to assist you in your discussions.

  •  Using the texts from the book as models, produce a reflective text about the graphic design of an everyday product found in your classroom. Consider the way its design adds or detracts from the object’s purpose and use.
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To use creativity
  • To use information
  • Visual Arts
  • Go (C. Kidd) (Topic)
    TED Talks (C. Anderson) (Background Knowledge)