How Do You Show Without Showing?: Ad Club Meets Graphic-Design Rockstar

By Jessie Tadder (@JessieTadder) and Monica Jazwiecki (@monicajazz)

Good question. This is something that rockstar graphic designer Chip Kidd is challenged with every day. This New York resident is best known for his innovative book covers and off-the-wall personality. On March 3 the UWO Ad Club was delighted to hear Chip speak at a Fox River Ad Club event in Appleton.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” It’s something that’s been drilled in our heads since birth. In Chip’s case, it’s the complete opposite. Judgment is key for a customer to pick up a single book from a busy shelf, so Chip creates eye-catching covers that will draw in viewers to explore further.


The UW Oshkosh Ad Club posing with colorful graphic designer Chip Kidd.


“Tell or show,” that’s Chip’s mantra. Do one or the other, not both. For instance, don’t show an apple and say apple, just do one or the other.

The main point we took away from this discussion was to not over think a design. Simple works, but do the unexpected. So start with your initial design, and begin taking away elements until you discover the essence of the design.

There is no easy way of explaining the brilliant work Chip has created. We will not tell you, instead we are going to show you. So click here to look at some of the covers he has done.


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