Chip Kidd at Kansas State University

Kansas State University was pleased to host author, bibliophile, Batman fan and designer Chip Kidd on Thursday, March 28.

He spent the morning in studio with the senior graphic design students, discussing and critiquing their projects and chatting about his work.

“I loved having the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show Chip Kidd some of my work and even get some feedback on it,” said Ashley Brewer, senior from Olathe.

Kidd shared his experiences as a designer, as well as a variety of other topics.

“We talked about everything from animation and books to not losing sight of your goals and dreams,” said Kyle Knudsen, senior.

After lunch with some AIGA members, faculty and alumni, Kidd spoke to a standing-room-only audience in the K-State Student Union about ‘Failing Better.’ He explained how failure is part of the design process, and, even if you don’t succeed, you want to fail better at each attempt, improving every step of the way.

This notion about ‘failing better’ has been a constant in Kidd’s career, as he illustrated through a series of side-splitting anecdotes.

“He was hilarious. Everyone was cracking up, and it made him so much more relatable than other designers I have heard speak,” said Jess Shea, senior.

His narratives provided a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to design book covers – the creative process, the necessary approvals and the back-and-forth that occurs before a cover is sent to print. Through a series of attempts, failures and failing better he has found great success, working with authors like Augusten Burroughs, Michael Crichton and David Sedaris.

“It was a great opportunity to not only see what a major contributor to the field of graphic design is currently doing in his career, but also to get to know him on a personal level,” said Meredith Muller,  senior.

Kidd also discussed his graphic novel, Batman: Death By Design. He showed pictures illustrating the design process and read a few pages aloud.

“I’ll never read another Batman comic without hearing his voice. It was awesome,” said Britney Lewis, senior.

In all, it was a thrill to have such a talent visit K-State and share such an enlightening and inspirational message, making everyone laugh along the way. If you haven’t checked out his 2012 TED talk, look it up. It is cited as one of the ‘funniest of the year,’ and it will give you a taste of what it was like to have this amazing designer with us for a day. We are so grateful he took the time to visit the other Manhattan.

By Abigail Crouse, a Kansas State University student

Published April 19, 2013