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Recommended Reading: Lessons Learned from Cheese Monkeys

Our illustrious Publishing Trends Managing Editor, Kim Lew, who also sometimes  writes here, also writes for the blog Crazytown. This an excerpt of one of her recent posts there, meant to serve as a teaser. Definitely click on over to finish the article and to learn what a “Cheese Monkey” actually is. (Actually, sorry. That part is never explained. Nor is it, apparently, anywhere on the Information Highway.)

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I have a favorite graphic designer. Which is a thing, right? Like when you’re on a first date and he asks what you like to do in your spare time, you ask whether or not he likes the font on the cover of the new Jonathan Franzen hardcover. 

I was a fan of Chip Kidd before I even knew it. He’s designed iconic covers of books by David SedarisHaruki MurakamiCormac McCarthy — he is also behind the image that will forever be associated with Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park. He has even been referred by USA Today as “the closest thing to a rock star” in graphic design. I am such a nerd for his stuff that I even wrote my senior elective thesis on his work (as a designer and writer) and have since started collecting books with his covers (with a lot of help from the Strand).

But what initially drew me to find out more about Chip Kidd and his work in the first place was that I loved the way he talked about art. When I was a senior in high school, a friend would share hilarious passages of Chip Kidd’s first novel,The Cheese Monkeyswith our group of friends at lunch (again, NERDS). Following a disenchanted art student in the 50s who enrolls in a life-changing graphic design course by fluke, The Cheese Monkeys is both a sardonic take on the art world while also a love letter to its practicalities and ability to communicate in the most dire of circumstances…

Read on! 

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