• Ideas
  • Books

Chip Kidd Judges 6 Books By Their Covers

1 minute read

If anyone knows how to judge a book by its cover, it’s Chip Kidd. The longtime Knopf graphic designer is behind countless iconic covers, including Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park, David Sedaris’ Naked and Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84, and has an eye for creating startling jackets to convey a book’s content.

“A good book jacket both invites you into the text and acts as a distillation of it,” Kidd says. “Then, during the course of your reading the book (especially if you like it), the cover becomes like a best friend’s favorite shirt.”

Kidd’s new book, Judge This, details how he takes in commonplace design details in his world throughout his day. TIME asked him to name five of his favorite classic book covers — plus one of his own.



By Peter Benchley

Designer: Paul Bacon

The Postman Always Rings Twice


By James M. Cain

Designer: Arthur Hawkins, Jr.

Charlotte’s Web


By E.B. White

Designer: Garth Williams

Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth


By Chris Ware

Designer: Chris Ware

Detective Comics #27

DC Comics

By Bill Finger

Art by Bob Kane

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage


By Haruki Murakami

Designer: Chip Kidd

More Must-Reads From TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary on events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of TIME editors.