Chip Kidd: The art of first impressions — in design and life


Book designer Chip Kidd knows all too well how often we judge things by first appearances. In this hilarious, fast-paced talk, he explains the two techniques designers use to communicate instantly — clarity and mystery — and when, why and how they work. He celebrates beautiful, useful pieces of design, skewers less successful work, and shares the thinking behind some of his own iconic book covers.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more.
Find closed captions and translated subtitles in many languages at

Follow TED news on Twitter:
Like TED on Facebook:

Subscribe to our channel:



  1. The Washington, DC area public transit system has the same issue. They apparently fail to realize that not everyone thinks like they do.

  2. The idea behind the cover of Fraud is identical to that behind Randy Newman's box set, released three years prior: Take a dignified cover and scrawl over it, indicating the negativity of the title – "Guilty" rather than "Fraud" in Newman's case: .  It would be interesting to know whether this was great minds thinking alike, accidental plagiarism, or intentional.

  3. I am looking forward to applying this to how I present my company and our services during a bid appointment!

  4. Mystery is never meant to be revealed. It is a box that keeps on opening. If the mystery can be resolved then it has failed in itself and ceases to have been one. It is the eternal chase that never ends, mystery is there to draw you in and never provide an answer that is absolute.

  5. Chip Kidd is a legend, but I’m noticing as I watch his talks that he will never say the title of a book. I wonder why that is


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here