New feature series: Book cover design: Jurassic Park: Chip Kidd

We all love to look at beautiful book covers and we love to adorn our shelfs with them. There are many blog series around that talk about different book covers – how similar are some covers among other things. We have book cover reveals as well. But what we overlook is that there are people who have designed these covers. There are people who have tried to understand the story and the intention behind the book and try to design a cover that reflects that. I have been attracted to the art of book cover design for a long time and I thought this would be a perfect platform not just to show you a nice cover but also let you know the process behind it and also introduce you to the designer while I’m at it.

For today, let me introduce you to Chip Kidd, one of the most influential and famous book cover designers today. The cover I’m going to talk about today is this

jurrasic park

I’m sure you all know what book this is about. The design process goes something like this.

Chip Kidd went to the library to find books on dinosaurs and found this page.

He put this in a photostat machine, took a piece of tracing paper, taped it over the tracing paper with a scotch tape and took a rapidograph pen and reconstituted the dinosaur and came up this which was used in the final book cover.

When it was sent to Michael Chrichton and he responded with this 🙂

The image was bought by Universal and was used in the movie which in turn was used in a lot of the movie memorabilia when it was released.

Thats the story behind the cover of Jurassic Park. I hope you enjoyed reading this post.


chip kiddChip Kidd (from Wikipedia): Chip Kidd (born September 12, 1964) is an American author, editor, and graphic designer, best known for his book covers. Kidd is currently associate art director at Knopf, an imprint of Random House. He first joined the Knopf design team in 1986, when he was hired as a junior assistant. Turning out jacket designs at an average of 75 a year, Kidd has freelanced for Doubleday, Farrar Straus & Giroux, Grove Press, HarperCollins, Penguin/Putnam, Scribner and Columbia University Press in addition to his work for Knopf. Kidd also supervises graphic novels at Pantheon, and in 2003 he collaborated with Art Spiegelman on a biography of cartoonist Jack Cole, Jack Cole and Plastic Man: Forms Stretched to Their Limits. His output includes cover concepts for books by Mark Beyer, Bret Easton Ellis, Haruki Murakami, Dean Koontz, Cormac McCarthy, Frank Miller, Michael Ondaatje, Alex Ross, Charles Schulz, Osamu Tezuka, David Sedaris, Donna Tartt, John Updike and others. His design for Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park novel was carried over into marketing for the film adaptation. Oliver Sacks and other authors have contract clauses stating that Kidd design their books

Obviously I have to get this information from somewhere. There are a few youtube videos on this so if you are interested you can watch this videos but for these feature series I’m going to break it down so that you can go through the process in less than 5 mins instead of watching a 20 mins or an hour-long video. All the references will be given alongside.

References: (17.17 min long video)

6 thoughts on “New feature series: Book cover design: Jurassic Park: Chip Kidd

Add yours

  1. Oh, that’s such a fun feature! It’s easy to judge whether we think a cover is good or bad but a lot of work goes into those. I like knowing more from behind the scenes.
    Sometimes simplicity is the best way to go about something, and so I feel that this cover is perfect for the book.


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