Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Neil Gaiman's "Make Good Art" speech.

And yes, that appears to be the actual title of this small book, though one usually finds it as Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman, with graphic design by Chip Kidd. The text is something that Gaiman wrote for a commencement speech, which he delivered in 2012 to the University of the Arts. The book is a triumph of graphic design, using a variety of fonts, font sizes, and several colors (turquoise, red and white), to convey the text, which is both inspirational and aspirational. It's the perfect gift for new graduates, or for anyone anywhere involved in a creative life (which is, to be fair, most everyone I know).

It includes bon mots like:

"People who know what they are doing know the rules, and know what is possible and impossible. You do not. And you should not. . . . If you don't know it's impossible it's easier to do."

"If you have an idea of what you want to make, what you were put here to do, then just go and do that."

". . . I decided that I would do my best in future not to write books just for the money. If you didn't get the money, then you didn't have anything. If I did work I was proud of, and I didn't get the money, at least I'd have the work."

"The problems of failure are hard. The problems of success can be harder, because nobody warns you about them."

"Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do: MAKE GOOD ART."

"[W]hile you are at it, make your art. Do the stuff that only you can do."

I could go on, but I won't.

This book has no pictures, yet it's a highly visual undertaking. Chip Kidd, noted book designer, did the layout, and manages to visually represent the text in exciting and interesting ways, conveying with font, size, and text placement the meaning or feeling of the textual passages. If you are interested in book design or graphic design, this is a not-to-be-missed book.

Two links for you:

Firstly, you can get an idea what the book looks like by checking out the online web preview at HarperCollins. It lets you see what the pages actually look like, and is somewhat better than photos I could manage, since they lit it just right - the turquoise print doesn't come over well in most photos.

Second, here's the speech in full, as delivered by Neil Gaiman in 2012, if you are so inclined. I warn you that it's awesome, and also that it may make you want this book a bit more:

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

I'll be checking this one out. Neil Gaiman is such an interesting person.