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Chip Kidd Previews Cover Design for Murakami’s 1Q84

Preeminent book designer Chip Kidd discusses the concept behind the beautifully designed cover art for Haruki Murakami’s latest novel, 1Q84 (Knopf, 944pgs), in a short video posted on the Los Angeles Times website today. To align with the book’s theme of parallel realities, Kidd printed part of the 4-color artwork on transparent vellum which overlays the artwork printed on the cover stock beneath. The occurrence of two moons in the book’s plot is also referenced in the design of the end papers. In the video, Kidd also alludes to a mystery involving the book’s page numbers, but readers will have to puzzle that one out themselves, once the book is released here in the U.S, on October 25.

1Q84, which is already a blockbuster bestseller in Murakami’s native Japan, has been lauded by many critics as his best work to date. The story takes place in 1984 Tokyo, as a young woman named Aomame, finds that she has mysteriously crossed over into an alternative reality. She refers to this parallel world as 1Q84, where the Q represents a question mark. Entwined with Aomame’s story is that of teacher and fledgling writer, Tengo, who is offered a dubious writing assignment, to the detriment of his formerly peaceful existence.

Designing a successful cover for Murakami’s opus, was no small feat, considering the book’s physical heft, weighing in at nearly 1,000 pages. Though assistant art director Kidd, who has worked for Knopf for 25 years, clearly enjoyed the challenge. In the past quarter century, the designer has created numerous iconic book covers and is considered a master of publishing design.

Designers and art lovers can peruse a compilation of his most memorable cover designs in Chip Kidd: Book One: Work: 1986-2006 (Rizzoli, 304pgs).

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