Random House’s Peter Mendelsund: The Very Lucky Hot Shot Book Designer


In the past couple of years, when you say, “book designer,” the first person, even non-design-y people, will say, instinctively, is “Chip Kidd.” But even though he’s something of a machine, cranking out so many, many book covers, writing novels and starting bands, surely he must work alongside some equally as interesting designers, right? Well, of course he does. What a silly question. Thanks to a submitted tip, we were pointed over to this Design Related interview with Peter Mendelsund, one of Kidd’s co-workers who is part of the “all-star lineup of designers at Random House.” Now you’re thinking, “Oh, yeah, I’ve heard of him. What’s his story?” Well, we answer by telling you that it’s a great read and features not only a ton of information, but also includes a whole smattering of fantastic covers Mendelsund has designed. Favorite part, sure to make you cringe in jealousy, is how he landed the job in the first place:

…I taught myself Quark etc., volunteered to design some CD covers for a NY record label where I’d made some recordings, and six months after that, I showed up with a “book” at John Gall‘s door, met Carol [Devine Carson] and Chip [Kidd] (ok, I had no idea who any of these people were, which helped A TON). The following week, I was working here; first at Vintage, eight months after that, Knopf hardcovers. Improbably, the entire process from music to design took less than a year. I count my lucky stars that John and Carol were up for a gamble.