Memo Pad: Chip Kidd's Cover... All Tom Ford, All the Time...

Rolling Stone tapped book illustrator Chip Kidd to design the cover of its decades issue.

Cover of Rolling Stone

Cover of Rolling Stone.

Photo By Courtesy Photo

THE KIDD IS BACK: Rolling Stone tapped book illustrator Chip Kidd to design yet another cover, this time for its decade issue that will look back at the music of the Aughts. Kidd previously designed three separate covers for the title’s 40th anniversary issues in 2007, one of which featured an oversize rendering of the Rolling Stone logo on foil-treated paper. Kidd again manipulated the logo for this week’s cover, taking the O’s from the name and using them as zeros. “There’s a nod to recycling and re-purposing, which seems to make sense for the decade, the idea of make do with what you have,” explained Kidd. Ironically, music didn’t provide enough inspiration for the issue. Though the last 10 years brought Kanye West, Lady Gaga, The Pussycat Dolls and Fall Out Boy, “I didn’t think of any one artist or performer that I thought embodied the decade, so I thought the cover should be more about Rolling Stone itself,” Kidd said.

The illustrator gave credit to Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner for being risky enough to let him manipulate the magazine’s iconic logo, but said Time magazine wasn’t as open to an idea he had for its cover last week looking back at the last decade. Kidd thought of taking a blank Time cover, with its red border, logo and a white background, and crumpling the image into a ball. After a week of letting the trashed image kick around at the bottom of his work bag, he would flatten out the image and photograph the weathered cover for the shot. Time rejected the idea, opting for a crying New Year’s baby sitting in confetti and balloons with the tag line, “The Decade from Hell.” Kidd understood why the tolerance for artistic license varied for the different assignments. “Though it was a similar subject, Rolling Stone wanted to do the best of the decade, while Time wanted to look at the worst of it.”

— Stephanie D. Smith

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