There’s a nice, if too-short, video interview with graphic designer, author and comics writer Chip Kidd conducted last month at AGI Open London and which he discusses book-jacket design — he’s behind those for Jurassic Park, The Secret History and Black Hole, among countless others — and, yes, his lifelong obsession with Batman (first documented in 1996′s Batman Collected).
Of course, Kidd isn’t merely a fan of the Dark Knight: He teamed with artist Dave Taylor on the 2012 graphic novel Batman: Death by Design.
“I’ve written a Batman graphic novel. That’s a completely different thing,” Kidd says in the video. “That’s the most fun, because you’re adding to the legacy of the character, and it’s challenging because after 75 years, it’s like, what do you do that hasn’t been done, or that you feel you haven’t seen.”
Design is integral to comics. In its basic form, it’s used by artists to tell story through panel composition and transitions, but in broader terms it’s the logos, trade dress and visual platform by which comics are shown to the public.
Last month at HeroesCon in Charlotte, North Carolina, cartoonist/designer Rich Barrett moderated a panel that looked at the approach and examples of graphic design in use in the medium. With a panel that included cartoonist/designers like Jim Rugg, Matt Kindt and Robert Wilson IV, publisher/designer Chris Pitzer of AdHouse Books and non-comics desginer Matt Stevens, Barrett shepherded the room through slideshow series of impressive design, from page layouts to book covers to book packaging.
The indie-centric design group talked about the use of design by mainstream creators like Jonathan Hickman, Chris Ware and Chester Brown, and its changing role of design as the methods by which comics being sold have changed over the past 20 years.
Although no recording of the panel exists (as of yet), Barrett has shared his slideshow presentation here:
Bleeding Cool noticed that just last week the company submitted two versions of a new logo to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The design, which you can see at right, depicts a D flipping back to reveal a C below; one version includes the words “DC Comics” below, the other “DC Entertainment.”
Although the “flipping” aspect of the logo may not be obvious in its static form, it’s likely designed with animation in mind, for inclusion at the beginning of movies, television shows and video games. How that design might translate to comics remains to be seen.
Comic Book Resources has contacted DC for comment but received no response.
The publisher’s current logo debuted in May 2005 as part of an effort to emphasize the DC brand across all media. Designed by Josh Beatman of Brainchild Studios, the “swoosh” replaced the Milton Glaser-created “bullet” the company had used in one form or another since 1977.