The Cheese Monkeys
I never thought the first book to be reviewed on TGS would be a fictional novel. Chip Kidd’s The Cheese Monkeys, takes place in an art school in the 1950s. The main character, Happy, discovers graphic design with his over-the-top teacher Winter. The novel takes you through Happy’s first two semesters at the school, his experiences with other art students, and all the assignments in between.
Not only is this book a great fictional read, but you’ll probably learn a thing or two reading it. You might even develop your view on the difference between commercial art and graphic design. The book goes through four design projects - one of which involves making a sign that will have you hitchhike your way back to school. Winter stresses the importance of page layout, wow factor, and using what you know about the audience to make a successful design.
It may not be the most accurate story of art school, but it’s very similar to what I expected college to be like before I actually started. It’s extreme, it’s exciting, and it’s exactly how I wish school was. I highly recommend reading this novel.