becoming a bibliophile (and subsequently loving book cover design)


I grew up reading books. Not because my parents made me. Not because my teachers made me. Because I loved getting lost in someone else’s story. At some point, the beauty of the actual book crept into my mind, and by high school I had decided my life goal was to have my own magazine. One where I would write and edit the stories, take the photos, and do the design and layout. Eventually I realized that I was a horrible photographer, and liked writing research papers more the essays, but the design aspect stuck. I went to UW and got an English degree, but after graduation I found that I didn’t want to teach or go to Grad School. After waiting tables for far too long, I enrolled in this little program called Publishing Arts at Seattle Central. My favorite project was the book project. I got to take a book, redesign it, and then actually produce it. That was the moment I REALLY fell hard for books. There is nothing like picking out the perfect font that captures the essence of your favorite book. I printed out the pages and painstakingly stitched them together. I picked out beautiful paper endsheets and assembled my final masterpieces with great care. After school ended, I was lucky enough to find freelance work with Sasquatch Books (where I had interned) and a full-time job at Mountaineers Books doing production. It was a GREAT learning experience and I love all the people I got to work with, but I realized that instead of working with the designers creating our books, I wanted to be creating them myself, which is how I ended up back at SCCC. I know the book landscape is completely different than it was even a few years ago, but I like to think it’s just evolving, not dying. I hope there will always be some physical books along with digital books. Here are some of my favorite books publishers:

Chronicle Books

They publish a wide range of interesting, quirky books and have many different design styles. I like to read their blog because they have an awesome set of posts about cover design and the covers that aren’t chosen. I love looking at all the ideas that didn’t make it past the drawing board. Here is a link to one of those entries. Some of my favorite covers by Chronicle:


Sasquatch Books is a great, local publisher. They make beautiful books. They also have a great blog that has design tidbits throughout, including this cover process entry, written by their Associate Art Director (a SCCA Alum!). Some favorite Sasquatch Books covers:


Another great PNW publisher is Timber Press, located in Portland. I admit I don’t usually purchase their books, as they are mostly high-level gardening manuals and I’m a basic (basic) gardener, but they have some beautiful covers:


And last, but not least, there’s this non-profit publisher that has some GREAT books out there. Mountaineers Books has a lot of great narratives, how-to’s, where-to’s, and also some great lifestyle books in their Skipstone imprint. Here are a few of my favorite covers by M Books:


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