You do what?

John KennertyBook Design1 Comment

You’re at a party having a great time, everyone’s laughing, lawn darts are about to make an epic appearance, and someone turns and asks you what you do.

Hopefully you’ve got your 30 second elevator pitch in your back pocket. We find, for instance, it’s the mention of book design—and children’s books in particular—that hooks the fish.

Eyebrows raised: “What do you mean, book design? Like, you draw stuff? For kid’s books?”

No, we make books. Books for all ages. we don’t illustrate them. Well sometimes, but not usually.


To have such an exciting, fun and we think enviable job, it’s deflating and maddening to get the fallen face reaction.

We love designing books. You get a hefty Word doc, a measurement, a target readership age, and a deadline. Pull that trigger and go!

You read, research, make everyone crazy bouncing ideas around, bang your head on your desk, complain, drink a coke, cover reams of paper with thumbnail sketches, fixate on the competition, get to know thy audience better than thyself, become a breathing piece of font recognition software. Then you walk away.

Eventually—soon—your concepts are better than you could have imagined, and are in front of teams of people you need to love this book. It’s better than a nail-biting thriller. It is, after all, only your livelihood and reputation on the table.

After the copy-editing, proofing, marketing strategy briefs and late night press checks, you finally get to hold—months of work later—an incredible, tangible, amazing package of greatness: their words, your design. Truly, its a high you never get tired of. You’ve done it again. You’ve made a book.

Now, how do you condense all that brain-busting, frenetic creative ecstasy into party patter? Right. We make books.

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