From the Design Desk: Branches and Offshoots

Chronicle Books publishes over 200 books and gift projects in any given season. As much as we designers love to tenderly craft every last detail of each project, there are just too many of them for our team of 16 in-house designers. So, instead we get to hire outside designers whose work we love and are inspired by. Whether a tiny two person art studio out of Philadelphia or a creative powerhouse in LA, outside talent is a vital part of our collaborative process.

This ever-shifting pool of freelance designers is essential to our larger creative family, branches that extend far and wide. Here are a few of our favorites:

Jon Sueda of Stripe LA designed Sake, Buzz and most recently, one of our favorite designs, the Eiji Tsuburaya (see above). Typical of Chronicle tradition, the range of work is diverse to say the least. Smog (also based in Los Angeles) has designed Art of Bolt and Runnin’ Down A Dream: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Steve Barretto of San Francisco is a super versatile designer who has collaborated on many, many books with us, from the Playboy Bunny Book, to Art of Modern Rock to Mastering the Grill. He has a wide aesthetic range, smart design solutions, and he’s nice to boot.

Sometimes our very own end up leaving the nest, and we enjoy keeping them in the fold. Former children’s designer Mary Beth Fiorentino left Chronicle a few years ago to focus on her letterpress business, Peculiar Pair Press. Since then Peculiar Pair Press has designed a journal set, a box of labels, a stationery box, a gift wrap kit in their Paper Patisserie line. Look out for their placemats (a new format!) coming out in Fall 2009.

Former children’s designer Sara Gillingham just finished designing the hilarious The U.S. of Eh? and her new portfolio website is to die for.

Former designers Brett MacFadden and Scott Thorpe flew the coop to start the MacFadden & Thorpe. They are currently designing The Secret Life of Syrian Lingerie and the BLDGBLOG book (out Fall 2009).

As the Chronicle design offshoots continue to branch off, we do our best to keep them connected. They too become the branches bearing the fruit we hope you’ll pick.

Note: If you’re interested in joining our pool of freelance designers please feel free to submit your portfolio to us for review. We all get together once a month to look for new talent.

Suzanne LaGasa

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