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Q&A with Anne Jordan

Graphic designer specializing in book cover design

My name is Anne Jordan. I am a graphic designer specializing in book cover design. I often collaborate with my husband, Mitch Goldstein. We are based in Rochester, New York, USA.

How do you manage to separate your work in studio and personal life with your husband?

We don’t separate work and life, and that’s very much on purpose. Mitch and I have always had a home studio, which inevitably means that the line between work and personal life is blurred. We love working from home because we don’t have to spend time commuting, can wear whatever we want, and our dogs keep us company all day. Work is always present because we live in our studio space, but that also means that our personal interests are always bleeding into our client work. We have leaned into this fusion rather than trying to separate the studio from our personal life.

Tell me a little bit about your studio. Is there something you would like to change in your work environment?

Our goal has always been to build a home/studio that is a creative oasis where we can explore all of our interests, blending client work and personal work. In 2016, after renting for over a decade, we finally purchased a home and have been slowly working on it to turn it into our dream studio compound. So far we have built a ceramics studio, wet darkroom for photography, wood shop, sewing studio, photo studio, and a graphic design space. Our modest house was built in 1966 and has been well-loved and used, so the space isn’t too precious which makes it perfect for a working studio and two rambunctious dogs. There are a million things we want to fix, change, or improve, and we’re taking it one step at a time. I don’t think our work environment will ever be completely finished! The renovation projects are a balance of time, money, and skills.

How did you realize that you need to change your professional path and start with book cover design?

It was a slow progression. I started working as a self-employed designer in 2007 upon graduating from Rhode Island School of Design. In the early years I took on any kind of project, with the sole goal of surviving and paying my bills. As my practice became more established, I was able to become more selective about the type of projects I took on. Book covers have always been my favorite format to work in – I love using literature as content and inspiration, and enjoy the limitations inherent in the traditional book cover format. I began to take on more book cover commissions and fewer other types of commissions. It wasn’t until 2014 that book covers became the majority of my practice – so it took about seven years. Today I still work on other types of projects to supplement my income from book cover design.

What would you advise yourself at the beginning of your career?

I would tell myself to not freak out if everything in my career isn’t how I want it to be right away. It takes time to figure out what you want to do, and to find a way to do it that is sustainable. I would also remind myself that anything is possible. If you want to pivot and do something else, you can. Just because your degree is in graphic design doesn’t mean that’s what you need to do for the rest of your life.

Have you ever read books in which the cover is more interesting than the content?

Absolutely! And vice-versa, there are books that are so incredible that the cover doesn’t do the content justice.

Is it necessary to you like the book contents when you designing a book cover?

No, I don’t think so. Ultimately the book’s content is just a jumping off point. The cover doesn’t have to be extremely literal or boxed in by the content. There is a lot of room for creative interpretation in book cover design. Anything can be interesting if you approach it with an open mind.

Who are your colleagues, visual artists, whose work inspire you today?

Friends and colleagues who inspire me include:

Artists who I don’t know personally, but admire immensely include: