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John Gall

Creative Director, Designer

John Gall is a designer, artist, author, editor, and professor. He is currently the creative director of Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. His design and illustration work for Knopf, Vintage Books, Abrams Books, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Criterion Collection, and Nonesuch Records has been recognized by the American Institute of Graphic Arts, Art Directors Club, Print, Graphis, and American Illustration.

Whether you know it or not, you are likely already familiar with John’s work. John has created jackets for prominent authors such as Haruki Murakami, Margaret Atwood, Jennifer Egan, and Vladimir Nabokov. His work is featured in the books By Its Cover: Modern American Book Cover Design, and Graphic: Inside the Sketchbooks of the World’s Great Graphic Designers.

In 2009, John embarked on a redesign of the Nabokov backlist at Vintage books. His idea for the series look is explained here:

“Nabokov was a passionate butterfly collector, a theme that has cropped up on some of his past covers. My idea was also a play on this concept. Each cover consists of a photograph of a specimen box, the kind used by collectors like Nabokov to display insects. Each box would be filled with paper, ephemera, and insect pins, selected to somehow evoke the book’s content. And to make it more interesting for readers — and less daunting for me — I thought it would be fun to ask a group of talented designers to help create the boxes.”

The series was completed with the help of fellow rockstar designers including Chip Kidd, Carol Carson, Megan Wilson, Helen Yentus, Rodrigo Corral, and more. You can view the entire backlist collection here. Learn about how each individual designer tackled this assignment in this 2009 article from PRINT magazine.

John has written about graphic design covering an array of topics from the history of Grove Press to contemporary skateboard graphics, and is the author of Sayonara Home Run! The Art of the Japanese Baseball Card. He has also been the editor of two bestselling design books: Pretty Much Everything by Aaron Draplin and Sunday Sketching by Christoph Niemann.

John is an internationally exhibited artist and published a 2018 collection of his work in a book titled John Gall Collages 2008-2018. You can read about his love for collage in this 2018 article from PRINT Magazine.

He has served on the board of AIGA/NY, as an adjunct professor at the School of Visual Arts, and is a frequent lecturer.

John created a popular class about creating impactful book covers, “from an art director’s perspective.” It is available via Domestika – check it out!

If you’re interested in learning more about John Gall, you will enjoy this detailed interview he gave to The Great Discontent in 2014. Be sure to read this interview from Haruki Murakami’s website, “A Conversation with the Cover Designers.”

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