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Peter Mendelsund

Art Director, Designer, Author

Peter Mendelsund’s journey into the field of book cover design wasn’t the typical path taken by most graphic designers: He graduated from Columbia University as a philosophy major with a master’s degree in piano performance. Following his graduation, he “struggled to make a living as a pianist” before training himself in graphic design. He was hired by Chip Kidd to work at Vintage Books and was later promoted to associate art director at Alfred A. Knopf. He eventually became the art director of Pantheon Books and Vertical Press.

He has designed critically acclaimed book covers for James Joyce, Vladimir Nabokov, Simone de BeauvoirJulio CortázarFyodor Dostoevsky, and Stieg Larsson. His book cover for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has been praised by The Wall Street Journal as “one of the most instantly recognizable and iconic book covers in contemporary fiction in the U.S.” The New York Times described Mendelsund as “one of the top designers at work today.” 

Mendelsund is the author of five books: The Delivery (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), The Look Of The Book, Same Same (Vintage), What We See When We Read, and Cover (powerHouse Books).

Today, he is the Creative Director of The Atlantic. 

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