Do Judge a Book by its Cover

My nerdy childhood dream of designing book covers came true.

My name is Sarah Walters, I’m a senior Advertising major with a concentration in Art Direction, and I can’t get enough of books. 

My zeal for literature has been a part of me since I was a child. My parents couldn’t keep up with my collection as my books made their way into kitchen cupboards and the living room television stand. Their spines wallpapered our home. And I never was without a novel as I went from place to place. Books acted as comfort creatures, bounded paper pets. 

I was fascinated not only by the books’ contents but their exterior designs as well. I developed an interest in illustration earlier than I could read. I snatched watercolors and pens and half-gnawed pencils to create whimsical compositions. Eventually, I began integrating typography into the designs, combining the rigidness of fonts with the fluidity of my drawings. This passion continued throughout my education, landing me a graphic design and illustrator position at the Moonstone Arts Center this fall.

The Moonstone Arts Center was founded in 1981 by Larry and Sandy Robin. For over thirty years, Moonstone has explored various educational programs that built upon the couple’s motto, “Learning is a life-long activity and…art stimulates both cognitive and effective learning.” Within the last decade, the Arts Center expanded into a poetry publishing house, providing voices for new and experienced poets of the greater Philadelphia region and beyond. As I’ve noticed with my other internships, I gravitate toward organizations like Moonstone. I want to support creative people. I want to support the arts.

Moonstone has provided me with a fantastic opportunity to combine my love for literature (poetry, in this case) and art through book design. I’ve completed four books/poetry anthologies so far, including laying out their interiors. In the design process, I’ve been able to professionally present my concepts to clients, work through design iterations, and collaborate with other creative people toward a common goal.

A part of me always felt that my dream of designing books was unattainable. But, with Moonstone, I’m one step closer to perhaps turning it into a career. 

I get to work firsthand with poets, analyzing their likes and dislikes, and creating covers that complement their works of poetry.  

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