Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Getting to know Anita B. Carroll

The lovely and talented Anita B. Carroll, cover designer extraordinaire, returns today to talk about how she got started in the cover design business. (If you missed yesterday's post on the making of the cover for Faery Marked, you can find it HERE.)

MW: Welcome back, Anita!

AC: Thanks for having me back.

MW: Anytime, it's truly my pleasure. Yesterday we talked about what went into the making of the cover for Faery Marked. Today, I'd like to hear how you got started in the design field.

AC: Growing up in Norway I had several influencers within design and in several different forms; fashion, interior, visual and nature. 

My grandma was a fashion designer and one of my biggest idols. So by the age of ten, with my own sewing machine, I was designing and sewing clothes. I also watched and helped family members build structures, and had re-designed my room more times then I can count. My father was an electric engineer and an avid photographer and I would spend hours admiring his works, he gave me my first 35mm camera when I was nine. 

So, with all this exposure, learning naturally about balance, patterning, and colors, I think I knew I wanted to be a designer already at a very young age. I just didn’t know which kind of designer I wanted to be. I find design so interesting and fulfilling, and don’t really like the idea of having to limit myself to one specific area. 

However, my college studies were non-design related but focused on sports medicine, marketing, and foreign languages. It wasn’t until after I graduated and moved overseas to the US that I started tinkering with HTML and content development, and it sucked me in. 

With self-taught skills I began my professional visual design career as an intranet webmaster for Symantec Corporation, based out their World Wide Headquarters in Silicon Valley – Cupertino, California. That was 17 years ago. My interest for creating graphics became a reality as my Linux, HTML and JavaScript coding skills grew stronger, since I wanted to bring my website design up to a new level. 

I have always loved imagery both graphic design and photography, and once I discovered Adobe’s software program Photoshop, there was no turning back. I attended a comprehensive Photoshop training program, from beginner to advanced level, and loved every minute of it. 

A few years later I transitioned over to an internet start-up company with focus on home improvement and was appointed the Lead Web User Interface Designer role. During this time I was very fortunate to take studies with Jared Spool, the Founding Principal of User Interface Engineering, and his team as my instructors. 

So, in the beginning my visual design career was heavily focused on web user interface design, web graphics and web usability testing. One of my proposed web site designs was chosen as the new storefront for the 60,000+ pages web site re-design project, and only six months after implementation the company was acquired. I worked with wonderfully talented people and it was truly an invaluable fun learning experience.

When I relocated to New England to the Greater Boston Area with my husband about a couple of years later, I formed my visual design consulting services business, (Race-Point.com) supporting clients such as small business owners, organizations, and artists with all their website, graphic, brand and identity design needs including social media marketing.

Prior to the self-publishing era, designing book covers has, for the most part, only been offered in-house. So unless you were working for a publishing company, designing covers was not easily accessible to a freelancer. So it was definitely on my radar but Ifound it serendipitously when one day, my passion for creating art DID fatefully intersect with my love for reading. (I really LOVE reading.) 

Having designed business-oriented visuals for so many years, the difference was immediately noticeable, and it felt amazing to design with free license and I had so much fun with it. At the time, I had a great group of clients, but I knew then that book cover design was where I wanted my focus to be. 

So gradually I began shifting my design services, it was important to me to make sure all of my business clients were taken care of before I jumped all in. Now, over five years later I am so incredibly grateful and thrilled to say “I am in!”  

Original Photography works and PREmade book cover designs by Anita B. Carroll 

Discovering cover design has truly been a gift, and offers me such a wonderful outlet to implement my works in photography, in addition to using my digital image manipulation skills. 

Each book has its own story and identity (brand,) and I believe the author should be involved in the creative cover design process. 

Which is why I LOVE working with SPA’s (self-published authors) and publishers such as BookFish Books. You guys are absolutely a dream to work with. You truly understand the art of creating a cover that is a perfect fit for the story. Creating a cover is such a close partnership with the publisher, designer and author, and that requires teamwork and trust.

MW: I totally agree. A cover can make or break a book. And check out those before and after graphics above! How cool are they?!
I must say, we at BookFish Books are blessed to have you creating such stunning covers for us! 

Come back tomorrow to learn more about Anita's process, and see some of her favorite designs.


  1. Wow, love the before and afters. Great journey -so far- Anita. Thanks for sharing it.

    1. I know- aren't they absolutely amazing!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Thanks Kai - I feel so fortunate to have discovered this amazing field. I love what I do, and can't imagine doing anything else.


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