Monday, February 10, 2014

interview | meet the designer behind our SCHOOL OF MAGICAL STORIES cover revamp

We don't ever quit! All day and all night we spend making super cool books for you!

As part of our big design makeover we're so excited to share the new cover for SCHOOL OF MAGICAL STORIES.

When we started out two years ago I wrote down everything I knew about creating thrilling fantasy stories so I could share these secrets of the craft with my two sons. Just in case, you know, if something should happen to me they would still be able to keep the stories going.

But along the way I met so many other people who had the same passion for telling imaginative stories and they wanted to write their own books too. So I packaged it all into a set of lessons and made this available as an ebook, and also through our Super Cool Books iPad app.

This new book cover for SOMS was created by Portland-based designer Natalie Baker. I'll let her introduce herself in the interview below. How it started was that I checked out the graphics work she did for She Shreds, a fantastic indie magazine about women guitarists and bassists, and I thought it was so cool that just for a moment I wanted to drop everything and offer to go write for them.

To cut a long story short, Natalie agreed to help redesign our website banner, and after that she worked on this book cover that you see above. Now I can't wait to write more stories just to find out what other eye-popping designs she'll whip up for us!

Here's a short interview below so you can get to know her too. Remember to check out her links at the end, and also the She Shreds website.

Have faith in what you love! Always!


Hey, awesome designer! 
Hey, my name's Natalie Baker. I'm a freelance graphic designer and marketing strategist based in Portland, Oregon. In addition to my freelance profession, I also help run She Shreds, the world's only print magazine dedicated to women guitarists.

Went to school or self taught?
I started out as a digital photographer, which required me to begin learning Photoshop. Once I had some basic Photoshop knowledge, I started using the software to design basic flyers for student organizations at my college. Things just took off from there. I taught myself how to use all of the Adobe Creative Suite and started reading design books and taking night classes. My favorite kind of design work is helping people modernize and reconceptualize their old designs, like the new banner on the Super Cool Books site. It's just really satisfying to see the before and after effect.

We love She Shreds! Tell us more?
Thanks for asking! She Shreds is the world's only print magazine dedicated to women guitarists and bassists. My friend started the magazine because she was tired of mainstream magazines like Guitar World not representing any of the women who contribute to the music industry, and the response so far has been incredible! We've been around for about 1.5 years and are growing quickly. You can check us out at

When you shop for books, what catches your eye?
I think a good book cover aesthetically represents what the reader will be taking away from the book, be it an emotion, experience, or lesson. To not only look good, but really fit. I guess that's what any good design does! When I shop for books, I'm a sucker for really minimalist, dramatic design--especially crazy hand-lettering. Anything by Leanne Shapton, for example.

How can our readers find you?
My portfolio is at and I welcome Twitter followers at @nataliebakerrr