Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

The Future of Book Design

September 20, 2017 @ 4:30 pm


Book publishing and media are changing rapidly and continue to undergo radical transformations. Everyone has an opinion about the future of the industry, but what about the people who actually design books as products?

Three experienced designers share their insights about what’s on the horizon in book design. How has book design and the role of the designer changed in the past ten to fifteen years? How will design and the creative process evolve in the years ahead? What opportunities and challenges should recent graduates and young designers anticipate in today’s job market and in the field? How have readers’ expectations of design changed with new developments in technology?

Our panel will discuss changes in book design that they foresee and how these changes will affect the process of publication. Join us!


Brian Donahue is the founder and principal art director of Minneapolis-based bedesign, collaborating with a deep bench of editors, copywriters, and creatives to accommodate clients of every size and projects on every platform. An award-winning book designer with more than twenty years of experience and over two hundred books on the shelf, Donahue is also an early adopter of Adobe’s Digital Publishing Solution (DPS, now AEM, now soon to be extinct), launching iPad apps and interactive ebooks for a variety of regional and national media clients and cultural institutions, including Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Macalester College, University of Minnesota Press, Minnesota Historical Society, the Bush Foundation, and the Center for Irish Music.

Daniel Leary began his career in publications work in 1993 as an unlikely art director at the Minnesota Daily’s creative department, with stops along the way as a match-print maker at a digital service bureau, designer of fine phone-sex classified ads at the Twin Cities Reader & City Pages, and production coordinator at the University of Minnesota Press. After twelve years at UMP, Dan moved to his current position as design and production manager at the Minnesota Historical Society Press. At MHS Press he directs the work of a terrific collection of skilled freelancers and interns, wrestles with editorial calendars, and charms manufacturing plants’ salespeople. Leary enjoys chamber music and ten-pin bowling.

Mary Austin Speaker is the art director of Milkweed Editions. Before joining Milkweed’s staff in 2017, Mary worked in New York trade publishing for ten years, managing the Ecco and Smithsonian imprints for HarperCollins Publishers and designing for Simon & Schuster. She co-founded and curated the Triptych Poetry Series in the East Village, and while studying for her MFA in poetry at Indiana University, she taught creative writing and edited the Indiana Review. She has published two collections of poetry—Ceremony (Slope Editions 2013) and The Bridge (Shearsman Books 2016)—and edits a chapbook review column for Rain Taxi as well as a series on poetry and power called Society Editions. She has been designing books for Milkweed in a freelance capacity since 2013.


September 20, 2017
4:30 pm


Open Book, Target Auditorium
1011 Washington Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55415 United States
+ Google Map