Capstones II: Our Student Anthologies

Our second installment in our series on volunteer book designers has arrived! Read more about these great people who volunteer their time and skills to bring a big smile to so many faces.

Meg O’Connell
Exploration of New York City Architecture

After “much soul searching and a string of interesting but ultimately unfulfilling jobs,” Meg O’Connell found graphic design and loves that she gets to create every day. She said, “There’s a quote I like from William Morris that goes: “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” One thing I like about design is that I get to make things more beautiful, and hopefully more useful, too.”

For the student anthology, Meghan aimed to focus on the students’ artwork and tie together the design elements with the student work. She chose a bright and fun color palette for a younger class and used all the students’ drawings to create a cityscape on the cover. Every student was represented either on the front or back of the book. Meghan was able to attend the class celebration for the book she designed and said of the experience: “It was rewarding to see the kids excited and proud about the books and to even have some parents in attendance for the party. It’s easy to question the effect of work I’m doing when I’m doing it in isolation. Seeing the reaction of the students and hearing their thoughts and the thoughts of their teacher on the program reinforced to me the positive reach of my design within Behind the Book’s program.”


Laura Duffy
Who Are We?

Laura Duffy found book design by accident after a job interview at Simon and Schuster. She eventually became a part of Random House’s art department working on books in all kinds of genres. She found the students’ art incredibly inspiring and felt that the hardest part of designing the student anthology was the cover because ‘there were so many great pieces to choose from.” Her goal was to create something fun, strong, and contemporary that the students would be proud to show to everyone they knew. Most importantly, the design centered the students’ work. This was her first time working with Behind the Book, and she was so happy to help bring the students’ work to life.











Annabel (Belle) Brandon
Let’s Travel to the Roots of Life’s Necessities

Belle studied Design and Art Direction at Manchester Metropolitan University in England, then worked in magazine editorial design until she decided to switch industries. She next worked as a designer at Macmillan Education where she got to sketch covers with a pen and paper (something she never got to do in magazines!) Her process in working on any project involves reading through the content, scribbling down key notes, and then working out measurements. This makes it easier for her to present pieces in a way that the graphic elements complement the content and look polished. She happened upon Behind the Book while looking for relevant work and we consider ourselves lucky. We hope to continue working with her in the future!










David Garner
Spice It Up

David Garner was an artist from an early age—as a teenager, he painted a giant sun on the garage door of his family’s house and even painted a commuter bus in his home town. He studied graphic design at Cooper Union in NYC and Rhode Island School of Design – a career he loves  because “it is a creative way to communicate an idea or a message.” In compiling Spice It Up, he decided to use a square format because of the round shape of the dishes the students drew on. His experience working on the book proved to be slightly daunting; the book was 56 pages, and the artwork made the book a very large format. Yet despite the difficulties, David looks forward to working with Behind the Book again on another (maybe not quite so labor intensive) project.

This guest post was written by Klea Kalia, a rising junior at Barnard, who is sad but excited to return to school after a wonderful summer interning at Behind the Book! 🙂