Jakob Vala

Jakob Vala – Designer

Specializing in detail-oriented interior designs and layouts for print editions



I have two decades of publishing and layout experience, including more than a decade of book design. I was a designer at Tin House for over ten years. I've also worked with Horsethief Books, Turtle Point Press, Puerto del Sol (New Mexico State University), and others. Authors I've designed for include Ursula K. Le Guin, Judy Grahn, Morgan Parker, Melissa Broder, Tommy Pico, Margot Livesey, Barbara Gowdy, Kristen Arnett, Claire Fuller, Charles D'Ambrosio, Lacy M. Johnson, Martha Baillie, Hanif Adburraqib, Robin Pecknold, and more. I've worked with a number of self-published authors. I'm experienced in magazine design and layout as well. I also design marketing materials, such as banners and web ads, and can help authors with promotional campaigns.

NOTE: I'm not available for cover design or ebook production at this time. I'm primarily taking requests for interior design and layout. Feel free to message me with questions.

POLICY DISCLAIMER: I don’t work on projects that are homophobic, sexist, transphobic, racist, antisemitic, xenophobic, ableist, right-wing aligned, or that portray any sort of bigotry in a positive or neutral light.

Biographies & Memoirs Education & Reference History
Historical Fiction LGBTQ Fiction Literary Fiction Poetry Thriller & Suspense Young Adult
  • My Darling from the Lions: 50 Best Book Covers of 2021 (Print Magazine)
  • Vera Kelly Is Not a Mystery: 2020 American Graphic Design Award
  • Anodyne: "Book Covers We Love" (Spine Magazine)
  • Mostly Dead Things: Best Book Covers of 2019 (Book Riot), Best Book Covers of June 2019 (Paste Magazine), and "Book Covers We Love" in June 2019 (Spine Magazine)
  • My Baby First Birthday: Best Book Covers of May 2020 (Lit Hub) and Most Beautiful Book Covers Of 2020 (BuzzFeed)
  • The Magical Language of Others: Most Beautiful Book Covers Of 2020 (BuzzFeed)
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication Design, Pacific Northwest College of Art

Work experience

Tin House

Jun, 2011 — May, 2022 (almost 11 years)

Submit Magazine

Sep, 2009 — May, 2011 (over 1 year)

Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader

Jan, 2006 — Jun, 2008 (over 2 years)


Dec, 2001 — Present


A TIME Magazine Best Paperback of 2017A Publishers Weekly Best Poetry Collection of SpringA Paris Review Staff PickA Most Anticipated Book of 2017 at NPR.org, BuzzFeed, VICE, NYLON, and more"This is a marvelous book. See for yourself. Morgan Parker is a fearle... read more
Ursula K. Le Guin discusses her fiction, nonfiction, and poetry?both her process and her philosophy?with all the wisdom, profundity, and rigor we expect from one of the great writers of the last century.When the New York Times referred to Ursula K. Le Guin as ... read more

Queen, Khadijah

Mostly Dead Things

Arnett, Kristen

"Bianca Stone is a brilliant transcriber of her generation's emerging pathology and sensibility." ―John Ashbery A Paris Review Staff Pick and Most Anticipated Book of 2018 at NYLON, Bustle, Autostraddle, and more.The Möbius Strip Club of Grief is a collection ... read more
A masterclass for those who love reading literature and for those who aspire to write it.“Read everything that is good for the good of your soul. Then learn to read as a writer, to search out that hidden machinery, which it is the business of art to conceal an... read more
Last Sext

Melissa Broder

In her electric fourth collection, Melissa Broder penetrates the itch of existence and explores numberless deaths: the annihilation of self, the bereavement of love, the destruction of fantasy, the transmutation, even, of our ideas of dying. One of the New Yor... read more
With a wickedly witty touch, Elkin’s essays takes readers on a tour of American life in the 20th century. Stanley Elkin was one of our great American writers. “A divine exploiter of the idiocies and intricacies of our language,” as John Irving put it, and nowh... read more

Max Frisch

Max Frisch's candid story of his affair with a young woman illuminates a lifetime of relationships. Casting himself as both subject and observer, Frisch reflects on his marriages, children, friendships, and careers; a holiday weekend in Long Island is a trigge... read more
For readers of Jon Krakauer and Susan Orlean, The Coyote's Bicycle brings to life a never-before-told phenomenon at our southern border, and the human drama of those who would cross.It wasn’t surprising when the first abandoned bicycles were found along the di... read more
Stylish historical fiction in the tradition of True Grit and Carter Beats the Devil, A Hanging at Cinder Bottom is an epic novel of exile and retribution, a heist tale and a love story both. The year is 1910. Halley’s Comet has just signaled the end of the wor... read more
Part fairy-tale, part magic, yet always savagely realistic Claire Fuller's haunting and powerful debut Our Endless Numbered Days will appeal to fans of Eowyn Ivey's The Snow Child and Christian Baker Kline's Orphan Train . Peggy Hillcoat is eight years old whe... read more
The Boatmaker

John Benditt

Part fable, part allegory, The Boatmaker is the haunting and passionate story of a voyage of self-discovery. A fierce and complicated man wakes from a fever dream compelled to build a boat and sail away from the isolated island where he was born. Encountering ... read more
New York TimesNotable Book Winner of the Washington State Book Prize D'Ambrosio is already considered one of America's premier short story writers, but Loitering cements his place as one of our great living essayists. Charles D’Ambrosio’s essay collection Orph... read more
Brimming with the creativity behind David Mitchell's masterpiece Cloud Atlas in a far north setting, The Search for Heinrich Schlogel is a sophisticated story with magical underpinnings. Martha Baillie’s hypnotic novel follows Heinrich Schlögel from Germany to... read more
Us Conductors is the story of the man who created the most magical musical instrument in the world, the theremin. It's a tale of electricity and espionage, jazz and kung-fu, Harlem and Siberia, and the way even doomed love can keep you alive. Locked in a cabin... read more

Jakob has 10 reviews





Behrouz S.

Behrouz S.

Feb, 2024

Jakob was extremely professional and produced such high quality work. I was thrilled with the final result and highly recommend him for layout design.
Jakob V.
Thanks, Behrouz!
Chris R.

Chris R.

Sep, 2023

I came to Jakob with a problem in my computer formatting of both the written work, essentially caused by others (outside of Reedsy - big lesson there). Two elements to this: Reedsy made it easy to find the correct person for the job and Jakob methodically worked through matters and sorted the issues out for a reasonable fee. Awesome job by Reedsy and bloody awesome job by Jakob. Thank you both.
Jakob V.
Thanks, Chris!
Antonio R.

Antonio R.

Nov, 2020

Throughout this project, I found Jakob to be responsive, meticulous, willing to address challenges and patient with me. As an editor, he was invaluable in bringing my book into production. I would not hesitate to work with him again if the opportunity arose.
Jakob V.
Thanks, Antonio! It was great working with you.
Richard G.

Richard G.

Mar, 2019

Jakob was incredibly professional and patient with our special issue and flip book project for Puerto del Sol magazine. We're indebted.
Joella W.

Joella W.

Feb, 2019

Jakob is excellent. He has all skills needed to design a book from cover to cover, plus good judgment about requirements and constraints of the client's particular project. I had signed an agreement with a self-publishing (on demand) company which requires that I submit a camera-ready PDF. This is a struggle for most writers. Jakob can make it happen!

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