James Pople

James Pople – Designer

I am a non-fiction specialist, designing covers and layouts for photographic / illustrated books (cookery, travel, reference, pop culture)


Based in Bristol, England, I have over 10 years of experience in the book publishing industry, and my portfolio spans many genres: art and design, history, reference, sport, music, archaeology, travel and more.

Designing covers and layouts for several large British publishers including Penguin Random House, Hachette, Quarto and Welbeck, as well as some independents and the occasional self-publisher, I have designed many non-fiction books from initial concept through to completion.

My favourite genres to work on are travel, food and drink and photography-led books, but I love to try new things, step out my comfort zone and explore diverse subject areas.

Outside of publishing, I produce material for small businesses, social enterprises and charities, often working with clients who focus on providing a positive social impact through their work.

My approach is to start every project with an open mind, research the subject well, and design books with a confident, bold use of colour, type and composition. I particularly enjoy adding the little details and applying those crucial finishing touches that really bring a book to life.
Architecture Cooking, Food, Wine, & Spirits Entertainment History Photography Sports & Outdoors Travel

Work experience


Oct, 2016 — Present

I design books for a variety of publishers, including Penguin Random House, Hachette, Quarto, Welbeck / Carlton, Eddison and Arcturus as well as some self-publishers.

Outside of publishing, I produce campaign material for Molly Scott Cato MEP (Green Party of England & Wales), SEO organisations such as Belu Water and Good Finance, along with branded content for start-up businesses.

Carlton Books (now Welbeck Publishing)

Jan, 2011 — Jul, 2016 (over 5 years)

I designed both book covers and layouts for a variety of non-fiction books for this independent publishing house. I worked predominantly across the reference and entertainment lists alongside editors, picture researchers and freelance creatives on subjects such as music, history, infographics, sport and popular culture.

Amberley Publishing

Oct, 2008 — Dec, 2010 (about 2 years)

I worked initially as a graduate trainee after finishing University, before becoming an assistant to the main designer at this local history publisher. My responsibilities included cover design, typesetting and retouching of old photographs.


With hundreds of incredible photographs, iconic album covers, and posters, History of Rock in the 1970s allows you to relive the greatest decade of music the world has ever seen in all its glory. Whether taking established genres to incredible places, or creat... read more
The legend of Bruce Springsteen may well outlast rock ’n’ roll itself. And for all the muscle and magic of his life-shaking concerts with the E Street Band, his legendary status comes down to the songs. He is an acknowledged master of music and lyrics, with de... read more

Robin Cohen

While recognizing that distinctions between categories are often fuzzy, Migration covers many types of migrants including explorers, slaves, pilgrims, mineworkers, labourers, exiles, refugees, sex workers, students, tourists, retirees and expatriates. Cohen co... read more
In Unforgettable Things to Do Before You Die, two international travel writers and photographers draw on their years of experience to select their ultimate trips of a lifetime. This book will introduce you to a host of unusual and amazing activities to be done... read more
Organized around London boroughs from North to South, East to West, every corner is full of hidden gems to discover. Find new favorite brews with descriptions of the best to taste at each location, and pairings notes to enjoy alongside food. Meticulously plott... read more
Love video games? Here’s a huge countdown of the 100 greatest retro games of all time—along with developer interviews, behind-the-scenes stories, and amazing facts and trivia! From platformers and puzzlers to shooters and racing games, this brilliantly illustr... read more
A humorous, fascinating, and engrossing history of music told through 80 visually stunning infographics—the most popular information medium of the twenty-first century. Where does the money from Number One records go? What’s up with the “27 Club?” Which soundt... read more
Geek Guide to Life

Mun Keat Looi (author) Colin Stuart (author)

Geek Guide to Life
This informative work tells the story of the famous Liverpool musicians, from the band's formative days in Hamburg and Liverpool to the split in 1970. General Editor Brian Southall has gathered a team of experts to write about each era of the band's existence,... read more
Manchester City: The Official Illustrated History celebrates the illustrious history and modern dominance of one of English football's most storied teams. Few clubs can boast a story as dramatic and fascinating as Manchester City. This officially endorsed book... read more
The Holocaust

Thomas Cussans

During the Holocaust, the Nazis systematically murdered more than six million Jews. This commemorative volume, published in association with Mémorial de la Shoah, France’s memorial museum on the Holocaust, strives to understand the historical context behind th... read more
Get swept up in the beauty of our universe with this collection of spectacular images taken by today’s most powerful telescopes and orbiting probes. These breathtaking photographs both enthrall and inform as they capture the many wonders of outer space. Moving... read more
This is the greatest tribute to the greatest rock band of all time. Led Zeppelin: The Ultimate Collection documents the incredible journey of four talented rockers on the path to musical glory, and reveals the stories behind all of their recordings. This weigh... read more
Tutankhamun puts the boy king's short life into context by describing and explaining the complexities of life in Ancient Egypt. Covering the work of earlier Egyptologists, it details the actual discovery and original expedition, drawing on the personal archive... read more

James has 6 reviews





Imran N.

Imran N.

Sep, 2023

Long story short: you should 100% hire James to design your book. I had a massive 672-page photobook that needed to be put together. The book's concept was simple, which sounds like it would make the job easier, but that arguably made it more complicated because that brings the challenge of keeping readers engaged throughout it. I had a basis of what I wanted the designs to look like, and Jame...
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Natasa V.

Natasa V.

May, 2023

It was a real pleasure working James. He is easy to communicate with, quick to response and able to grasp the idea without too much explaining. Most importantly, he creates great designs. I actually had a problem narrowing down the options he prepared as the cover page of my book - they were all too good. I would happily cooperate with him in future.
James P.
Thank you, Natasa! It was lovely to work with you and I am very pleased that you are happy with the process and my designs too. - James
Tumaris H.

Tumaris H.

Feb, 2022

I needed my photo quality to be improved, and James did a wonderful job increasing my photos’ resolution ! He was quick to respond to any of my concerns and was open to any changes I asked of the work.
Roger M.

Roger M.

Oct, 2021

Getting Maximum Bang For Your Bisques - this was my first book, so I was pretty green. I made a big mistake with the first designer I engaged. He sounded very good, and I liked his design, but he then proved completely inflexible. That was an expensive mistake. But, then I got lucky - I found James! Night and day! It is impossible for me to praise James too highly. Massively creative, and star...
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Neil D.

Neil D.

May, 2021

I highly recommend James. His communication is prompt and consistent, and his work is superb. James provided me with cover options to choose from, all of which were of an excellent standard. James came up with creative ideas that I could visualise, and his cover provided me with a final product that I am proud of. James was adaptable to my deadline, which shifted slightly, and he supported me t...
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