Jonathan Sainsbury

Jonathan Sainsbury – Designer

I've worked for publishers, large and small, as well as many self-publishing authors. Looking forward to working with you!


An award-winning graphic designer with two decades experience specializing in book cover design. Client list includes Atria Books, Da Capo Press, Hachette Book Group, Harper Collins, Harry N. Abrams, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Knopf, Pantheon, Pegasus Books, Penguin Random House, Picador, Shambhala Publications, Simon and Schuster, Smithsonian Books, St. Martins Press, VeloPress, and W. W. Norton. He has designed CD booklets, film posters, identities, branding, logos, social media marketing, and more.

My work has been in many prestigious publications, including COMMUNICATION ARTS, HOW magazine, PRINT magazine, among significant design blogs such as The Casual Optimist.

Awards include the AIGA 50 / 50 Covers, AAUP, Bookbuilders of Boston's New England Book Show, HOW International Design, PRINT Regional Design, the New York Book Show, the National Gold Ink Awards, Communication Arts, Type Director's Club, STEP Design Magazine, and the Publishing Professionals Network.
Biographies & Memoirs History Religion & Spirituality Sports & Outdoors
Historical Fiction Literary Fiction Mystery & Crime Thriller & Suspense
  • PRINT Magazine Design Annual 2009
  • AIGA 50 Books / 50 Covers 2012
  • AIGA 50 Books / 50 Covers 2006
  • AAUP Book, Jacket, and Journal Show 2006
  • 26th Annual New York Book Show - Best Covers 2011
  • Publishing Professionals Network (AKA Bookbuilders West) 2013
  • National Gold Ink Award - Pewter 2012
  • New England Book Show - Best Nonfition Book Award 2015
  • MFA, Boston School of the Museum of Fine Arts
  • Member of Connecticut Art Directors Club
  • Past member of the Type Director's Club, AIGA NY, AIGA Boston

Work experience


May, 1998 — Present

A design studio specializing in book jacket and book interior design.

Diversion Books, NYC

Nov, 2021 — Present

Starting with the Spring list, freelance Art Director focused on a range of categories of book covers.

Da Capo Press / Lifelong Books — Perseus Books Group / Hachette Int'l

Aug, 2010 — Feb, 2016 (over 5 years)

Worked with international personalities (actors, musicians, comedians, and chefs), arranged and directed photoshoots, which included hiring photographers, stylists, and managing budgets. Other areas of my work at Da Capo are music, history, memoirs, biographies, lifestyle titles that include cookbooks, diet, fitness, and relationships.

Pantheon and Schocken Books [Knopf Group / Random House]

May, 2007 — Mar, 2009 (almost 2 years)

Designed award-winning book jackets. Managed all aspects of the imprint. Hired and directed designers, illustrators, photographers, and researchers. Worked directly with international level authors, executive editors, and publishers, Sonny Mehta and Janice Goldklang.


In this “beautiful, evocative” (Booklist, starred review) memoir, Yvette Johnson travels to the Mississippi Delta to uncover the moving, true story of her late grandfather Booker Wright, whose extraordinary act of courage would change his and, later, her life ... read more
The story of Foster Beck, the author’s late father, whose defense of a black man accused of rape in 1930s Alabama foreshadowed the trial at the heart of To Kill a Mockingbird.As a child, Joseph Beck heard the stories―when other lawyers came up with excuses, hi... read more
Hailed by many as the world's greatest harmonica player, John Popper has redefined the instrument. As the lead singer and principal songwriter of Blues Traveler, Popper has performed for more than 30 million people over 2,000 live dates and composed such radio... read more
Queen's success in the 1970s was accompanied by a taste for musical and non-musical excess. Is This the Real Life? draws on eyewitness testimonies--former producers and managers, ex-girlfriends and boyfriends--to create a complete picture of one of the world's... read more
From traditional mystery stories with devious doings and a plot full of clues to terse thrillers with edge-of-the-seat climaxes to the nail-biting tale of psychological suspense, no field of popular fiction can match contemporary crime writing in diversity, ex... read more
On April 16, 1945, the crewmen of the USS Laffey heroically withstood twenty-two kamikaze attacks at Okinawa in what the US Navy called "one of the great sea epics of the war." Using scores of personal interviews with survivors, the memoirs of crew members, an... read more
Trista Rehn was a pediatric physical therapist moonlighting as a Miami Heat dancer when she heard about casting for a new reality show—one guy getting to know twenty-five girls in the hope of finding a fiancée. As improbable and crazy as it sounded, Trista too... read more
Black Sabbath is currently on The End Tour which they have proclaimed as their final concert tour Iron Man chronicles the story of both pioneering guitarist Tony Iommi and legendary band Black Sabbath dubbed The Beatles of heavy metal by Rolling Stone Iron Man... read more
Every year, roughly 2 million people participate in marathons and half marathons in the United States, and, no matter what level they are, every one of these runners has likely hit “The Wall,” running out of muscle fuel in the final miles and slowing down prec... read more
In the tradition of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, a stunningly vivid historical account of the forty-year battle between Comanche Indians and white settlers for control of the American West, centering on Quanah, the greatest Comanche chief of them all. S. C. ... read more
Frederick Law Olmsted is arguably the most important historical figure that the average American knows the least about. Best remembered for his landscape architecture, from New York's Central Park to Boston's Emerald Necklace to Stanford University's campus, O... read more
Under the Big Black Sun explores the nascent Los Angeles punk rock movement and its evolution to hardcore punk as it's never been told before. John Doe of the legendary band X and co-author Tom DeSavia have woven together an enthralling story of the legendary ... read more
This collection of marvelously off-kilter short stories – the American debut of acclaimed Japanese writer Yasutaka Tsutsui – portrays the consequences of a world where the fantastic and the mundane collide and throw the lives of ordinary men and women into dis... read more

Jonathan has 38 reviews





Herb H.

Herb H.

Apr, 2023

Jonathan created the cover design and formatted the interior for both our ebook and paperback novel, The Stonehenge Murders. We found him to be creative, and a good communicator. We were delighted with his work. He gave us several distinct options for a cover, we picked one, tweaked it and he quickly made the changes. We love it. As debut authors, Jonathan helped us through the process, accomm...
Read more
Jonathan S.
Thank you, Herb and LindaSue. It was a pleasure. Looking forward to your next book!
Maria C.

Maria C.

Mar, 2023

I am delighted with the covers, I think that Jonathan got them exactly right. The images and type are in keeping with the genre and also with what is out in the market already. Jonathan was very easy to communicate with, responsive to ideas and changes and our dialogue is on-going, which is great. An excellent project all round.
Jonathan S.
It was a delight for me as well. Mostly, I’m glad you’re happy with your covers after having worked with a major publisher in the past with a less desirable result.
Bill T.

Bill T.

Mar, 2023

It was my first time self publishing a book (my memoir) and I had a steep learning curve. Also, the book itself was complicated by illustrations I had drawn. Jason was very flexible with my stops and starts, and I am very satisfied with the outcome.
Jonathan S.
I'm glad you're happy with the outcome. I hope many will discover and read. (Was Jason your editor?)
Meg B.

Meg B.

Feb, 2023

Jonathan dove right into the project! He presented me with several options for the cover and collaborated well with me to make the final product. Hard working, efficient, and talented. Thank you Jonathan!
elicia D.

elicia D.

Dec, 2022

I'm super happy with the results.
Jonathan S.
Very happy you like the cover! Enjoyed working with you.