Karen Hood

Karen Hood – Designer

Hi, I'm Karen, a creative professional book designer, specialising in children's books but I love and continue to work on all book genres.


I’m a freelance graphic designer based in sunny Brighton, England with 20 years experience in book publishing design: adult and children’s, non-fiction and fiction. If you need help with a project, cover design or internal pages and typesetting, please do get in touch. I've designed, art directed and project managed all kinds of books mostly with artists on fully illustrated children's books but also on photographic, craft, poetry, gift, reference, activity, pop-up and cookery books; plus books about health and well-being, gardening, business and pet care. I aim to create colourful, bold, inspiring designs and clear, dynamic interior layouts.

I love books — am surrounded by books as I type this, many of which I have designed — working with books makes me very happy!

I have always been praised for my professionalism, attention to detail, creativity and flexibility. I started my career working mostly on publishing based projects in a small design company then went on to work for DK at Penguin Random House for 5 years and since then I have been freelancing for publishers both big and small. I design, create graphics, carry out photo research, work with illustrators and collaborate with other designers, editors and authors. I can create e-books and check and prepare books for print. I can help you to turn your words into something that is accessible to the reader and inspires them to pick the book off the shelf then keep reading. Here's a brief overview of the collaboration process: we can chat about your project and your ideas, then I can send you my thoughts based on our initial conversation using sketches or mock-ups before going too far ahead with the digital design process so that you feel happy with how things are going to progress. Depending on the size of your budget I can give you several rough ideas to choose from before pushing ahead with a final look, all with the aim of creating a beautiful finished product. I look forward to all future collaborations and if you have any further questions do get in touch.


“It has been a pleasure working with you – you are professional, thorough, experienced and creative; a real asset.”

​Mike Watermeyer, Design Manager, Lion Hudson, part of SPCK Group

“It has been a total pleasure working with you Karen... Thank you for being wonderfully efficien... you have been super fantastic to work with!”

Mike Love, are a fantastic designer, lovely to work with and patient... I really appreciate your hardwork, and your attention to detail and finish."

Susi Martin, Art Director, QED, Quarto Publishing

Children’s Non-Fiction Cooking, Food, Wine, & Spirits DIY & Crafts Education & Reference Health & Wellbeing Home & Garden Nature
Picture Books
  • Runner up BLUE PETER AWARD
  • BA Hons Degree in Visual Arts, Lancaster University
  • BTECH Professional Development Certificate in Graphic Design

Work experience


Apr, 2011 — Present

Dorling Kindersley, Penguin Random House, UK

May, 2005 — Apr, 2011 (almost 6 years)

Designing book layouts and covers as part of a team within a big publishing company. Managing multiple projects to tight deadlines. Picture research, creating graphics and preparing documents for print. Working closely with editors and illustrators.

Balley Design Associates

May, 2001 — Apr, 2005 (almost 4 years)

Working in a very small team, designing covers and layouts for adults and children’s books plus corporate brochures, gift sets, stationary, cd covers, airline catalogues. Dealing with clients directly and commissioning illustrators. Designing, coming up with new book ideas, photo research, creating graphics, preparing books for print.


Karen has 1 review





Michelle N.

Michelle N.

Jan, 2024

Karen was an absolute pleasure to work with. She has great ideas, is very responsive, and delivered exactly what we had agreed upon. I hope to work with Karen again for my next book as well.

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