Richard Ljoenes

Richard Ljoenes - Designer

Boulder, CO, USA

Richard is an award–winning book cover and interior designer with over 50 New York Times Bestselling cover designs to his name.

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Richard is the former Creative Director of Regan Arts (A Phaidon Global Company) and former Vice President Sr. Art Director at HarperCollins.

His design and art direction has been awarded and recognized with over 90 awards and merits by The One Show, Art Directors Club, The Cannes Lions Awards, Communication Arts, AIGA, Print Magazine, Type Directors Club, Graphis, How Magazine International Design Awards, Time Magazine, The New York Book Show, and Graphic Design USA who named him a designer to watch in 2018.

Richard is a Designer and Art Director primarily focused on print-based design—book covers and illustrated book interiors being the main bread and butter, but his background also includes advertising and corporate identity. Clients include HarperCollins, Ecco, Morrow, Simon & Schuster, W. W. Norton, Hachette, Penguin Random House, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Restless Books, Regan Arts, and Bloomsbury.


Richard started his career as a traditional advertising sketch-artist with D’Arcy (formerly DMB&B/Clarion) in his native Oslo, Norway. Eventually markers were replaced with a Mac and over the next few years he developed into a driven designer working on many of Norway’s biggest brands. Although thriving at the firm his status as the sole soccer-hating male on the European continent eventually forced his emigration stateside.

After attending San Francisco’s Academy of Art he moved to New York, and following a brief period at Sullivan & Co Design, got his first start in publishing with HarperCollins Publishers. During his eleven years there he held numerous roles at several imprints, including Senior Art Director at Regan Books (w/stints in NYC and LA offices), V.P. Senior Art Director at both the Collins imprint, and more recent, the Harper Division.

In June 2014 he left HarperCollins for the opportunity of starting on the ground floor of Regan Arts (teaming up once more with his former boss), a newly established Phaidon Global Company, where he served as Creative Director and oversaw all cover and interior design for a range of fiction, non-fiction, and illustrated books.

Spring 2017 Richard started his own studio. He now operates out of Boulder, Colorado, where he lives with a four-year-old whom he continues to amaze daily, and his wife, who is less impressed by the minute.

“The production of Humble Masterpieces was one of the best—and smoothest—publishing experiences of my career. I rely on designers and trust their vision but of course, as a design curator, I engage in a dynamic relationship with them. Richard’s idea for the book was incisive and made it a resounding success. The square format, the bright, compelling, and yet abstract cover, the slipcase that made it all a surprise . . . It was not a book, it was a design object.”

—Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, Architecture & Design
MoMA | The Museum of Modern Art

“People to watch 2018.” —Graphic Design USA
Biographies & Memoirs
True Crime
Historical Fiction
Literary Fiction
Psychological Thriller


  • BFA Graphic Design, Academy of Art University, San Francisco


  • Richard Ljoenes’s design and art direction has been awarded and recognized with over 90 awards and merits by The One Show, Type Directors Club, Communication Arts Design and Typography Annuals, The Cannes Lions Awards, Art Directors Club, AIGA’s 50 Books | 50 Covers, Graphis, Print Magazine, How Magazine International Design Awards, Time Magazine, The New York Book Show, Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, and Graphic Design USA who named him a designer to watch in 2018.

Work experience

Owner / Principal Designer

April, 2017 – Present (almost 6 years)

Book cover and interior design: ction, nonction, cookbooks and illustrated books. Some identity and packaging
design. Clients include HarperCollins (Harper, Ecco, Morrow), Simon & Schuster, W. W. Norton, Hachette Books,
Little Brown, Penguin RandomHouse, Houghton Mifin Harcourt, Restless Books, Sourcebooks, and Bloomsbury.

Creative Director

Regan Arts, New York (A Phaidon Global Company)
June, 2014 – March, 2017 (over 2 years)

Responsibilities include design and art-direction of all covers and interiors for a for a range of fiction, nonfiction,
and illustrated books. Management of inhouse design staff and all freelancers. Some editorial acquisition.

Vice President Senior Art Director

HarperCollins Publishers
June, 2003 – January, 2014 (over 10 years)

Design and art direction of book jackets/covers and illustrated interiors; manage and art direct designers on staff, freelance designers, photographers, and illustrators for the following imprints: Harper (02/2009 - 01/2014), Collins (07/2007 - 01/2009), and Regan Books (06/2003 - 06/2007).


Sullivan & Company, New York (
March, 2003 – June, 2003 (3 months)

Print design. Clients Include Pfizer and American Express.

Junior Art Director

D’Arcy Advertising (former DMB&B Clarion), Oslo, Norway
June, 1996 – December, 1999 (over 3 years)

Responsibilities include corporate identity, print design, retail advertising, and some web-design. Clients include Fiat, Alfa Romeo, and Pepsi.

Portfolio (39 selected works)

The Godfather Notebook

Coppola, Francis Ford


Norris, Gloria


Kenney, Matthew

Where the Bird Sings Best

Jodorowsky, Alejandro, MacAdam, Alfred

The Invaders

Waclawiak, Karolina


Brooks, Ben

The Orchardist: A Novel

Coplin, Amanda

I Love You, Sign Here: Contracts for Couples

Pierson, Roy, Pierson, Sarah

God is Round

Villoro, Juan, Bunstead, Thomas

Dr. J: The Autobiography

Erving, Julius, Greenfeld, Karl Taro

The Kept: A Novel

Scott, James

All That I Am

Funder, Anna

Richard has 20 reviews

Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Mark T. Rasmussen
Wow, Mr Richard Ljoenes! What can I say about him? To score an award winning cover designer at a great price, was a win in itself. Richard was communicative throughout – even when he was under pressure from a backlog of orders, or when his family all came down sick. He took a deep dive to find the image I had seen and came up trumps when he sourced the original artist. Then what he was able to ...
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Mark T. Rasmussen, December 2022

Richard Ljoenes
Thank you, Mark! I really enjoyed working with you!

Reply from Richard Ljoenes

Marylee MacDonald
Working with Richard Ljoenes was an absolute pleasure. Communication was excellent and I would have been happy with any one of his original design proposals, but the one my client like was also my top favorite. he did a fabulous job of matching the design to the "idea" of the book, and he took great care in preparing the mechanicals.

Marylee MacDonald, December 2022

Richard Ljoenes
Thanks, Marylee! I very much enjoyed working with you!

Reply from Richard Ljoenes

Peter Goodman
Richard is a wonderful book designer and pleasant person to work with. He's also more expensive than most on Reedsy. I'd reviewed a lot of work. Preferred one to all the others, cost $850. Then saw Richard's work. Superb, but a lot more expensive. Wife and I decided might be worth it, engaged him to do cover for The Moonlit Path. Sadly, his workload and then COVID created delays. When w...
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Peter Goodman, December 2022

Danielle Bertoli
Richard was such a pleasure to work with. His designs are some of the best I've seen and he created the cover I always imagined for my first book. He responds very quickly to all emails and was very informative about the self-publishing process which helped reduce some of the stress I felt from doing this for the first time. I sent many messages trying to explain the overall design I was going ...
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Danielle Bertoli, November 2022

Richard Ljoenes
Thank you, Danielle, it was a pleasure working with you!

Reply from Richard Ljoenes

Chris Janssen
Richard was a pleasure to work with. His professionalism and attention to detail led to extraordinary results. Both the interior and cover of my book are stunning. Richard's design exceeded my expectations, and his experience and talent gave me the confidence I needed for my first self-published book.

Chris Janssen, November 2022

Richard Ljoenes
Thanks, Chris! It was truly a pleasure working with you!!

Reply from Richard Ljoenes

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