Ellie’s Insights: Ashley Santoro – Graphic Designer

Ashley Santoro is a Graphic Designer from Toronto and is the talent behind the fabulous cover of Love & London. You can find her on Instagram @imashleysantoro or on her website http://www.ashleysantoro.com.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Ashley Santoro, a Canadian Graphic Designer. Originally, I was born a very tiny preemie at 27 weeks, in Toronto, and grew up in the Niagara area. Somehow I grew up to be quite tall, at 5’10”.
I spend most of my spare time hanging out with doggos, listening to music, reading non-fiction and spending countless hours watching documentaries.

Tell us a little about your design background/experience designing book covers.

I first discovered I liked designing books at my in-house Design job at a print shop in my early 20’s.
I started reaching out to Art Directors at publishing houses and I caught the eye of James Patterson’s children’s team; Jimmy Books and got to create a title for the series “The Candies”. After seeing the book printed, in physical form, I was hooked. I then got to work on a Harlequin Cozy Mystery series, which really set the tone of my career so far. I now work on title design, full covers and internal formatting and design for print and ebooks.

What is your speciality

My specialties are both lettering and illustration. I do believe my strength lies in lettering, but I’m adaptable in illustration style, specifically full colour or line work.

What elements make up the perfect brief from an author?

The perfect brief has a rough story outline or summary, any key totems to the story that are important, physical character descriptions (if any) and design inspiration, whether that might be covers you like, or even a pattern or colour you think fit your story.

How long does it take you on average to design a cover?

I typically schedule about a month for a cover project, although they tend to be 1-2 (ish) weeks from the initial proof I send. The biggest factor in delaying a cover project is having the final page count from the author, to determine the spine width for print.

At what stage should an author approach you for design services?

In my experience I have found the best time is when you’re almost done finalizing/editing your manuscript. Like I said above, I will need the final page count to finalize the print files. But I’m always happy to start a cover project before you’re done with the manuscript!

What is one piece of advice you would give an author who is looking for a graphic designer?

I think it’s best to have an idea of what you’d like your book to look like.
Even if it’s a very rough idea, or 1 thing you’d like to include. I’d also suggest being open to new ideas, I love taking author’s idea’s and running with them. Sometimes the end result is something you never expected!

What is your favourite part of the design process/ what do you enjoy most about designing?

My favourite part about the design process is sketching/designing rough ideas! Once I start, I don’t stop. My favourite part about designing is seeing everything come together, the reason I love book design is because I get to hold my work in my hands.

Our world is so digital, I think it grounds me knowing my work revolves around a tangible piece of work. I of course love e-books too, but print has always held a special place in my heart.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s