The warning sign on the barbed wire fence was originally all in Czech, so the author asked me to replace it with the three translations you see.
Dr. Neurath's testimonial:
My first inquiry by email to Darlene Swanson at Van-Garde Imagery was made on October 27, 2015. My book Newcomers’ Accomplishments II: Hidden Children and Holocaust Survivors was printed by Ingram/Lightning Source in less than a year, on October 14, 2016. This is a miracle!
My new “career” as non-fiction/biography writer was started after retirement from over 40 years in medical research. I needed advice about how to get books published. My former colleagues recommended a “print on demand” (POD) publisher. My first book got published that way. It turned out to be a grievous experience: entire book sections found to be missing in proofs, text and images not centered on pages, and ongoing harassment to pay more, etc. Then I got a brochure from the British “Alliance of Independent Authors” (ALLi). It suggested that the best option was to get books produced by Ingram/Lightning Source. However, that required skills and experience I did not have, and was not willing to acquire since that would require extensive prior training. After extensive searches, I found a wonderful book designer. With his kind professional help I was able to get a second book published. However, two problems turned up after the book got published: The helpful book designer refused payment from me since he considered it a honor to do the wonderful design for me. This was embarrassing to me. Then he found a new appointment (after having been retired), and was prevented from continuing the collaboration with me. Therefore, I got very worried about finding another book designer for a book I was considering to write.
I joined the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), and asked for help from Mimi Le at IBPA. She kindly recommended two designers. I obtained information about them, and immediately realized that Darlene Swanson would be the excellent fit. My judgement has been perfect.
Darlene kindly accepted to collaborate with me. Darlene’s and Dan Swanson’s cordiality, generosity, and professionalism converted the dream of the book into reality under circumstances which were not easy.
Soon after our collaboration had started, I was diagnosed to have acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and had to spend many weeks in a hospital receiving chemotherapy. This was followed by 8 cycles of chemotherapy, allowing me to spend 2-3 weeks at home followed by 4-5 days in the hospital. While partially recovering at home, I was able to continue working on the book. This was possible only due to Darlene’s consistent help and willingness to accept and work on fragments of the book which I was able to provide. Frankly, being able to give attention to the book, rather than suffer in misery, helped my mood and gradual recovery tremendously. Perhaps the work on the book was a more efficient therapy than the infused drugs. Darlene also kindly edited the last proof the of the book, and graciously uploaded the completed book to Ingram/Lightning Source. The book was quickly accepted for printing, and is now being distributed.
Dan received from me material for the book cover. My ideas about the design had artistic deficiencies. Dan came up with a much more attractive and eye catching design. We had interesting discussions about that, and with a little input from me Dan created a great book cover consistent with the intended impact of the book.
The collaboration with Darlene and Dan has been an uplifting and rewarding experience.
—A. Robert Neurath, October 22, 2016
Our client was University of North Carolina Press. (Link to their listing)
I built a 3D model using The Foundry Modo on my Apple Macintosh computer. The lighting is soft and diffused from the right, as if from a window.
"Thanks for the beautiful book cover design for my Surrogate Suburbs on UNC Press; I saw your mention after Googling myself. It really is an innovative cover, not anything like other academic monographs on the market. I spent a lot of time with colleagues and friends discussing how evocative it is of the themes I treat in the book -- suffice it to say you really captured the mood perfectly, and I really appreciate that. Keep up the good work!" —Todd Michney
"The image-within-image reads immediately like a memento, like a suburban African American family is looking back from whence they came. For me, it actually works on three levels. The picture in the frame was taken in 1956, by which point the neighborhood depicted was a black middle-class one; however, the houses had been built in the 1910s as part of an earlier, "streetcar suburb" ideal. So we get some sense of movement through time when we read the framed picture on the mantel as being set in the present. I'm glad you preferred this to the protest photo, too; many pointed out that the other photo isn't one that would likely be framed and placed on a mantelpiece. My dean said, 'It's important to understand that African Americans didn't have to always and constantly be fighting for every little success they had; sometimes they just wanted to enjoy the peace and quiet they had achieved.'"
Anyhow, thanks again for your outstanding work!