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Published on Apr 19, 2012
Barbara Dewilde was a 2011 Recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award from the College of Arts & Architecture at Penn State
They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but there's no denying the importance of first impressions. Graphic designer Barbara deWilde ('85 B.A. Art) has been shaping those first impressions for much of her career by designing book jackets for publishing houses like Knopf and Scribner and racking up numerous honors in the process.
Credited with revolutionizing book jacket design in the 1990s, deWilde started out in the field as a freelancer. "I was working in advertising and the work was so polished that I couldn't see the trace of human hands in the finished product. ... When I had a chance to freelance at Random House, I jumped at the opportunity." deWilde began designing for Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Random House, in 1989, and was quickly praised for her innovative use of materials, photography, and typography. In 1992, Time magazine included her book jacket design for The Secret History, created with Penn State classmate Chip Kidd, in its annual Best of Design awards, and her work has since been featured in numerous periodicals and books on design. Her designs have been honored by the American Institute of Graphic Arts and the Art Directors Club, among others, and are in the permanent collection of the Cooper-Hewitt/National Design Museum and the Yale Rare Books Room