Three classic works of fiction, three original jacket designs, and three video presentations of a graphic designer’s process, start to finish.

And Then You Read is an ongoing speculative book cover design project of mine. I started it back in 2018 to refine my design methodology and generate work in the field, and made about 50 covers since. The name of the series was a reference to a quote by James Baldwin: “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.”

At the end of 2020, fortunate to obtain support from Adobe Creative Residency Community Fund, I developed an ATYR spin-off, of sorts: three book covers for landmark works of fiction…


Collage with three repeated vintage photos of the Statue of Liberty’s torch
Collage with three repeated vintage photos of the Statue of Liberty’s torch

I was born in the USSR, a country that claimed to have pioneered gender equality. After the Revolution of 1917, Russian women gained suffrage without as much as lifting a finger, and were soon granted the rights to abortion, divorce, free childcare, revealing dress, and executive leadership. I’ve read that in 1945, after 20 million Russian men got slaughtered in WWII and 2 million more were taken to the GULAG camps, it was mostly women who took up the mantle and kept the country going.

It may have happened, I don’t know for sure. But the provincial Russia I grew…

Irina Koryagina

Irina Koryagina is a graphic designer and typographer based in New York City.

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