Craig Jobson, Graphic Designer, Design Director, and Associate Professor, is now a book artist. He holds two degrees from the University of Texas at Austin (BA, Engish, BFA, design and print making) and an MFA from Columbia College Chicago,where he taught for 17 years . He began his graphic design career as an Art Director for the National Office of the American Heart Association, then as Art Director for Tracy-Locke/BBDO Advertising. His publishing career began as a Senior Art Director for Holt Rinehart and Winston, and finally as Design Director for McDougal Littell Houghton Mifflin. During his MFA studies he was influenced by the Private Press movement in Britain and the United States, which resulted in the purchase of a Vandercook letterpress and the founding of Lark Sparrow Press – a private press dedicated to printing works of contemporary short fiction, poetry, broadsides, and faux stamps.
My unending love for stories and good design powers my work. Contemporary fiction, excellent design, and hand craftsmanship are interdisciplinary endeavors found in all Lark Sparrow Press books. Making a very special book by hand will always be more personally gratifying than producing it by dispassionate commercial means. Short stories are the platform where I explore these three elements. I believe a short story is like a small window where we, as readers, can peer in to see a brief, intimate view of other's lives—their habits, desires, and interests. Inside that window we might also discover a mirror reflecting back our own lives and how they might be so much more than we ever expected.
To me, a handmade book appears at the junction of content and process, activities that are shared by two people. It requires the collaboration of two people who each understand and appreciate what the other is trying to accomplish and who are willing to share their efforts. A writer provides me with the exciting stages of the story, the development of character and plot, the economy of words, and the inevitable change of direction as we near the story's end. Then it is up to me, in collaboration with the writer, to bring the story to the reader's eyes. I begin and end the process where my heart, my mind, and my hands shape the design, set the type by hand, create the illustration, choose the right paper, letterpress print, bind up, and case in – all efforts attesting to the excellence of a story. My aspiration is to craft a paper haven for each story, a place recognizing the story's beauty, dignity, and power, as well as creating a forceful memory and art work made of ink on paper for each reader.