Welcome to Illustrada! My name is Paul Nylander, and my passion is transforming your book ideas into reality with exceptional design—specializing in cover design, interior layout, and typesetting. Working in collaboration with passionate authors, artists, and publishers, I embrace projects across various genres, from fiction to nonfiction, and the arts to children’s books, focusing on Books of Consequence—those that have a lasting impact.

As your partner, I infuse your book with your unique personality and style, understanding the needs of small business owners like you. With me, you’ll experience a seamless process that respects your time and budget, ensuring that your book looks excellent and aligns with your financial goals.

I absolutely love helping people share their stories and ideas with the world. A well-designed book makes this exchange so much more effective.

I’m patient, organized, conscientious, and dependable. I keep the big picture in mind while sweating all the details. I am a problem solver who anticipates the needs of my clients and their readers.

Concept Covers by Illustrada

Let’s Collaborate

When you work with Illustrada, you’ll get:

A beautiful book that reflects your vision.

Get the recognition you deserve and a design worthy of your reputation. You’ve worked hard to create a work of substance and meaning. A beautiful design does justice to the words inside. Your accomplishment becomes a lasting, permanent, tangible testament for you and others.

Meaningful involvement in the design of your book. 

Your vision for your book matters to me and your readers. I work diligently to understand the book’s goals, balancing the author’s intent and the publisher’s considerations. You provide input throughout the design process. I respect your preferences as I advocate for the integrity of your book.

A collaborative design partnership.

You’ll enjoy a collaboration that is invigorating and enjoyable. When you work with me, you are hiring a designer: an artisan with the artistic and technical skills to create a book design that stands out. I’ll help you address the expectations of the author, readers, reviewers, and award committees. You are a partner in the process. 

Guidance and encouragement.

You’ll experience kindness, connection, and reassurance. I encourage questions and ensure you understand the design and production tradeoffs. I have the experience to guide you through the labyrinth of contemporary publishing and offer production assistance to help you complete the next stage of your project.

A better outcome.

I want you to succeed in whatever way you define success. We get a more authentic result by understanding your book goals. A superior design gives you confidence as you promote your book—and helps you rally all those who look to you for motivation and inspiration. I’ll help you meet the expectations of readers and publishers while stretching the accepted practices in new ways. 

Broad technical and artistic proficiencies.

Your project benefits from my insatiable curiosity. I’m endlessly fascinated by all facets of book production. I have experience making paper, setting type by hand and digitally, printing, mixing colors, and binding books. I’m also experienced in computer programming and enjoy developing time-saving scripts to optimize my workflow. 

“The success of my book would not have been possible without Paul Nylander on my team.  He is an exceptional designer, and his calm yet inspired personality was a delight to work with. His level of care, devotion, and professionalism to the project was evident from the beginning of the project through its completion. His ability to balance the essentials of practicality and creativity in a productive manner equated to a successful and brilliant result.” 

Kami Mendlik, Author of “Color Relativity”

My Background

Paul Nylander

From a Ph.D. physicist to a book designer, my journey is as unique as the designs I create. With a rich physics, engineering, photography, and graphic arts background, I bring a distinctive approach to book design. My studio, Illustrada, is where my passion for understanding the world converges with my love for storytelling.
My career shift from physics to design wasn’t just a change in profession; it was a pursuit of a broader calling. Running a measurement instrumentation company honed my marketing skills, reigniting my interest in photography and graphic arts. This blend of technical expertise, creative vision, and marketing acumen makes my work in book design deeply fulfilling.
A book to me is more than just pages—it’s a hand-held gallery, a conduit for stories and ideas. With formal training in graphic design and book arts, I delve into every aspect of book design, from typography to cover art. My work translates an author’s vision into a visual narrative that speaks volumes before the first word is read.
My eclectic background isn’t just a path I’ve traveled; it’s the lens through which I see and design. Each book project is an opportunity to learn, evolve, and create something unique, making each design a labor of love and discovery.

Industry Involvement

I am a lifetime learner and enjoy participating in the region’s vibrant publishing community. I am serving as Vice President of the Midwest Independent Publishers Association (MiPA) and the Minnesota Book Publishers Roundtable (MBPR) treasurer. I also participate in various presentations and panels to support local and regional authors, editors, and publishing professionals. 

Why I Love My Work

The opportunity to work with publishers and authors to bring their dreams to reality is a feeling that will never grow old. Please look at the sampling of my past work on my portfolio to see why.