I have always loved books. I like everything about them. Reading them. Holding them. Giving them. And of course, designing them. A saying by Francis Bacon, “Good books are true friends,” is my motto, and I believe that wholeheartedly. I have been a freelance designer for over twenty years. For eleven of those years I was also a senior designer at Workman Publishing. As a book designer, I am experienced as a project manager, photo editor and stylist, art director, editorial consultant, and cost analyst who completes each book on time and on budget.

I was educated at the University of California, Berkeley, and graduated with a degree in English literature and graphic design. Upon graduation, I completed a postgraduate year at the Central School of Art and Design in London, England. I have taught graphic design at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, and the California College of Arts & Crafts in Oakland. I have been a guest lecturer in the Architecture Department at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. In 2002 I completed a program at the French Culinary Institute in New York City. Along with my design skills, I am able to bring my hands-on knowledge of food preparation and presentation to my extensive experience designing cookbooks.


Designing a book, for me, is about information presented thoughtfully, and I strive to respect both author and reader. Creating a book is a collaborative endeavor. I bring a strong editorial sensibility to my projects and one of my design strengths is my ability to work closely with editors to organize and develop content. One of the things I love about designing a book is that you are creating something that will be used, reused, and perhaps even treasured. I have designed over 200 books from simple memoirs to highly complex illustrated books, covering a wide range of subjects.


“By the way, everyone raves about you here. They love how attentive you are to your titles and really appreciate the constructive solution suggestions.”

—Chris Thompson, Senior Art Director,
Hearst Books, Sterling Publishing
 When I asked Chris if I could use this quote
he said, “By all means. It is so true.”                 

“For the two years I worked on putting Sleepaway
together, I always wondered how it would be transformed
 from my own obsessive project into a tapestry of voices
and photographs. That’s why the real hero of this whole
process has to be Barbara Balch, the book’s designer, who
took all the pieces I’d collected, listened to all the ideas,
and came back with a treasure. Working with her was
 confirmation of why I prefer to work as a ‘we’ more than a
‘me.’ It was the best.”

—Laurie Susan Kahn, author Sleepaway

“I count on Barbara for strong, handsome designs with original graphic elements and know that she will see the job through thoroughly and on schedule. She is also a pleasure to work with.”

—Virginia Tan, Art Director, Alfred A. Knopf