It took seven years for Sneha Pamneja, 33, to discover her true forte in designing book covers. While studying at the Delhi College of Art, she says she was ‘clueless’ about what she would do after graduating.
Today, she is the Chief Visualiser at Roli Books, a designation that entitles her to design the cover and the pages of pictorial books and novels. She earns a ‘comfortable’ salary of close to Rs 45,000.
“I was interested in art ever since I was in school,” she says. “I first thought about designing as a career when a senior art teacher in school suggested that I had the right aptitude and skill for it.”
The fundamental skill for her job, Sneha believes, is ‘design sense’. “The concept and the basics of designing are the same everywhere,” she says. “My work requires a great deal of concentration, skill and a presence of mind to ideate and visualise the cover of a novel. Pictorial books require the endless search of finding that one picture, which will go on the cover.”
The covers of books are decided with inputs from the editorial team and the marketing team at the publishing house. But sometimes authors are keen to have the visual of the book in their own style.
Sneha says she is open to listening to all inputs for two reasons. One: it is always good to hear another perspective and try creating what the author so firmly believes in. Two: authors can sometimes be ‘arrogant’, which makes it difficult for her to take a call on her own.
What Sneha enjoys the most is working on Roli’s pictorial and coffee table books that are centred around biographies of celebrities with archival pictures that are often exclusive. “I find it amazing to peek into the lives of celebrities; pictures from their family albums that haven’t been opened for the public.”
Over the years, Sneha has designed several hundreds of books. The moment she cherishes? “I always tell my juniors who are sometimes newcomers to the world of publishing: Grab the moment when you hold the first book that you’ve designed. The feeling is great,” she says.
After all, we do judge a book by its cover.