What do stories look like? Go behind the book design with the industry’s most influential and prolific book designers. Irma Boom, Brian Johnson and Silas Munro of Polymode, and James Goggin of Practise, will discuss their design inspirations, processes, and experiences designing books with Cooper Hewitt.

Moderated by Pamela Horn, Cooper Hewitt’s director of cross-platform publishing, the designers will share insights and stories about the making of Cooper Hewitt’s first ever collection book, Making Design (2015), the ground-breaking publication Willi Smith: Street Couture (2019), and Designing Peace (in design now, 2022), a book on the global intersection of design, peace, and justice. Hear how these books tell stories beyond the life of related exhibitions and extend to audiences around the world.



James Goggin is a Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) and Providence-based British/Australian graphic designer from London via Sydney, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Auckland, Arnhem, and Chicago. He runs a design practice called Practise together with partner Shan James, and has taught at Rhode Island School of Design, ÉCAL, and Werkplaats Typografie.


Irma Boom is a bookmaker based in Amsterdam. She has created over 300 books. Her experimental approach often challenges the conventions of traditional books in both physical design and printed content. Since 1992, Boom has been senior critic at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, and she gives lectures and workshops worldwide. She has received many awards for her book designs and, in 2001, was the youngest person ever to receive the Gutenberg Prize. Boom’s books are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; Vatican Library; and Centre Pompidou, Paris, among other institutions. The Special Collections of the University of Amsterdam collect her complete oeuvre. In 2014, Boom received the Johannes Vermeer Award, the Dutch state prize for the arts. In 2019, she received an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art, London.


Polymode is an LGBTQ+, minority-owned studio in Inglewood, CA, and Raleigh, NC, led by partners Brian Johnson and Silas Munro. Polymode leads the edge of contemporary graphic design through poetic research, learning experiences, and making cool shit for clients in the cultural sphere, innovative businesses, and community-based organizations to ignite change to create social and sustainable impact.


Pamela Horn is Director of Cross-Platform Publishing and Strategic Partnerships at Cooper Hewitt. She develops integrated content strategy, interpretation, and editorial systems for publishing accessible content across platforms including exhibitions, books, and digital experiences. Prior to joining Cooper Hewitt in 2012, she worked for 21 years in trade book publishing, creating illustrated non-fiction imprints that were agile publishing models in the industry.