You are the ultimate professional. I have great respect for you and your work. Most of the time in my life, I have had the teacher role. Now I am proud to learn from you.
—Rodney Kleber, Playing for Time author
This isn’t just a regular testimonial saying, "Yes, Darlene K. Swanson is good and I was happy with her work." This is a true testimonial of my first-hand experience with working with Darlene on a day-by-day process of her designing my book. She is easy to work with, polite, patient, and responds quickly to any questions or requests. She is professional and maintains respect for the author. Darlene is an excellent graphic designer and I highly recommend her to anyone who is looking for someone that they can easily work with and will give them an excellent finished design.
—Linda Barrett, author, Save the Sinner
After wandering around looking for help for about a year, I finally found Daniel & Darlene to help me finish creating my book. No one seemed to want to help in a meaningful way, but Dan & Darlene went to work for me and within a month my book was ready to be published. Dan was especially helpful in cover design, something I would not have been able to do on my own. He interacted with me on the phone and by e-mail both, to fully develop the vision I had for the cover. I find it a very attention getting and a simple design that is artistic and will properly promote my book. I also received help from Darlene on interior design that other interior designers were unable to formulate. Her experience and fast paced hard work were a blessing to me and my new publishing company.
—Mike Martin, author, Vietnam…again…and again
I do a lot of work using stock images—mainly from Adobe Stock. Though there weren't a lot of wartime images of Vietnam which worked for the cover, I thought I could at least find a Vietnam landscape image. The one I found and which you see on the cover was perfect—timeless, as there are no modern artifacts, and plenty of "blank" areas which allowed me to superimpose the titles and the F4 Phantom fighter jet. I rendered the jet separately from a stock 3D model I licensed. I was able to pose it and compose it over the background image quite nicely. I also added a little exhaust smoke in Adobe Photoshop.
The M16 on the back cover is another stock image. And Mike sent me a snapshot of himself which he liked, which I enhanced and color corrected in Photoshop.
After months of failing to master Adobe Photoshop, page layout, and book design software, I was lucky enough to find Darlene Swanson and Van-garde Imagery. Darlene quickly recognized my hopes for Living Mountain and quickly lent her fine eye and long experience to composing the book. She discovered a way to connect photos and poems on facing pages, then worked for consistency across the whole book. I came to see her as a partner in discovering a powerful way to present ideas on the page.
—John H. Clarke, Author