Prior to deciding on Van-Garde Imagery, Inc,, I would estimate that I contacted at least two dozen similarly advertised services. Darlene answered her own phone, listened to my expectations and confidently confirmed she and her husband, Dan, could execute my project on schedule and as promised. In contrast to the cookie-cutter approach to attracting new customers, Dan and Darlene went to work immediately, which was over a weekend and they proceeded to complete every task expertly. It was refreshing to work with people who treated my project with the care I'd give it myself.
—Kevin McKinney, author, SOVOK: The Memoirs of a Liar
Wow x 1000!!! My second time hiring Van-Garde Imagery, Inc., and I am ECSTATIC by the exquisite and spot-on design of my second children's book- part of a twelve-book series.
At the outset, I had an ideal image of what the book would look like. Darlene and Dan's excellent craftsmanship, attention to detail, and artistic sensibilities produced a product that far exceeded my highest hopes.
In 2021 during my first outing as a self-published author, there was so much I didn't know or understand hence an improperly formatted design. Thankfully I was referred to Darlene and Dan, who corrected all issues to ensure a successful publication.
When it came time to publish the second installment of my twelve-book series, I did not hesitate to reach out to Darlene and Dan to design the book from scratch. I am THRILLED that I did!
I cannot reiterate enough how happy I am with their creative and design choices as well as how listened to I felt throughout the process. All of my requests were considered and implemented resulting in a beautiful final proof.
Undertaking a very unconventional children's book concept is no easy task and I am just blown away and THRILLED that I have a team like Van-Garde Designs to be supported throughout the process.
David Bensimon, author of The Little Crab Makes a Friend series
"Darlene Swanson is excellent at her craft. Not only is she great at what she does but she is incredibly easy to work with. Having worked with her on three books, I feel as if she is a part of my team. She cares deeply about making sure that the final product is of the best quality and she works hard to make sure she accomplishes this goal. I would highly recommend her services to anyone who “wants the job done right.”
—Dr. Doris Brown (for Dr. Donald Cole's book, Becoming AOK)
Couldn’t be happier with Darlene’s work. She made everything seamless and was cheerfully patient with all of our changes—some major and many tiny as we sought perfection. Highly recommend.
—David Grote, author
The author also had us create bookmarks and a bird-sighting checklist to accompany the book.
Designing a children’s picture book takes imagination and appreciation for young readers’ sensibilities. Darlene employed both of these talents as she designed my book Birds at the Beach and Beyond for children up to age 7. Her rapid responses to questions and comments made this remote project partnership easy and efficient. Darlene was amenable to conversations about point sizes, illustration positions, font colors, and other small details that added to the books’s quality in substantial but subtle ways. Dan shares the same abilities, as he worked on the book’s cover. He noted that the bird on the front cover looked as if he were opening his beak to nip one of the letters in the title. This is a design element that delights a child—and makes me happy as an author who is relying on the artistic talents of others. I wholeheartedly recommend Darlene and Dan to other authors searching for designers with extensive experience and sensitivity to a book’s audience. I look forward to working with them again.
—Lisa Donovan, author, Birds at the Beach and Beyond
Darlene Swanson has worked on two children’s picture books for me. Her work is prompt, efficient, and at a fair price! She is so talented and easy to work with. For book design and help with uploading files, I’ll use her every time!
—Laura Pewitt, author, Wally the Wayward Sea Turtle