About Stephen Tiano

STEPHEN TIANO wrote his first story at the age of 4. He really liked how putting words on paper felt. The healthy respect for the written word that informs his book design and production work came to him then. In college he authored some quirky columns of film criticism for an alternative arts paper. Later a fortuneteller said he would clock 40 years before the first of his many books reached print. Little did Tiano realize that he would not write any of them.

Aside from a stint laying and finishing floors right out of high school, which left him with a healthy respect for making things of substance, his first full-time job was in publishing. Hired as a proofreader at a small tax law publisher, Tiano began to cultivate a sense of how the look of a printed page best helps to bring an author’s ideas to readers.

In 1984 he purchased his first computer, an Apple IIe, primarily because it looked sleeker than other personal computers, which looked simply like boxes of wires and lights. He also bought a printer, the ImageWriter. A friend later purchased a Macintosh and the same ImageWriter. The friend’s ImageWriter printed attractive pages, while Tiano’s produced type that looked as if it had been printed with, well, a dot matrix printer.

Tiano was mightily impressed. In 1990, he bought his first Macintosh and began to set type. At first producing resumes and the occasional brochure, he got his first book production work in 1993. He told anyone who listened that he loved making books and that nothing gave him such a kick as seeing one of his books in print. When he began designing and laying out books, his only rule was to make pages that conveyed the author’s words, not overshadow them.

It remains the first rule.