Magnolia Studio | About Phyllis Peterson

Magnolia Studio Logo

Creatively Meticulous Designs

about phyllis peterson

Phyllis on the shore at Tomales Bay: Photo ©2015, Christine Clay Bauman
Phyllis on the shore at Tomales Bay
Photo ©2015, Christine Clay Bauman
Phyllis Peterson
Founder and Design Director

I began my professional career as a traditional cut-and-paste newspaper and magazine designer in Texas and Arizona in the early 80s. Upon arriving in Boston, Massachusetts in 1985 my freelance career flourished while working with corporate educational publishers. Being able to work with various companies as a temporary composition artist, I soon realized that what I dearly loved was book design. After turning my attention to perfecting my skills in graphic design and production, traditional cut-and-paste was upgraded with desktop publishing software. I soon realized my production capacity would quadruple if I learned those programs and adapted!

I migrated to San Francisco, California in 1995 at the urging of my mentor and good friend, Andrew Walker, to begin working with the software manual publisher, IDG Books Worldwide, in Foster City, California. Many incredible books were produced with that group about the newest and brightest software products, as well as that new-fangled communication thingy called the "world wide web"! My IDG work experience honed my skills with management, project coordination and scheduling; as well as design, templates, production, proofreading and quality control.

testimonial from andrew walker, my first mentor

"I needed help and Phyllis was the first person I called. My job was to build a high quality production group quickly so I called the best publishing person I knew. Phyllis not only came to help, she left her home and flew across the country to help. This is the type of dedicated professional and friend she is … [ Read more ]

Inevitably I fell in love with the East Bay and moved to the Oakland Hills. While living there under the magnolia trees I realized that it was time to branch out and start my own book design company — Magnolia Studio. My new company was situated at the top of the hills and looked down on that beautiful "city by the bay" that I love so well.

Soon I began working with new publishers and new subject matters. This opened the floodgates for all sorts of products and Magnolia Studio's fresh outlook on the future. What a wonderful concept: produce books about the things I love and I'll always be excited to go to work! Our new office space moved to North Berkeley, California, and later to Emeryville, California as I developed my client list.

In November 2001 Magnolia Studio moved north to the town of Sebastopol in Sonoma County, California. Apple orchards, grape vineyards, redwoods, ocean, an incredible river and wonderful community surround us here. After several years we moved a little farther north to Guerneville, California on the mighty Russian River to find our home and joy! Our garden grew with abundance and the orchard was full of fruit.

In 2009 I returned to school at Santa Rosa Junior College and received my Adobe InDesign Certification in May 2011. InDesign Creative Suite is the premier product for graphic design and book production out on the market today. This is an amazing tool that has increased my speed and process in making books and sharing proofs with clients. My greatest joy is helping new authors find their voices, see their books published, and enjoy their impact on the world.

Diversifying to stay fluid is the name of the game in these tough economic times, and so Magnolia Studio has blossomed and produces much more than just books. Our services are expanding to include web site design and maintenance to assist in marketing the products we design for our clients, as well as alternative products such as interactive PDFs and Ebooks.

Our Guerneville studio has moved north over the river and is now next door to Armstrong Redwood Preserve on an organic apple ranch. Our days are full with the life of the ranch — caring for the people, creatures, plants and trees that live here. Magnolia Studio is thriving and we hope to continue helping the earth, the community, and other writers and artists for many decades to come.


Hours: 8am to 5pm PST
Phone: 707.604.7400