Faculty: Jan Baker


Jan Baker is on sabbatical for the 2013–14 academic year.

Encouraging an interdisciplinary approach, Baker inspires her students in the field of book arts, with hands-on experimentation in letterpress printing, papermaking, bookbinding, visual poetry and developing notebooks.

Regardless of her medium: textiles, bookmaking, letterpress, collage, printmaking or installations… Jan Baker transforms her passion for the written word, in her art and design work. She combines expressive letterforms with diverse materials to inspire meaning through visual language.

You can observe her at RISD lectures, poetry readings and even faculty meetings, taking visual notes. These notations or jottings she formulates, are enlarged and then printed or woven. Her unique textiles are developed into upholstered chairs, curtains, clothes, tote bags, pillows and book covers.

Baker enjoys creating in collaboration with other artists and designers. With Anita Meyer at plus design, they worked on identity systems, signage, book and poster designs together. Jan has collaborated on award winning textile and wall covering designs with Lori Weitzner. She also worked as the Graphic Designer at Pace Gallery + Editions in New York City.

Jan studied Printmaking and Aesthetic Studies at the University of California at Santa Cruz and received her Master’s Degree from Yale University in Graphic Design. In addition to teaching at RISD in the Graphic Design department since 1980, she has taught at Boston University; began the Graphic Design program at SUNY New Paltz; and held the Koopman Chair for Visual Arts at Hartford University.

Coming to Providence from Venice, California, Jan Baker is an avid traveler. Jan taught book design at the National Institute of Design in India as a Fulbright Scholar. She was invited to lead a textile workshop in Vietnam for the UNESCO project: Vital Traditions, revival + innovation of traditional textiles in Asia. She enjoyed the spirit of hand papermaking in Japan and the challenge of teaching bookbinding in Laos.  For two years, Jan guided RISD interdisciplinary honor students, as Chief Critic of the European Honors Program in Italy. With each journey that she ventures into, Jan produces innovative travel journals and recently had a creative voyage during her sabbatical in Asia.

Jan Baker

Jan Baker


  • MFA, Yale University
  • MFA, Yale University
  • BA, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • BA, University of California, Los Angeles
graphic design foreground image 3
Adam Lucas