Designing a Life

Monika A. Heimbold with Max J. Friedman

Monika Heimbold’s dreams and designs for her life began when she was a child in Stockholm, especially during blissful summer months spent in the archipelago. As Monika grew up, her ambitions for her future took on the vivid palette and inspired patterns of the fashions she created in Sweden and later in New York City’s Garment District.

Designing a Life is the charming, candid account of a daring woman designing her own extraordinary path in her old country and her new one. Monika’s journey took her from fashion design and family life to social work and global philanthropy championing children at risk, as well as diplomatic service when her husband Charlie was appointed U.S. ambassador to Sweden after 9/11.

Working with Max Friedman, a wonderful writer and friend, Monika retraces this journey in her book through correspondence, photos, journal entries and academic papers, artistic projects, sketches, and handwork. Max helped weave these rediscoveries into text that expresses Monika’s distinctive voice and style.

Julia harmonized the manuscript with hundreds of images and features. Rick honored Scandinavian design in his selections of typeface, Josef Frank fabrics beloved by Monika, and John Bauer’s Swedish folk tale illustrations. The elegant cover fabric echoes the green silk Monika used to make a dress she wore the night she met Charlie. Not long after, her life moved in a dramatic new direction, to a new land and language, across the Atlantic.


Pages: 256
Trim size: 9.5 x 11.75 in.
Illustrations: 410
Inks: Four-color plus spot aqueous coating
Text paper: 100# PhoenixMotion Xenon Matte
Binding: Smyth sewn and casebound
Book cloth: Asahi Silk Poppy Red spine and Green Gold over boards
Print run: 350
Prepress and printer: Universal Wilde
Westwood, Massachusetts
Bindery: Bassil Bookbinding
Little Ferry, New Jersey