Tra Publishing creates beautifully crafted books that celebrate art in all its forms, as well as its creators.
At Tra, each book is a unique experience, meticulously designed and fabricated in response to and with utmost respect for the contents. Tra works closely and often collaboratively with artists and writers to create books about fine and decorative arts, architecture, and design that inspire social, cultural, and environmental awareness. Particular emphasis is placed on the physical components of the bookmaking process, resulting in books that are works of art and modes of expression in and of themselves.
Tra was founded in 2016 in Miami by Swiss-born graphic designer and author Ilona Oppenheim. The publishing company builds on fifteen years of design excellence through Ilona Creative Studio, Oppenheim’s creative consultancy firm. The impetus for Tra was to create beautiful, substantial, and special books that readers experience physically, as opposed to digitally. “In today’s world of excess and technology, we believe that the tactile process of holding and reading a book is a mindful experience that creates a real connection to life,” Oppenheim says. “We want our readers to appreciate details such as the beauty of color on paper, and we want people to share these books with their friends and family.”
Tra’s design aesthetic is one of restraint; the images and words on the pages take precedence. Tra’s award-winning designers treat each title as an entirely original expression—in essence, there is no typical Tra book. The firm works with carefully selected bookmakers around the world and places a premium on ethical bookmaking practices and materials. Once a book is published, the relationship continues: Tra goes beyond traditional publicity practices to bring the contents of each title to life in additional ways, such as through exhibitions, events, and workshops.
Tra is passionate about books, and passionate about the contribution each book can make. As part of that commitment, proceeds for many of Tra’s titles are donated to environmental, arts, and activist organizations.
Tra has assembled an exceptional team of editors, designers, marketing professionals, and consultants who bring a wealth of talent and experience to bear on each title. Tra’s team is multinational and multilingual, lending a unique and global perspective to the endeavor of creating its beautifully crafted books.
Publisher & Creative Director
Ilona is a graphic designer and author with over two decades of sophisticated graphic design and high-end branding experience. She grew up in Switzerland, where she began her graphic design career working with luxury brands including Clinique La Prairie, Niki de Saint Phalle perfume, and Swiss Perfection cosmetics. Tra Publishing builds on her experience as the founder and principal of Ilona Creative Studio (ICS), a branding and graphic design studio that works extensively with clients in art, fashion, real estate, and hospitality. She is also the author of Savor, a cookbook of rustic recipes inspired by forest, field, and farm, published by Artisan. Her love of books and belief in the value of experiencing books as physical objects inspired her to found Tra and to commit to the highest level of quality.
Director of Operations
Rita brings over twenty years of experience in event production, operations management, and audience engagement to Tra. An expert at establishing processes and building organizations from the ground up, Rita rose through the ranks to become executive director of the YMI Cultural Center in Asheville, North Carolina by the age of twenty-four. She continued with her career at Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts as part of the team that opened the Center in 2006, and she produced several high-end events. Committed to being involved in the arts and her community, Rita later joined The Bass Museum, where she played a vital role developing collaborative partnerships that helped advance the museum’s mission and expanded audience attendance.
Jeff is a graphic designer and illustrator. He determines the overall style and tone desired for Tra’s projects and develops design concepts. Prior to joining Tra, Jeff illustrated and designed the children’s book La Tía Berta, which was selected as one of the 2014 White Ravens books by the Internationale Jugendbibliothek (International Youth Library) in Munich. Many of his other works have been recognized in Spain, Germany, Slovakia, Canada, and the United States.
Public Relations Consultant
Andrea has over twenty years of innovative public relations and marketing experience. She creates highly visible and successful campaigns for award-winning publishers across the globe. With a robust background in publishing, Andrea has worked with authors in virtually every artistic discipline and boasts an impressive list of media contacts.
Samuel conceptualizes creative campaigns for each title, taking a 360-degree approach that goes well beyond traditional publicity campaigns for books. His role is foundational to Tra’s commitment to maximizing exposure for its books, connecting them to multiple audiences, and doing so in unique ways. A gifted creative director, designer, and illustrator in his own right, and a partner at Tra’s sister organization, Ilona Creative Studio, Samuel’s skills create original and strategic opportunities for each book on an individual basis. He brings more than twenty years of experience in advertising and marketing and a wealth of knowledge in designing messages that reach the consumer with credibility and efficacy.
Associate Creative Director
Raul is a seasoned editorial and graphic designer with an extensive background in book publishing. At Tra, he is responsible for leading multiple projects and working closely with authors and artists to ensure the editorial and artistic voice and book design excellence is maintained through all aspects of the publication process. Prior to his work with Tra, he was founder and director of Fonte Design in Caracas, Venezuela, where he developed projects in the cultural and corporate fields, working with clients in multiple countries.
Beth Dunlop is an architecture and design critic and author. She has been the editor of the international design and architecture quarterly Modern Magazine and was previously the editor of HOME Miami and HOME Fort Lauderdale magazines as well as the online-only HOME Los Angeles. As a book editor, she has worked with The Wolfsonian Museum and the University of Miami. She was the longtime architecture critic for the Miami Herald, where her work garnered numerous awards, and she has written for a wide array of magazines and newspapers, including House and Garden, Architectural Digest, Dwell, Metropolis, Metropolitan Home, Elle Décor, Interior Design, the New York Times, and the International Herald Tribune. She is the author of numerous books, including Miami: Mediterranean Splendor and Deco Dreams, The Tropical Cottage, Building a Dream, A House for My Mother: Architects Build for their Families, Miami Trends and Traditions, Florida’s Vanishing Architecture (which was turned into an award-winning public television documentary), Classic Florida Style, and (with Joanna Lombard) Great Houses of Florida.
Andrea is an editor, writer, and project manager with more than twenty years of experience for a variety of publications, organizations, and audiences. She has edited dozens of books, museum exhibition catalogues, and academic journals, primarily in the fields of art, architecture, and urban planning. Her clients include The Wolfsonian Museum, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, the High Museum of Art, the Dallas Museum of Art, The Bass, University of Miami, Nantucket Island School of Design and the Arts, and multiple graphic design firms. She has been on staff at magazines and newspapers, and her journalism has appeared in publications including the Miami Herald, the Washington Post, New York Newsday, Entertainment Weekly, and Salon.com.
Senior Designer & Digital Marketing
Andres is a graphic designer with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the advertising and branding fields and extensive experience working with boutique design and marketing agencies. At Tra, he brings his multifaceted skills to bear on book design, on creating and executing design concepts for print and online marketing campaigns to publicize books and events, and on producing digital mock-ups of book covers.
Terry is a thirty-year veteran of the publishing industry, having worked with Simon & Schuster, Grolier, Time Life Books, and then as president and publisher at Weldon Owen. He began his career in sales and marketing with Procter & Gamble and Clorox, and next moved to Atari and Activision before transitioning into publishing. He is now a publishing consultant to small presses, advising them on strategy, sales, marketing, and distribution.
Luis serves as Tra’s photographer and videographer and oversees its web presence. His extensive experience as a designer and art director with a focus on branding and digital design informs his work in these capacities. He has received national and international awards for his work, including a HOW International Design Award and a GDUSA Packaging Design award.
Communications & Marketing Consultant
Donna has two decades of experience crafting public relations and marketing initiatives in the areas of art, culture, design, architecture, and other creative sectors. A skilled writer, editor, and communicator, her expertise includes strategic planning, messaging, media relations, advertising, branding, and content development. Her extensive experience working with prominent cultural institutions gives her a unique ability to understand and tap into their strengths to effectively convey their stories, goals, and missions.
Francesca has started her management career in NYC where for 10 years she switched gears between account, project management and product development for international clients like PepsiCo, LVMH, Campari, as well as environmentally-friendly start-ups. Originally from Italy, she graduated in PR and Advertising and then specialized with a master in Trade Marketing and Consumer Insights, always aspiring at creating unforgettable branding experiences, from stores to digital. Very organized team player with passion for entrepreneurship, she joined the Tra team to support the creative process and assure brand consistency within all Tra channels.
Stephanie is an operations coordinator with an abundance of knowledge and experience in event production and the arts. At Tra, she focuses on logistical operations, including planning, implementation, and coordination. Born and raised in Miami, Stephanie graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies. Stephanie loves the performing arts, as well as reading on her spare time.