Phaidon Press

Phaidon Press ('ai' pronounced 'I' as in 'wise' - International Phonetic Alphabet) is a global publisher of books on art, architecture, design, fashion, photography, and popular culture, as well as cookbooks, children's books, and travel books. The company is based in London and New York City, with additional offices in Paris and Berlin. With over 1,500 titles in print, Phaidon books are sold in over 100 countries and are printed in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Mandarin, and dozens of other languages. Since the publisher's founding in Vienna in 1923, Phaidon has sold more than 42 million books worldwide.

Phaidon Press
FounderBela Horovitz and Ludwig Goldscheider
Country of originAustria
Headquarters locationLondon and New York City
DistributionPenguin Random House Distribution (UK, Australia)
Hachette Client Services (US)[1]
LKG (Germany)
SODIS (France)
CB (Netherlands)
OLF (Switzerland)
Messaggerie Libri (Italy)
Jonathan Ball Publishers (South Africa)[2]
Key peopleKeith Fox (CEO)
Philip Ruppel (COO)
Deborah Aaronson (VP, Group Publisher)
Emilia Terragni (Publisher)
Linda Brennan (VP, Global Marketing and Communications)
James Booth-Clibborn (Managing Director)
Julia Hasting (Creative Director)
Publication typesbooks

Early history

Phaidon Verlag was founded as a history and art-book publisher in Vienna, Austria, in 1923 by Ludwig Goldscheider, Dr. Béla Horovitz, and Fritz Ungar. The founders named the company Phaidon (the German form of Phaedo) after Phaedo of Elis, a pupil of Socrates, to reflect their love of classical antiquity and culture, and the company's distinctive logo derives from the Greek letter phi, which represents the golden ratio, employed by artists, architects, and designers since the fourth century BC. The publisher became known throughout Europe for its affordable, high-quality books about art and architecture. Phaidon's large-format art books first emerged in 1937 with the publication of books featuring works by Vincent van Gogh, Sandro Botticelli, and the French Impressionists.[3][4]

Move to England and revival

To avoid the effects of the Nazi annexation of Austria, Horovitz and Goldscheider moved the company to England in 1938, reestablishing it as Phaidon Press. Following the sudden death of Horovitz in 1955, Phaidon was taken over by his son-in-law, Harvey Miller. A decade later, in 1967, it was acquired by Encyclopædia Britannica.

From 1974 to 1981, Phaidon was owned by Elsevier, when it was sold in a management buyout. It was acquired by entrepreneur Richard Schlagman[5] in 1990. Schlagman hired renowned designer Alan Fletcher in 1993 to be the creative lead, and in 1998 Fletcher brought on board the young German designer Julia Hasting, who began focusing on conceptual book design, emphasizing the art book as an object. This approach was translated into the architecture and photography books, as well as the cookery program. Leon Black purchased Phaidon in 2012, heralding a new era for the publisher. Phaidon continues to push the boundaries of creative arts publishing in content, design, and production.

Publishing categories


Phaidon publishes monographs on the work of twentieth-century masters including Marcel Breuer, Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Alvar Aalto, and Eero Saarinen. It also publishes monographs on contemporary international architecture practices. Recent examples include Tadao Ando (Japan), Peter Marino (USA), John Pawson (UK), MAD (China), and Snøhetta (Norway).

Phaidon also publishes historical and geographical surveys on architecture. In 2004, it published the giant format Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture,[6] followed by The Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century World Architecture,[7] Atlas of Brutalist Architecture, and Atlas of Mid-Century Modern Houses.


Phaidon publishes monographs on established and emerging artists, as well as surveys of contemporary and historical art movements and genres. The company has published two of the world's best selling art surveys: The Story of Art, Ernst Gombrich's narrative survey of the history of art from ancient times to the modern era, which has sold over 8 million copies and has been translated into over 30 languages and released in 18 editions since it was first published in 1950; and The Art Book, which presents the work of 600 artists from different periods, schools, visions, and techniques, from medieval to modern times.

The program includes nonfiction writers, including Alain de Botton, Martin Gayford, and Calvin Tomkins. Phaidon has published monographs on Lucian Freud, Olafur Eliasson, Ellsworth Kelly, Willem de Kooning, Agnes Martin, Bruce Nauman, Harland Miller, and JR. Phaidon has worked with The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts since 1977 to publish The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné, which currently spans five volumes.

Phaidon's Contemporary Artists Series, launched in 1996, features over 70 titles. Recent publications in the series include Kerry James Marshall, Yayoi Kusama, Frank Stella, Wolfgang Tillmans, Sarah Sze, and Mark Bradford. Phaidon works with the online art marketplace Artspace to create limited editions of its books.


Phaidon publishes children's books in a wide range of formats including illustrated nonfiction, picture books, and interactive board books. Phaidon's children's book program is partly inspired by the company's traditional publishing categories and is designed to meet the developmental needs and interests of specific age groups. Phaidon publishes children's books by authors and illustrators including Gabrielle Balkan, Jason Fulford and Tamara Shopsin, Sara Gillingham, Jean Jullien, Lotta Nieminen, Chris Raschka, JR, Julia Rothman, Joshua David Stein, Hervé Tullet, and Tomi Ungerer.


Phaidon publishes monographs on product, furniture, and graphic designers, design histories, and, since 2014, surveys on interior, garden, and floral design. These include monographs on the work of Dieter Rams, Ettore Sottsass, Stefan Sagmeister, Naoto Fukasawa, nendo, Verner Panton, Richard Sapper, and Harry Bertoia.


Phaidon publishes monographs on designers and fashion houses, as well as surveys of contemporary and historical fashion. It publishes the best selling The Fashion Book and has collaborated on monographs with creative directors Grace Coddington and Fabien Baron; designers Marc Jacobs, Viktor&Rolf, and Thierry Mugler; and fashion house Yves Saint Laurent, among others.


Phaidon has published monographs with some of the world's leading chefs including Massimo Bottura, Magnus Nilsson, Enrique Olvera, Virgilio Martínez, René Redzepi, and Ferran Adrià, with whom it published the seven-volume set 2005–2011.

Phaidon publishes surveys of world cuisines, a program launched in 2005 with the Italian cookbook The Silver Spoon. Other world cuisines published include American, Chinese, Cuban, French, German, Greek, Japanese, Mexican, Nordic, Peruvian, Spanish, Thai, and Turkish. In 2013 Phaidon published Where Chefs Eat, a global dining guide based on chef recommendations. The series has been extended and adapted to include Where to Eat Pizza, Where to Drink Coffee, Where to Drink Beer, and Where Bartenders Drink.

General Interest

Phaidon publishes books on popular culture, such as its bestselling advice books by leading creative voices, including It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be by Paul Arden and Damn Good Advice by George Lois. The ongoing “Explorer” series features thematic visual surveys on a range of nonfiction subjects including maps, plants, astronomy, animals, and anatomy.


Phaidon publishes monographs and collections of photography, as well as limited editions that include a signed and numbered print. Artists published by Phaidon include Lauren Greenfield, Stephen Shore, Martin Parr, Nan Goldin, Robert Mapplethorpe, Joel Meyerowitz, Mario Sorrenti, Steve McCurry, and Annie Leibovitz, with whom the company has published two books: Annie Leibovitz: Portraits 2005–2016[8] and an updated edition of Annie Leibovitz: At Work.[9] Phaidon also publishes limited-edition books that include signed and numbered photographic prints.

Wallpaper* City Guides

Phaidon publishes Wallpaper* City Guides.[10] There are currently over 50 guides in print. Wallpaper* City Guide apps were launched in 2011 and there are currently over 50 available to download in one container app across Apple and Android Platforms.


  1. Hachette - Our Clients
  2. Contact the Sales Team - Phaidon
  3. "Phaidon: Home of the Visual Arts". Phaidon. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  4. "The Art Books of Phaidon Press". AbeBooks. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  5. "US billionaire Black buys Phaidon". The Bookseller.
  6. "Sculptures in air". The Guardian. 21 August 2004.
  7. "the Phaidon atlas of 21st century world architecture travel edition". Design Boom. 9 October 2011.
  8. "A Decade of Power, in Photographs". New York Yimes. 1 December 2017.
  9. "Picture this". New York Times.
  10. "Wallpaper* City Guides". Wallpaper.
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