independent games & design by Nathan D. Paoletta

Hire Me

Selected Freelance Credits

Scroll down for examples of work.



  • In-Universe Corporation Icons and Layout for Headspace: Dystopian Dreams, by Green Hat Designs.

  • Icon development and graphic design for Godsforge, a dice combat board game by Brendan Stern, published by Atlas Games.



2016 and previous

I also do all of the layout, logo and cover design for my own publications.

Who I Am

I am Nathan D. Paoletta, an independent graphic artist, game designer, small press publisher and narrative design consultant.

The narratives we weave for each other are the subject of my design practice, expressed through visual mediums (graphic design), verbal and tactile mediums (game design), and simple conversation and social interactions.

What I Do

I am always interested in freelance opportunities. Get in touch if you need:

  • Layout for a print or digital publication

  • Graphic design for book covers, posters or advertisements

  • Design and layout for playing card publication

  • A logo or title set for a creative project

  • Creation or optimization of digital files for publication (including PDFs and ebooks)

Additionally, I provide the following consulting services based on my 14+ years of successful independent publishing:

  • Manuscript Reading & Design Feedback

  • Mechanics & System Design Recommendations

  • Publishing Strategies & Tactics

  • Layout & Graphic Design Tutorials

  • free “pro bono” consultations are available for those from marginalized communities or experiencing financial hardship

Wondering about rates? Here's my Rate Sheet for 2019 (PDF). I am almost always open to negotiation on rates, especially if you have an interesting project, so when in doubt get in touch.

What About You?

I love to work with other independent creators, game designers and publishers. I believe in creator ownership and fulfilling your vision without compromising my design sensibilities. Because I am a publisher myself, I can often help smooth the path to publication, offer advice and recommend resources that compliment the services that I provide. Whether you are starting on your first project or looking for a fresh set of eyes and ideas for an established property, I am ready to help you get your work out into the world. 


Nathan Paoletta is a talented graphic designer, but not just that. He takes time to understand what impact you want out of a design and what emotions you feel that you want others to feel as well. Whether you’re going for something silly and irreverent or deep and cultured, Nathan has your back. - Ryan Macklin (Project: Logo Design for Katanas & Trenchcoats)

"Nathan did an amazing job with one of the trickiest design challenges I've ever inflicted on a layout person - no flash, all punch." - Ron Edwards (Project: Shahida Layout & Cover Design)


Short Bio (feel free to copy for promotional purposes):

Nathan D. Paoletta is a graphic artist, game designer and independent publisher hailing from Chicago, IL. He publishes his own games, including the award-winning World Wide Wrestling RPG, in addition to helping other creators make their visions a reality. He posts pictures of his dog to twitter @ndpaoletta and obsesses over The Rockford Files @TwoHundredPod . Find out more at ndpdesign.com.

Selected Examples of Work

The Sword, The Crown and the Unspeakable Power

Interior layout and cover assemblage for The Sword, The Crown and the Unspeakable Power (SCUP), a game of historical power, politics and intrigue. Produced hard- and soft-cover publications along with optimized-for-digital PDF. Layout design focused on echoing elements of medieval illuminated manuscripts while preserving discoverability and readability, and showcasing the inspirational art of Marnie Galloway. Design included the character and reference sheets (free download available here).


Forthright Open Roleplay

Interior layout and cover assemblage for Forthright Open Roleplay, a genre-blending settingless game that aims for a smooth play experience with up-front expectations setting by Room 209 Gaming. Produced hard- and soft-cover publications, as well as optimized-for-digital PDF and ebooks, and an artless Creative Commons free PDF.  Layout design focused on clear information hierarchy and navigability of the text in print, along with digital navigation features, while showcasing a variety of art and visual styles to inspire readers to the multiple possibilities of gameplay. Art by Arthur Asa.


Dark Pacts & Ancient Secrets

Interior layout, custom page border design and cover assemblage for Dark Pacts & Ancient Secrets, a third-party class supplement by Martin Killmann for 13th Age. Produced hard- and soft-cover publications, as well as optimized-for-digital PDF. Design focused on retaining visual identity of existing 13th Age books while adding a gritty, full-color edge that showcases these alternate classes for the game. Inline art provided by client. Borders were designed to transmit the unique feel of each class while maintaining a unifying aesthetic throughout the book.



Cover design, interior layout, title logo and supplemental card design for Lovecraftesque, a storytelling game by Joshua Fox and Becky Annison. Produced hard- and soft-cover publications as well optimized-for-digital PDF and ebooks. Design concept was to mirror the gradual erosion of normalcy created by play with the visual decay of layered visual elements, without sacrificing readability of the text itself. Art by Robin Scott. Lovecraftesque won Game of the Year at Gioco Dell’Anno, has been nominated for the Golden Geek game of the year 2015, and was a finalist in the IGDN awards for best setting and best art 2016!

Chapter Intro from early in the book - the pages and background deteriorate as the reader goes on.

Chapter Intro from early in the book - the pages and background deteriorate as the reader goes on.

Spread from later in the book, more distressed graphics while preserving readability.

Spread from later in the book, more distressed graphics while preserving readability.


Layout for Undying, a roleplaying game by Paul Riddle. Produced both hard- and soft-cover publications, as well as an optimized-for-digital PDF. Built upon original art direction by John Harper to create a dark, moody aesthetic with contemporary typesetting sensibilities, reflecting the tension between young and old in the vampiric world.

Chapter Beginning Spread

Chapter Beginning Spread

Relationship Map for the included starting scenario

Relationship Map for the included starting scenario

Interior spread

Interior spread


Icons & Symbols

Two sets of Theology faction symbols for Part Time Gods 2E, by Third Eye Games.


A set of in-line layout elements for Graham Walmsley's Cthulhu Dark. Designed with geometric origins but askew and off-kilter, they work with the Vorticism-inspired art and lend a suitably mid-century eldritch element to the layout.


(Right) The "eye" logo design for the foil-stamped hardcover edition of Cthulu Dark.

A set of icons to represent planes of existence for Sig: The City Between. Written and published by Jason Pitre/Genesis of Legend Publishing.

Color and black-and-white version of logo for Candor Counseling Services.


Logo (and example of fabric label made with it) for the quilting business of Augustsnow.


Title Logo with variations for  RVMA: Dawn of Empire by Azure Keep.


A multi-use logo design and set of icons for 5 Fires, a game of making art through hip hop. Written and published by Quinn Murphy.

Card Games & Supplements

A set of supplementary faction-creation cards for the roleplaying game Mars Colony: 39 Dark by Tim Koppang. Printed via DriveThruCards.com.