Naveen Kishore set up Seagull Books in 1982 in order to provide a platform from which books about the arts could be published. He designed most of the early titles and the publisher's publicity material and catalogues, and his signature style of innovative layout ideas with a liberal use of photographs was quickly recognized as distinctive.
In 1987 the Seagull Foundation for the Arts was created with foreign funding so that Seagull could also provide resources to researchers and artists. Its objectives were to promote the performing arts (parallel cinema and theatre), the visual arts, both traditional and contemporary, to document and preserve cultural activity, to publish books and a theatre journal, arrange forums and seminars and exhibit good design.
With offices in London and Calcutta, Seagull Books – rose out of the need to have niche publications, serious, in-depth, high quality works on the alternative, the non-commercial and the experimental.
The University of Chicago Press distributes Seagull Books worldwide, except India.