Book design as a school of thought.
Books are complex things, and they are difficult to design, but when you get it right, it’s the best kind of work. Books combine systematic, formal, contextual and material ideas, in order to make something new and specific, but that invariably also draw from centuries of tradition and habit.
With this combination of approaches, we can develop ways of seeing and understanding the world. And with those understandings, we can make books that challenge the way the world is.
Books are one of the great and enduring means of communicating complex cultures and ideas, and in the technological and communication revolutions of the last couple of decades, what a book can be has changed, and the form of the book has flourished. Books are weirder and more interesting right now than they’ve ever been.
In this studio, we will investigate contemporary publishing from theoretical and practical perspectives, and we will learn about books by designing and producing books. We will also have a stall at the NGV Art Book Fair, during which we will run a project and get to know a community of publishers and book makers.
In this studio you will learn a variety of ways of thinking about and approaching the making of books. You will learn about books and publishing from historical, technical, pragmatic and speculative points of view. You will also learn about book typography, the construction of grids and books as systems.
Books always create links; between a reader, an author, an editor, other books, to name just a few. In this studio you will need to design for these audiences, and early in the semester you will meet and communicate with your community of practice at the NGV Art Book Fair.
Over the course of the semester you will design and produce (at least) three books. In some instances you will also be authoring content or collecting and curating content. You will need to be willing to work in unconventional ways and develop historically and theoretically informed ways of working. This studio will predominantly be run in studio, where we will discuss, design, critique and produce books. Where required we will run classes online or concurrently. There will be guest lectures, field trips and weekly readings to discuss.
There will be three assessment tasks in this studio, each one will involve you making a different kind of book. AT1: Book as investigation/documentary AT2: Book as speculation AT3: Book as critical archive (SKO)
Books Make Friends, Letter from Christoph Keller to Roger Willems
Self-publishing: Graphic Designers as Editors, Florine Bonaventure (intro)
NGV Art Book Fair