“I always felt that the website was the opportunity to add another dimension.”
Paola Antonelli, “Design and Violence: Zoë Ryan Interviews Paola Antonelli”, MAS Context 27, “Debate,” Fall 2015, 77–78 (See also Design and Violence blog)
“A book is a sequence of spaces. Each of these spaces is perceived at a different moment — a book is also a sequence of moments.”
Ulises Carrión, “The New Art of Making Books,” Kontext 6/7, 1975
“We need to stop thinking about the future of publishing and think instead about the future of reading.”
Clive Thompson, “The Future of Reading in a Digital World,” Wired, May 22, 2009
Project 2: Paper & Pixels
In this second semester module we will be working with a complex long-form text of your choice (or provided by me if you prefer) and designing a readable, engaging, navigable typographic interpretation of the text across three surfaces: mobile, desktop, and print. With each version you should maintain a certain consistency for the everyday multi-platform reader (like you), but also approach the design & typography to make the most of each medium and its affordances and virtues.
On Crossmedia Simultaneity
In my experience, and I expect in yours too, the contemporary act of reading involves a simultaneity of, rather than a dichotomy between, media. As opposed to notions of what I think is an outdated “print versus digital” divide, the way we all read is increasingly fluid and crossmedia (one story, many channels). Read this brief useful post that helpfully distinguishes between the terms “multimedia,” “crossmedia,” and “transmedia.” (This is from a journalistic perspective, but the terms are of great relevance for typographers and graphic designers.)
As a personal example, I will often pick up, say, a New Yorker magazine by my bed to read a long-form article, continue reading it on my phone the next morning at a bus stop, then finish it off by pulling it up in a browser while I’m waiting for a book design PDF export to complete on my laptop. This flow of content between media, devices, systems, viewports, and substrates presents a tough yet intriguing challenge for typographers. In many design situations, there is no single finite format or surface that we can rely on. Sometimes we can’t even trust that the reader will actually see our predetermined design and typography settings: that book we’ve lovingly typeset might be read on a Kindle, with font selection and size determined by the reader’s taste, not by ours.
This project is about the flows described above, a spectrum from paper to pixels. We will work with a complex text (including subheadings, footnotes, quotations) plus accompanying images and captions, we’ll analyse the text’s hierarchies and structures, we’ll read it (of course), and we’ll establish a typographic strategy and system to deploy that content across print, web, mobile, and finally, raw hierarchical text (typography that doesn’t even involve actual typesetting).
Week 4: Thurs 1 Oct
Week 5: Thurs 8 Oct
Week 6: Thurs 15 Oct
Week 7: Thurs 22 Oct
Week 8: Thurs 29 Oct
Week 9: Thurs 5 Nov
Some Readings, Resources
Examples of crossmedia typographic systems, hierarchies, flows