A Working Definition of Publishing

Above diagrams illustrate Bhaskar’s definition of publishing as a system across time

Exercise Guidelines

  • In groups of 3 or more, discuss and come up with a definition of what publishing means to your group.
  • Make a Google Doc for each member of the group to collaboratively write in, synch or asynchronously
  • As a group, come up with a “dictionary definition” of publishing, what it means to publish:
    • define the part of speech that your definition of the word belongs to (noun, verb, adjective, etc.)
    • Come up with at least 3 examples or instances of your definition of publishing
  • Post your text directly as a message (copy/paste into the message box) to the #exercise_defining-publishing channel
  • Individually in Slack, offer questions, comments, and further thoughts on each groups definition (using the “thread” function), discussing how we might expand what it means to publish in the past, present, and future.
  • We will re-visit these ideas over the duration of the course!


Defining Audience


  • Self-assemble in groups of three
  • Identify the creators of a product of contemporary publishing that you would like to research further
    • Research their influences in the creation of that publication - either through interviews, deductive or speculative reasoning
    • For example:
      • If you like The Gentlewoman, look at Gert Jonkers and Jop van Bennekom and their influences
      • If you like 032c, you could say Joerg and Maria Koch, Mike Meire or Mirko Borsche, and look at what influenced them in the 90s (Kunstforum, Peter Saville )
  • Then identify a historical publication from more than 20 years ago (book, magazine, other) that has influenced who you are influenced by
  • Write a paragraph about who you think the audience for the original publication is. Some questions you might answer include:
    • Who is the intended audience for the
      • Who is not the intended audience?
    • How is the audience of the original similar or different from the publication it influenced today?
    • Have any technologies changed the look and feel of the publication?
    • Can you identify design tropes that are derivative, homage, or in conversation between the contemporary and historical examples?
  • Include images to help illustrate your research


  • Selected publication is The Gentlewoman, founded by Gert Jonkers and Jop van Bennekom, now edited by Penny Martin
    • The audience is for an affluent, fashion-interested, North American and European audience in their mid-20s to early-40s
    • fashion stylists, designers, photographers, magazine enthusiasts
    • The Gentlewoman is a magazine about taste: Restraint is one of its tenets; another is respect.
  • A magazine that influenced The Gentlewoman’s direction
    • British Vogue in the 1980's under the editoship of Anna Wintour
    • at the time, the magazine was “deeply unfashionable,” the “absolute apotheosis of neoconservative image-making.”
    • “I wouldn’t say that our politics or our image-makers or even our tastes are the same,” - Martin
  • Sources:

Graphic Treatment


  • Become familiar with InDesign and Figma through creation of a graphic treatment document communicating a design intent
  • This should be a reflection of your own personal tastes: colors, typefaces, and image textures.
  • Have fun with it, and use your developing visual literacy to make it personal and unique to your aesthetic vision (Don’t have an aesthetic vision yet? Now is your chance to create one!)
  • We will review everyone’s next class, but we will also use this exercise to prepare for Project 1 & Project 2 later.

Project 1 Technical Setup Part

  • Create a New InDesign Document with these settings:
  • Letter Size page
  • set units to inches (or mm if you prefer)
  • .5 inch / 12mm margins
  • make sure facing pages is unchecked
  • On the Master A page, make a grid (layout->create guides)
  • 6 columns
  • 4 rows
  • gutter of .125 inches
  • fit to: margins
  • Select the Type Tool, click and drag to make a text Box for the Title, which will be "Your Name] Graphic Treatment." While page titles and headings are often at the top of the page, you can choose to place your title anywhere within the overall page, at any rotation, angle, or alignment.
  •     Choose a plain "vanilla" sans-serif typeface, set to 36 point type size for the title you just created  

Creative Part

  • Now double click to Page 1, exiting the Master page.
  • Make three Subheadings, set to 18 point type size
  • Color
  • Typography
  • Texture
  • Make 5 squares for Color
  • Make 4 Text Boxes for Typography
  • Place 3 images for Texture
  • Arrange each element on the page, such that
  • the squares visually belong with Color
  • the text boxes visually belong with Typography
  • the images visually belong with Texture
  • Now that we've set up our document and learned how to use grids in InDesign to define spatial zones, we can start specifying our design in each of the three categories of visual literacy
  • Copy and Paste (and Paste in Place) on additional pages to track your design process, do at least 10 iterations
  • Export a PDF and Package the file, upload the PDF only (the Packaged folder is for your own file management) to the #exercise-graphic-treatment channel

Giving and Receiving Critiques

  • For 15 minutes, everyone on their own, please read (or re-read) the 3 pages on howtocrit.com, including:
    • The purpose of a crit
    • How to give one
    • How to receive one
  • Critique is giving a gift: the gift of insight
    • Like a pair of glasses, they allow you to see things in greater focus that were previously blurry
  • Write one paragraph response to process your understanding of the method of critique, post it to #crit-thoughtz
  • We will have a short discussion to review the content and to explore how this approach to critiques is similar to or differs from your previous knowledge.

Forms of Publishing ⇆ Publishing of Forms


Break up into groups of 3

Each group is assigned a form of publishing

As a group, in a collective Google Doc research and collaboratively notate the tetrad of media effects

Answer the following questions:
  • When did this form primarily exist?
  • What was it's primary content? (text, images, video)
  • What was it's primary content unit? (article, song)

Examples to Choose From:

  • Rhetorical software can be thought of as a form of publishing
  • e-book
    • a skeuomorph of the printed-book-form-as-presented-on-a-digital-screen
    • A consumable object
    • Have you ever considered what tweeting out a "book" would do to it? No reasonable person would classify a series of tweets containing the text of a novel as an "e-book" so what about the e-book form makes it so?
      • answer: it's commodific-ability by platforms to produce revenue from unit sales
  • Zograscope
    • 3D viewer in the late 18th century, like current day VR headsets
  • Incunabula
  • Podcast
  • Newspaper
    • composed of: articles
  • Tik Tok
  • Blog
  • Vlog
  • Magazine
  • Zine
  • Pamphlet
  • Poster
  • Album
    • music album, CD, tape or otherwise
  • Serial Novel
  • the “Post”
    • Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, other social media platforms
  • Manuscript
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