Power in the Dark

Through the elimination of fear, women will be free to wander the darkened streets.

Nina Cooke John
Assistant Professor
Parsons, The New School for Design

We women are especially supposed to be afraid of the night… For a woman to walk on the street at night is not only to risk abuse, but also…to ask for it. The woman who transgresses the boundaries of night is an outlaw who breaks an elementary rule of civilized behavior: a decent woman does not go out…at night….freedom of movement is a precondition for freedom of anything else…

Andrea Dworkin, “The Night and Danger”, 1979 from Letters From a War Zone

Purposeless walking at night in the city is particularly magical, opening up a portal into the present and connection to the urban environment.

How might we, using urban design strategies, create an intervention that will empower women to walk at night?

People in New York City, the city that never sleeps, walk through the streets at night purposefully for many reasons; whether walking home after partying, or after work as a nurse, doctor, store clerk, bartender, streetwalker, or taxi driver. Even they, perhaps, can lose themselves, even briefly, in the otherworldly aura of the city at night.

Through the elimination of fear, women will be free to wander the darkened streets. The power to perform this defiant act will come from other women; connected through this intervention.

Light Tower Intervention

  • Towers develop in response to local neighborhood association signage in.
  • Glowing poles illuminate dark crevices in spaces between buildings.
  • Light in sidewalk marks the locations of the installations while lighting the path.
  • The entire installation is activated only as women with the associated app approach.
  • Crowd sourced messages from women are etched into reflective polished steel surfaces and on video screens that activate as women walk by.
  • Women walking by with the app map their movements which can be shared with others.

Teaching the Truth About Eric Gill in the Age of #MeToo: A Classroom Case Study

I believe we have a responsibility as educators to provide young people with honest information so that they are empowered to make choices that reflect their values.

Dave Gottwald
Assistant Professor
University of Idaho

When I was in graduate school, it was occasionally remarked that widely revered English artist Eric Gill was “a bit odd.” However, it was not until I had to prep a new History of Typography course that I realized this was a euphemism for “monster.” I knew that his eponymous san serif is essentially the Helvetica of the UK—you can find everywhere from British Rail and the BBC to the Church of England and many children’s books. Gill Sans is the face that advises all to KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON.

The truth is that Eric Gill molested two of his daughters from their teen years onward. He exposed himself to children and to women who worked for him. He maintained a sexual relationship with his sister for most of his life, and he even had carnal relations with the family dog. We know this from Gill’s own journals, which were brought to light in a definitive biography published in 1989. Yet in the two design history texts assigned for my course, one is completely silent about Gill’s crimes, and the other glosses over it.

I believe we have a responsibility as educators to provide young people with honest information so that they are empowered to make choices that reflect their values. Even though I teach at a rural campus in a conservative area, my students were more prepared to hear and talk about Gill’s crimes than I had anticipated. I will present a case study outlining the material presented, including highlights from our lively discussion about what responsibility one has in using a typeface. I will share the posters they designed about the subject, and quote from their written responses—both about Eric Gill and his typefaces, and their assessment of how I delivered the material.

Story-Doing Concepts

To create a fundamental shift to what a brand or entity’s story can do for the greater good, we have to think of storytelling in terms of actions.

Robin Landa  
Distinguished Professor
Michael Graves College, Kean University

Underpinning any successful brand or nonprofit is a distinctive story. In today’s global economy, to differentiate a brand, social cause, or organization in people’s minds, storytelling is critical. That story involves brand values and strategy—what a brand or entity stands for and communicates. To create a fundamental shift to what a brand or entity’s story can do for the greater good, we have to think of storytelling in terms of actions. Ty Montague and Rosemarie Ryan, creative directors at co: collective, call this proposition StoryDoing.

Rather than conceiving promotional communication design that merely tells the brand story, I teach students to conceive promotional design concepts that involve beneficial actions on the part of the brand or entity. To conceive story-­‐doing concepts, one needs to restructure the idea generation process to embrace social good. Can the communication design solutions contribute to society in terms of beneficial messaging, a business platform (think Bombas or Warby Parker), or charitable works?

Think of how Dove brand advertising changed the conversation about beauty through their Real Beauty campaigns. Dove listened to the negative messaging women were writing on social media and set out to change the conversation. Partnering with NBA star Kevin Durant, Kind Snacks announced their goal was to “launch a new cultural initiative that aims to challenge deeply rooted stereotypes and redefine cultural perceptions of strength and kindness.” Instead of merely promoting Kind Snacks, their communication design goals included changing the conversation about what it means to be strong.

The story-doing proposition can become an organizing principle for conceiving communication design concepts incorporating socially positive actions on the part of a brand. To shift the brand storytelling paradigm to a story-doing one, students must learn how to conceive brand stories with organic beneficial actions. This presentation will center on teaching students to conceive story-doing design projects.

The Future of Water

This project examines the critical relationship between storytelling and information, specifically, quantitative insights, within a dynamic virtual setting, of current events in the social sector—our global water crisis.

Jeannie Joshi
Principal/Director
Joshi Design LLC (joshidesign.com)

Mike Edwards
Founder/Lead Technologist
rich | strange (richstrange.com)

“The question of ‘experience’ is frequently debated in design circles, and particularly in educational circles where students have a tendency to mistake software as a way to transform themselves into film directors. The prevailing sentiment seems influenced not only by the stylistic urge to layer but also by the expectation that design must address new and complex audiences in new and complex ways.”

—Jessica Helfand, Essays on Graphic Design, New Media, and Visual Culture.

As interactive technologies become more complex and traditional narrative structures more layered—information and data are themselves becoming a powerful narrative tool.

Driven by our passion for both social impact and mixed reality, this project examines the critical relationship between storytelling and information, specifically, quantitative insights, within a dynamic virtual setting, of current events in the social sector—our global water crisis.

We begin to shape a new territory for human-centric interaction design through the use of mixed reality, striking a balance between craft and execution, context and purpose.

This project, Future of Water, is a proof of concept, of a virtual-reality data experience, that aims to critique the scarcity of information innovation within larger problem areas—in this instance, the global water gap.

Breaking down the quantitative data sets from McKinsey & Company’s economic report “Charting Our Water Future” our work:

  • showcases how VR affordances can adapt and illuminate these quantitative insights within the setting of mixed reality
  • suggests a process of divergent and convergent thinking for a diversity of stakeholders, including educators
  • demonstrates the transformative power of mixed reality storytelling, and
    educates our audience on the challenges that designers will face in creating functional solutions working with edge technologies

 

Colloquium 4.4: Parsons Integrated Design

Design Incubation Colloquium 4.4 (#DI2018jun) will be held at Parsons Integrated Design on Thursday, June 14, 2018.

Design Incubation Colloquium 4.4 (#DI2018jun) will be held at Parsons Integrated Design on Thursday, June 14, 2018.

Hosted by Cynthia Lawson and the department of Integrated Design. This event is open to all interested in Communication Design research.

Thursday, June 14th
10am–6pm
The New School
Theresa Lang Student Center
55 W. 13th St., 2nd floor
New York, NY 11011

 

To attend this event, register here. Abstract submission of presentations deadline April 15, 2017.  For details visit the Colloquia Overview and  Online Submission Form. 

Presentations

The Future of Water

Jeannie Joshi
Principal/Director
Joshi Design LLC (joshidesign.com)

Mike Edwards
Founder/Lead Technologist
rich | strange (richstrange.com)

Teaching the Truth About Eric Gill in the Age of #MeToo: A Classroom Case Study

Dave Gottwald
Assistant Professor
University of Idaho

Tactics & Strategies

Mitch Goldstein
Assistant Professor
School of Design
Rochester Institute of Technology

Story-Doing Concepts

Robin Landa
Distinguished Professor
Michael Graves College, Kean University

Visualizing Historical Arguments

Camila Afanador-Llach
Assistant Professor, Graphic Design
Florida Atlantic University

Power in the Dark

Nina Cooke John
Assistant Professor
Parsons, The New School for Design

Thoughtful Social Impact Through Scaffolded Design Methods and Well-Time Fieldwork

Cynthia Lawson
Associate Professor of Integrated Design
Parsons, The New School

Alik Mikaelian
MFA Transdisciplinary Design Candidate
DEED Lab Research Fellow
Parsons, The New School

Devanshi Sihare
Design Strategist

Megan Willy
MFA Transdisciplinary Design Candidate
Parsons, The New School

PERSONALIZE. COMMUNICATE. SOCIALIZE. LISTEN. PREPARE: Teaching Professional Practices for Designers

Holly Tienken
Assistant Professor
Communication Design
Kutztown University

Urban Abstract Design of Modern Architecture in Bauhaus

Min K. Pak
Assistant Professor of Graphic Design
Art & Design
University of Southern Indiana

 

Colloquium 5.3: Merrimack College

Design Incubation Colloquium 5.3 (#DI2019mar) will be held at Merrimack College on Saturday, March 30, 2019, 10:00am-6:00pm.

Design Incubation Colloquium 5.3 (#DI2019mar) will be held at Merrimack College on Saturday, March 30, 2019, 10:00am-6:00pm.

Hosted by Nancy Wynn and the Department of Visual and Performing Arts. This event is open to all interested in Communication Design research.

Crowe Hall
Classroom #107
Merrimack College
315 Turnpike Ave
North Andover, MA

Featured Presentation

Developing Citizen Designers: Our Civic Responsibility
Elizabeth Resnick
Professor Emerita, part-time faculty, Graphic Design
Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Abstract submission of presentations deadline Monday, December 31, 2018. For details visit the Colloquia Overview and Online Submission Form.

Visit back to this page for more details.

How important is it for an author to have a significant social media presence and to demonstrate that to the publisher?

Questions: How important is it for an author to have a significant social media presence and to demonstrate that to the publisher? –SR 

Answer: Generally a social media presence is less important in academic publishing than in trade publishing (which are books for the general reader).

But obviously being able to utilise your contacts for promotion of the book is certainly a plus and may well reach people we wouldn’t naturally get to with our own marketing. 

It wouldn’t be a sticking point really though on whether a project was signed up – there are plenty of hugely successful academic authors who barely touch social media.

Your background, the project and the reviews are the most significant aspects for us.  It’s nice to be able to say when presenting a new book idea to our committee that an author has 10,000+ followers, and we would certainly exploit that with the author’s help, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the book will sell any better than one which relies on our own marketing contacts. 

With fairly limited marketing budgets across academic publishing, having a pro-active author, whether on social media or through other channels, is a big help in reaching the right people.

Louise Baird-Smith
Commissioning Editor – Design and Photography
Bloomsbury Visual Arts

“Ask the Editor” is a Design Incubation series, where design academics, researchers, and practitioners pose their questions to editors of books, journals, conferences and other academic and design trade publishing organizations. If you would like your questions answered by publishing professionals, send your questions to Design Incubation via the “Ask the Editor” form on our website.

Can an author approach more than one publisher at the same time?

Answer: This is an interesting question and one which has caused much discussion even in our office! 

Question: Can an author approach more than one publisher at the same time? -MR

Answer: This is an interesting question and one which has caused much discussion even in our office! 

In some cases, publishers will request that you only approach one at a time, but this isn’t always enforced in every subject or publisher.  Some editors I’ve heard will not consider a project if it has been sent to multiple publishers – the argument being that it can seem like you’ve just sent it out haphazardly to everyone, without fully considering which is the best publisher for you and the project.  It’s best to really consider who already publishes in the area you’re working in, where the best books are coming from and whether the reputation of the publisher is right for you (for instance, if you need a university press for tenure, or you need a publisher who double reviews the manuscripts, and so on).  As each publisher will invest time and money in the review process, submitting to various places is a difficult one, but you should certainly feel free to submit elsewhere if you haven’t heard back.

I’d personally say that given the fact it can sometimes take a little while to hear back from editors initially, it might be worth approaching a few to start with to gauge interest – however, it is best to be upfront about this, and certainly once you have had contact with an editor you need to make it clear to everyone if the project is also being considered by another publisher (for politeness as well as practicalities).  It is tricky if you were to get to the point of being offered a contract by two publishers at the same time without either knowing you’d been discussing the project elsewhere, especially as by that point there will likely have been a significant amount of input from the publishers and reviewers in developing the overall approach of the project.  Again, if in doubt have a look at the publisher’s website and see if there is guidance on multiple submissions.  And individually submitting the same project to several editors at the same publisher is generally poor form – if you’re not quite sure who to approach, try one editor and ask them to pass the project on to a colleague if it’s not right for them, or copy the editors into the same email so they don’t all end up individually assessing the same project.   

Louise Baird-Smith
Commissioning Editor – Design and Photography
Bloomsbury Visual Arts

“Ask the Editor” is a Design Incubation series, where design academics, researchers, and practitioners pose their questions to editors of books, journals, conferences and other academic and design trade publishing organizations. If you would like your questions answered by publishing professionals, send your questions to Design Incubation via the “Ask the Editor” form on our website.

Is there any difference between writing a single authored book and a co-authored book?

Question: Is there any difference between writing a single-authored book and a co-authored book? -AB

Answer: While different publishers or series may have set rules on when they will (or won’t) accept co-authored titles, in most cases, there usually isn’t a problem from the publishers’ side on this. 

Sometimes it can actually be a bonus where the book is interdisciplinary or has broad coverage where a single author couldn’t be an expert in all the content. My colleague is publishing a book on climate change in history written by a historian and a climate scientist together – it’s a massive selling point because we can say our book has holistic coverage and the science is valid.   

Something to bear in mind though is how to divide the work, and do you know you can definitely successfully work together over a couple of years? In terms of how you split the work is up to you – maybe you’d each write certain chapters and swap to read/edit the other ones, or you may have certain aspects of the book you’ll research individually, then write up together.  Generally, there would be a lead author, though this isn’t essential.  Saying all that, going above two co-authors can get tricky, so over this number, you’ll need to really consider if multi-authored is the right approach – an edited collection may then make more sense (a different author writing each chapter, with overall editors who commission individual chapters).  Another consideration is that any royalties will be split between the primary authors/editors of the volume, and you will be equally responsible for the delivery of the book.

Louise Baird-Smith
Commissioning Editor – Design and Photography
Bloomsbury Visual Arts

“Ask the Editor” is a Design Incubation series, where design academics, researchers, and practitioners pose their questions to editors of books, journals, conferences and other academic and design trade publishing organizations. If you would like your questions answered by publishing professionals, send your questions to Design Incubation via the “Ask the Editor” form on our website.

How important is it that an author has written a book before?

Question: How important is it that an author has written a book before? Does that improve their chances of you taking on their project and giving them a contract? –MR

Answer: While there is an element of reassurance if an author has already published a book before, everyone has to start somewhere and there will always need to be a ‘first book’ at some point. 

Some big textbook lists/publishers may not sign unpublished authors as the bigger textbook projects have a higher risk factor than an academic monograph might do, but this isn’t the same across the board. 

I’ve worked on subjects where academic scholarship was relatively new, so the pool of previously published authors was very small – getting new voices into the mix was really important to build up the high quality literature in the area.

Equally, if someone has written many books before, it doesn’t mean that they will necessarily be offered a contract for their next book. 

Whether you have tons of experience as an author, or are brand new, the combination of the project itself and your experience in the area (as a researcher, practitioner or teacher, depending on the type of book) along with the feedback from the peer reviews is a more realistic predictor of whether a project would be approved.  If in doubt, just drop the editor/publisher an email and see if it’s worth submitting a proposal.

Louise Baird-Smith
Commissioning Editor – Design and Photography
Bloomsbury Visual Arts

“Ask the Editor” is a Design Incubation series, where design academics, researchers, and practitioners pose their questions to editors of books, journals, conferences and other academic and design trade publishing organizations. If you would like your questions answered by publishing professionals, send your questions to Design Incubation via the “Ask the Editor” form on our website.