Digital Publishing (PUBL 6318)

Abstract (in English): 

In this seminar, students will have the unique opportunity to gain real-world experience in publishing designing e-books for Cuneiform Press. Students will explore the relationships between theory and practice, tradition and innovation, history and the ever-changing technological and aesthetic trends in publication design. Beginning with a real manuscript by an authority in the field of the book, students will be involved in making critical decisions about the manuscript’s evolution into print. Books will be designed page-by- page, word-by-word, letter-by-letter, and all the spaces in between. Reading, the generation of meaning, is always defined by a text’s relationship to its context and vice versa. Words, images, positive and negative spaces, are all integral parts of the book, which must be understood as a whole if it is to do the text justice. The seminar focuses on the process by which ideas are developed, revised and introduced to readers. Emphasis will be placed on technical and creative thinking.

An increasing number of careers require some design and print production knowledge, and the principles of this seminar (such as legibility, symmetry, and modalities of communication) can be applied to all fields and mediums of design. Students will come away with a sound understanding of the following skills: typesetting; specification sheets; terms of the trade; building and using grids; producing mockups; correcting proofs; making design presentations; preparing files for film output; working with a printer; and working within a budget.


• Explore book design as a craft and art

• Develop relationships between content, form and style

• Understand digital reproduction techniques for visual communication

• Learn the technical skills required to prepare digital files for print

• Sharpen verbal and visual communication skills

• Participate in efficient problem-solving

• Write copy and perform research on author’s publishing histories

• Apply historical, cultural and aesthetic concepts to contemporary manuscripts


The books required for this seminar are available in the campus bookstore. If a student chooses to purchase elsewhere, it is their responsibility to insure that they have the correct edition. Please note that in addition to the required course books there will be manuscripts to read and edit along with supplementary readings.

• Nigel French’s InDesign Type (second edition)

• Johanna Drucker’s SpecLab: Digital Aesthetics and Projects in Speculative Computing

• Jessica Heldfand’s Screen: Essays on Graphic Design, New Media and Visual Culture

• N Katherine Hayles’ Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary

It is also required that all written assignments comply with the standards set in the Chicago Manual of Style. Chicago is essential for authors, editors, proofreaders, indexers, copywriters, designers and publishers in any field, and will serve students in the industry long after graduation. It is available where most books are sold and in an online version through the campus library, if you prefer. Students are required to bring all of their required books to all seminars.

(Source: Course syllabus)


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Record posted by: 
Eric Dean Rasmussen