Print Book(let)

Due Dates

  • Fri, Apr 28: Prototype 1 due in class
  • Mon, May 1: Prototype 2 due in class
  • Wed, May 3:  Prototype 3 due in class
  • Fri, May 5: Comments on Prototype 3 due by class time
  • Mon, May 8: Final book(let) & reflection due

This final assignment gives you an opportunity to make your own book or booklet—a print artifact of your own design—and then transfer it to the digital realm on your own Domain. You will learn by making, rather than studying. Making a book(let) requires critical thinking and creative problem solving. Documenting the the book(let) and reflecting on the creative process in a digital environment does allows you learn from your mistakes and experience first-hand the differences between print and digital realms.

Think about whose story or what story you want to tell. Do you want to write a short biography of a person you admire, inspired by Melissa Sweet but on a much smaller scale? Do you want to take a favorite poem or short story and transform it via book design? Do you want to write an original story and find illustrations on line or in magazines? Or create a story inspired by a Snapchat exchange? Maybe you’d prefer to dig back into one of the texts, questions, or issues we’ve addressed this semester and write a nonfictional booklet on the subject. You could write a booklet on Doge memes or tell an emoji story. Or, inspired by Claudia Rankine, you could write a prose poem about a media event, exposing the racial or gender dynamics lurking in everyday language and social interactions. Maybe your true love is chemistry and you want to make a booklet that will make Dr. ‘Chill finally understand what a mole is. There is no limit to what you do, other than the productive limits you must set for yourself.

This assignment is a chance to learn by playing around, experimenting, and risking failure. You will not be graded on the artistic or literary quality of your final product, but on your process of setting out a problem, attempting to solve it in a series of structures, and reflecting on what you’ve learned. Prototyping is essential to the learning process. Making a series of prototypes allows you to try out new structures and approaches, scrapping them or building on them, depending on how satisfied you are with the results.

If you are freaking out, ask yourself, “why?” Is it because for so long in academic settings, you’ve been told exactly what to do and given rules and instructions you can follow to the letter? I’m not going to tell you what to do or what not to do. You decide what story you want to tell and what kind of form you want to make to tell it. You decide how ambitious your project should be, based on your time, interests, skill levels, and ambitions. Choose your words and images with care, and care about how you put them together.

You will be learning not just about bookmaking, but about project management. How can you set a goal, design a series of tasks that will help you meet the goal, and learn from the process of completing those goals?

Project Parameters & Requirements

On our class website:

  • create a new post for each prototype (category= book prototype #)
  • upload image(s) of the prototype
  • write a reflection , considering
    • what were your goals?
    • to what extent did you fulfill them?
    • what weren’t you able to do?
    • what did you learn from the process?

Your final book(let) prototype must meet the following specifications:

  • 2 page minimum
  • 16 page maximum 
  • front & back cover
  • 1000 words (max.)
  • 67.3 images (min.)*
  • binding = up to you
  • paper & materials = up to you
  • incorporate a spider
  • a cut-out, either in a page or added to one 
  • an exclamation point
  • a word in a different language
  • the color blue
  • include a reflection essay (750 – 1000 words max. + 4 images min.) in which you:
    1. Introduce your project by explaining what it is and what you aimed to do.
    2. Guide your readers through your all four prototypes, providing images of each stage in the process.
    3. Frame your images just as you would a quotation sandwich, introducing each image to explain what it is and following up with discussion and analysis.
    4. Explain what you learned with each prototype and what goals you set for the next one.
    5. Reflect on the strengths and limitations of your final prototype and what you learned from the project as a whole.
    6. Select every word and image with care, arranging them strategically so that your reflection essay becomes a clear, engaging, illustrated story of your book’s creation.
    7. Meet the specifications for all posts.

*Why 67.3 images? Why such an arbitrary number? Because I’m having some fun, pointing out how arbitrary constraints (like the height of a tennis net or the size of a soccer field) can foster free play.