DIGITAL PUBLISHING | GRAPH-3158–01 | 1.11.15–2.9.15

Gif illustration by Jennifer Daniel

Course description

Print has traditionally been the formal vehicle that has solidified and validated knowledge. Publishing has brought a centralized authority to information via distribution. Today, individual access to publishing tools and faster production methods have opened up a host of possibilities for empowering independent voices and reaching specific audiences. This course will explore the growing space of digital publication from authoring, to editorial and design, to distribution.

Through a series of projects the course examines the process of publishing through critical making and inquiry. We draw upon a history of artists and designers who use publishing as a means to share work and disseminate ideas. Students will be encouraged to look at all phases of the publishing process (content and editorial, context and design, distribution and audience interaction). Working with custom and available digital tools, students will experiment with alternative publishing strategies that utilize digital networks.

Learning objectives

  • To incorporate methods of publishing in order to enrich a student’s creative practice and process
  • To utilize digital publishing tools thoroughly and take 
    advantage of digital networks to distribute and interact with a public audience
  • Participate in all areas of publishing to experiment and share ideas and messages To develop self-motivated concepts, themes and content through editing and design

Course outcomes

  • To design and inform an audience in the public space; this potentially incites action through the dissemination of information
  • To experiment with and exploit the formal design functions of available digital tools
  • To work individually and collectively as authors, writers, designers, fabricators, printers, developers and artists


There are no requirements for this class except that you must have a willingness to explore and experiment A good portion of this class will be discussion-based. Come prepared with thoughts and questions on readings and your classmates’ work; bring a flexible and collaborative attitude to your work, class dynamic, critique and discussions

Required tools

  • a laptop
  • access to printing
  • web server
  • access to a camera (smart-phone cameras qualify)


  • Please show up to class on time and ready to participate and work with all materials readily available for that day
  • No cell phones unless if it is an emergency or a valid part of students’ works
  • Do not check social media websites or any other website which is not relevant to the work or the class itself
  • Participate in reading discussions, critiques and be engaged with class discussion overall

Evaluation and grading policy

F — Frequently late and/or absent. Insufficient participation. Little to no understanding of the reading and concepts. Little to no effort in the assignments.

D — Occasional lateness and more than one unexcused absence. Basic understanding of reading and concepts. Met basic requirements for assignments.

C — Occasional lateness. Demonstrated and understanding of reading and concepts. Failed to take risks. Work holds together. Makes only obligatory contributions to discussions

B — Always present. Work in on time. Demonstrated a solid understanding of reading and concepts. Was able to articulate thoughts on the reading. Work has good form and content, and took some risks. Able to make interesting contributions to the class

A — Always present. Work in on time. Demonstrated a solid understanding of reading and concepts. Was able to seek out new coding principles and technologies. Work has excellent form and content, and took major risks. Always makes interesting contributions to the class, and frequently led class discussions.


This is not a technical skills course. Although we will be providing some baseline tutorials on standard digital publishing tools (Tumblr, Gdocs, New Hive, HTML & CSS) students are encouraged to seek out and develop their own methods to accomplish project objectives.

A basic knowledge of HTML and CSS is recommended, and literacy in javascript and jQuery is plus. As for platforms to learn more in depth, we recommend Codecademy and Lynda which we all have free access to with RISD ID.

Readings and discussion

A series of readings will supplement your explorations into digital publishing. Along with in-class discussions these readings are meant to foster your expanding conception of publishing, and disseminating media. They should act as fodder for your projects and design process.

We will discuss weekly readings in class. In response to the readings,you will document your references, questions, and ideas to prepare for class discussions. These are not writing assignments, but rather a way to develop a point of view and a sense of context, and to provoke peer discussion. Posting these responses on our class website will be a critical part of your final grade.


This is a studio course based around four projects. The four projects will act as prompts with fundamental requirements that must be executed with your own personal vision.