This work was created as part of a collaborative workshop between the UIC School of Design and the Basel School of Design, graphic design graduate students. The workshop took place in March during the spring semester of 2017.
We live in the historical twilight of the printed newspaper, at the cusp of a new era in which both “everyone is an author” and the news we read no longer exhibits the assurance of truth. From the point of this greater accessibility to the tools of publishing, as well as the political uncertainty which seems to follow from it, we will conduct a workshop, looking backwards to the heyday of print and forwards to its obsolescence, in the experimental production of a “fake” newspaper.
Students will form two teams, each of which will organize a news office for the editing, design and printing of two news editions, an evening and a morning one. Time is scarce in our production scenario: offices must work quickly and figure out shortcuts in their production process in order to make their deadlines. A crucial emphasis of the workshop is on the self-organization of production. How the office works together and co-ordinates its multiple activities is perhaps the major challenge. You must discover production shortcuts and work fast and imperfectly “in circumstances where urgency demands destroying the stages of progression.” Are divisions of labor necessary or do they slow things down? How might editing, typography, and printing be merged as activities in order to make production faster and the news product more interesting?
A note about down time—If you’re waiting for some material to arrive to begin your work, think about how you can accelerate some other part of the total procedure while you wait. And/or reflect on the process in writing.
This is an exercise in experimental editorial form. The newspaper is our conceptual template, but the document you put together need not imitate the look of a newspaper. It should rather experimentally iterate its structure of juxta-posing unrelated elements into an imaginary coherence. Benedict Anderson writes, in 1983:
What is the essential literary convention of the newspaper? If we were to look at a sample front page of, say, The New York Times, we might find there stories about Soviet dissidents, famine in Mali, a gruesome murder, a coup in Iraq, the discovery of a rare fossil in Zimbabwe, and a speech by Mitterrand. Why are these events so juxtaposed? What connects them to each other? Not sheer caprice. Yet obviously most of them happen independently, without the actors being aware of each other or of what the others are up to. The arbitrariness of their inclusion and juxtaposition shows that the linkage between them is imagined.
This work is meant equally as an experiment in typographic form — in the degree of complexity and order you can develop within this highly compressed process. The design should seek to to visually distinguish and relate all the heterogeneous content, as well as formulate a system which allows for maximum decision making among different designers.
Words by: Henry Jack Fisher