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RMIT’s Professional Writing and Editing course is the gift that just keeps giving. I’m a graduate of the course, an occasional sessional teacher, and this year I was invited to work with the Towards Publication students to design and produce their annual anthology. The student team came up with this brief:

theme: drawing from the 19th century’s ideology of experimentation within science, the anthology is a platform in which contributors have playfully engaged with the exploration of what the use of 26 letters can produce

visual influences: the periodic table, taxonomy, and older-style (previous fin-de-siecle) chemistry laboratory apparatus e.g. conical flasks

I visited the class to talk about how to work with a designer, and provided some concepts that included an outline of my process – including the ideas I rejected and wouldn’t normally show a client – to demonstrate how a written brief translates, through trial and error, into a workable design concept.

We worked together to come up with a cover that responded to the brief and carried the typography through the text pages. The launch was HUGE, and even featured a bonus accidental typo in the sign that the pub kindly provided for us.

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