Week 1

Practice Lectures

Phase 1: Publishing multi-platform

“Sure enough I looked to start a magazine and the subject I kept coming back to time and time again was internships. I’d met so many people who were doing them, who seemed to be bouncing around from unpaid internship to unpaid internship, no real idea of what was happening next, what the rules were, how to navigate them and I thought it’d be really interesting if I could bring an independent magazine into the conversation that really did tackle those issues. Nobody else seemed to be doing it, if there was any discussion of internships it was kind of over before it begun.”

  • Alec has identified a problem and therefore has been able to produce a solution. When thinking about my project, what is currently flawed and how could I help solve that? If I am talking about producing a sustainable business for instance, what currently exists in companies that make them not sustainable?
  • Excessive printing, even when in the design and development stages
  • No eco-friendly inks, recycled paper or packaging being used
  • Huge footprints and overhead costs therefore impacting the clients

“For any independent publisher, sales directly through your website are an absolute must. Bear in mind, any time you sell them through a store you can knock 40% off what you get, if you use a distributor probably knock another 20% off. Given all of the production costs that we had to cover, bear in mind paying all of our contributors, and the difficulties with trying to ship and set up distribution channels to unlock American, Australian, further far flung audience sectors, it was a real challenge at times. And obviously of course there’s the risk that if you don’t sell them all you don’t get all the money back so we were kind of looking at this as a model. We’d sold other products through us – physical products, prints, totes, things like that – over the years and that worked quite well but it was very much usually a secondary revenue stream by that point and ideally, of course, we wanted to be at a point with our advertising revenue where we’d already broke even before we’d started selling physical magazines, that then was a bonus rather than something we had to rely on.”

• Really good considerations for my final outcome, if I want to print anything and distribute. Will this all be in-house, or will I have someone do this for me at a rate? Am I shipping in the UK or globally? How do I package this?

“In terms of design, it was really fun working digitally when you’ve come from a print background. It’s really nice; you get to play with the adaptability and the extra things that print doesn’t really afford you. But we still try and design to really retain a lot of that classic editorial stripped back approach. It was an opportunity, as well, to show the beautiful imagery, beautiful work in a really refined and classic manner which was always key to our design aesthetic. We’d never wanted design to get in the way of the work, we wanted the work to really stand up there and be counted.”

• Identify what works in digital and what works on paper; there is a difference. What will work in editorial final and on an app (if this is what I decide to create as final outcomes?)

“For me, the main way to think about this has been almost a transition from our early days from being based around a product and that really being the anchor point of the brand – this physical thing – to a shift to a range of services. I think a lot of the time when we’re talking about creative or design related business sometimes we can get caught up on this idea that it is in fact products that we’re selling and only a product, when, always, I think there are going to be opportunities to broaden that out into services and of course if you start talking about services there is a greater scope for different pricing structures, different pricing strategies, lengths of engagement and scope of project. It really does widen your potential quite majorly, and that’s definitely been the case for us.”

• My proposal is exactly this – a range of services that will branch out into other areas. I think this will make our business more accessible for designers as it won’t be specific to one area; it will consider many things such as running costs, footprints, printing and salary for staff etc.

“I feel like we would be signing a death warrant if we were to try and do everything for all people and be a broadly speaking creative aggregator. There are very big companies out there who do that very successfully, we wouldn’t stand a chance so for us it’s about keeping that focus that’s always been there from the start and just making sure that we’re evolving the offering so that we’ve always got ears open to potential new clients and we can respond to what they need.”

• Yet at the same time as my above statement, do not try to please everybody and do ‘too’ much that isn’t really relevant. I could identify the key areas that are problematic within the design industry (also detailed in the above).

Theory Lectures

Lecture 1: Theorised making

“Parafictions require a labour from the viewer – the fourth point. Well yes, again and this comes to how we curate the work. Where do we place those speakers? Where do we place this film? Where do we place these wall texts? And how do we ensure that the labour from the viewer doesn’t become too much so that they can never draw these connections? I guess in terms of the install approach, Harding’s work manages the unfolding of fiction across space, therefore when considering how to manage plausibility across space a number of questions become pertinent to the curation of the work. Is it necessary for visitors to engage with every element of the work? Text, film and audio? If so, is there a specific visitor user journey or order of the work? Finally how does the work operate in conjunction with the other works in the space? Can these work support the narrative or is there a risk they’ll make the thread harder to follow? For my research, in order to answer these questions, I embarked on a lot of, quality of research I suppose. We had 181 visitors to the exhibition over a period of around three weeks, which is not bad considering we were only open at the weekends. 42 people took a survey, so roughly around 20-25% of visitors around Donald’s work, and this survey reveals some really interesting stuff. Of these people, 100% viewed Donald’s film work, 29% listened to an audio component and 43% read the first wall text. However, only 14% read both wall texts.”

“The research showed that while only 14% of gallery visitors would approach a film or audio work in a gallery and expect it to be telling the truth, this rises to over 57% of respondents who said they expect a gallery wall text to be telling the truth. Therefore, the main clues to the fictionalisation of the Marsh Cob actually took place in a medium most visitors expected to be telling the truth.”

• Do research and if I can break it down into numbers then that is great evidence. Could I consider surveys and polls? I also learnt from Ben’s lecture that it’s important to consider the audience and stay consistent, and relevant with your project. The target audience need to understand the project purpose and clearly; Ben spoke about having the fact vs fiction element where some people understand what is what. If you trial it, and get feedback you can always improve which is really important.