9 Professional-Quality Digital Design and Printing Experience for Students Producing a Small Library of Books for Use by The Program, School and University


Trudy Cole

ABSTRACT: Students will be producing a book as the culmination of a semester-long project in GRPH 390 Narrative Illustration, Spring 2019. They will be writing, designing, illustrating, digitally formatting, digitally uploading and seeing the book through a professional printing process. They will use the Adobe Creative Suite (Adobe PhotoShop, Adobe InDesign and Adobe Illustrator) in conjunction with scanning software and a professional-quality digital up-load printing service. The requested funds are for professional-quality printing and binding expenses to produce two copies of each student’s book solution. I envision the use of the printed books (in conjunction with the digital files used to create each book) will be used for future in-class demonstrations and instruction, exhibitions, professional lectures, university workshops, conference presentations and archives.

Instructional Problem: Addressing Complexities and Logistics
Solution/Opportunity: Well Thought-Out Timeline, Digital Instruction, Use of Printing Support Staff, Careful Proofing of Individual Solutions File preparation for high-quality on-line printing is complex and involved with templates and much protocol. One challenge is how to provide an understanding of theses processes and enough oversight to make sure all of the protocol has been followed. This problem will be solved with a very organized and comprehensive timeline, plenty of digital instruction, and regular proofing of each individual’s files to ensure comprehension and ultimately a successful printed piece.

Instructional Problem: Funding and Logistics
Solution/Opportunity: Reduced Student Rate Provided by Printer and Piggybacking the Printing of Student Print Runs
Another instructional problem would be the affordably and how to logistically establish a volume of student book samples reflective of the professional, high-quality, digital printing process. Books are usually prohibitively expensive to produce in small runs because most of the expense is in the setup for reproduction. I contacted Bookbaby.com about the course and my plans. They are SO EXCITED about the prospects and explained how my course and plans fit into their commitments to community engagement. They worked with us to create a feasible plan for publication.  It is also very time consuming and technical to prepare a book for press, upload it and see it to fruition. The students will be providing all the prepress formatting and overseeing the logistics. By piggyback the students’ print run at BookBAby.com, a small library of samples will be created that would otherwise be too expensive and labor intensive to produce.

Instructional Problem: Being Assured That Each Book Will Go to Press
Solution/Opportunity: Assuring That at Least Two Books Will Be Produced Through This Funding
Students will be covering the cost of any book copies they choose to produce for themselves. If they choose not to fund any for themselves, the funds provided by this grant will be the only means assuring to each student will get this invaluable professional printing experience.

Instructional Problem: As The Instructor, Having The Knowledge Base To See The Projects Through A Complex Digital On-Line Printing Process
Solution/Opportunity: I Have Already Produce Work Using The Process
Having already produced pieces using Bookbaby.com, the research and understanding needed to teach and implement this project has already been done and tested for ease-of-use and quality of the printed piece.

Previous Evidence and Instructional Design Principles: Online printing (versus going to a printer) has recently become the norm in the market place. All of my professional work is now digitally produced and printed via file upload. I no longer physically visit the printer. Files are uploaded and proofs are sent digitally. Students are soon to enter this field without any practical experience as to how to get a piece to press. The instructional design principles of this course are created to replicate a real-world experience. I have worked with many on-line digital-upload printing companies (including BookBaby.com). BookBaby.com has a knowledgeable and patient support staff, instructions provided are comprehensive and the books are printed/produced well.
Ensuring the Implementation Process: The implementation of the process will be ensured because the entire semester rides on taking the book to its printed form. The printing of the books will be the culmination of a course entitled GRPH 390 Narrative Illustration, Spring 2019. In this course, Graphic design students are required to write, illustrate and design their own 24-page book. After, they will be required to prepare their book for professional-quality printing and binding through the on-line company called “BookBaby.com”. As a graphic design professional and veteran professor, I am no stranger to making deadlines. A concise and comprehensive schedule will be established, for the entire semester, culminating in a deadline that provides enough time for the project to be printed by the end of the semester.
Instructional Support Required: All instructional or technology support will be provided by me (as instructor of the course) and/or Bookbaby.com. BookBaby.com Links:
Book Printing Overview https://www.bookbaby.com/book-printing
Book Printing section https://www.bookbaby.com/quoter/default.aspx
Templates https://www.bookbaby.com/templates

Project Transferability:
I envision that the knowledge from this project will be very transferable to other courses, other colleagues, other colleagues’ courses and even those from other disciplines:
• Online high-quality book printing preparation for BookBaby.com is similar to the printing of other projects even if using a different printer.
• Established instructional materials, digital files and printed samples can be used in future Narrative Illustrations courses as well as other GRPH courses. For instance, materials could be used to teach GRPH 390 Design For Good: Community Outreach that requires designing for a real-world client then taking the project through the printing process. They can also be used to co-teach an IVS (Institute of Visual Studies) course that offers such knowledge to an interdisciplinary body of students and a fellow faculty member in another discipline.
• Beyond the IVS course mentioned above, fine artists, photographers, writers, researchers, and anyone who would benefit from printing and or publishing can benefit from a subsequent ITC workshop on how to get their (and their students’ books) to press.

Anticipated Outcomes:
• This project will ensure that at least two copies of each book will be produced.
• It will result in a small library of produced books that have been written, design, illustrated and produced in GRPH 390 Narrative Illustration.
• It will result in a body of instructional materials for use in future courses and by other instructors.
Evidence: Two books of each student solution will be printed and used in conjunction with the digital files used to produce them. One set will be for the permanent archive and use in the Graphic Design Program. The second set, will be used for outreach: in-class demonstrations, instruction, exhibitions, lectures and workshops. The evidence collected for assessment and transferability will be the original digital files and the books produced from those files. The digital files will provide the insight as to how the books were produced: software used, links between software, copy editing, typesetting, digital image manipulation, grid systems, crop marks, registrations, text outlining, layers, image and text links, exports, imports, color breakdowns, screens, etc. If mistakes were made, they too can be a learning experience for others.
Learning: The market demands that students have an understanding of the printing process and how to prepare graphic design for high-quality, high volume reproduction. But, unless the knowledge is implemented, it is simply hypothetical. So, an important portion of this funding request will be to have their solutions printed by a professional printer. For the student, this deep, meaningful learning will not only provide knowledge that will be transferable to other projects, it will provide a portfolio and resume content. The final book will be a reflection of not only their on-line printing abilities but their writing, design and illustration skills. For the Program, School and University, meaningful learning will take place when these samples are used for in-class demonstrations, instruction, exhibitions, faculty lectures and workshops.

Plan: My plans to share the design, timeline, implementation and outcomes of this project will be multifaceted:
• They will be shared in future courses, in-class demonstrations, instruction, lectures, workshops and archives.
• Exhibitions venues may include displaying the solutions in student galleries, the library and SADAH display areas.
• They may be used for an Independent Author Conference presentation in Fall 2019.
Example or Suggestions for Others:
• By teaching an ITC workshop on how other faculty can teach such materials in their classes, I can share time lines for semester implementation and the logistics of setting-up books for high-quality printing at BookBaby.com.
• With an established and tested student/course relationship with BookBaby.com other JMU instructors may be able to take advantage of the discounted price and small run agreement.
Conferences: There have been preliminary discussions with BookBaby.com about my presenting the results and findings of the project at the Independent Author Conference, sponsored by BookBaby.com, to be held in Fall 2019.

JMU SADAH News Release on ACT Grant: https://www.jmu.edu/news/artandarthistory/14nov-act-grant.shtml