the designer as editor by krissi xenakis
Maryland Institute College of Art Graphic Design MFA, Spring 2011 thesis2011.micadesign.org/xenakis â€˘ inkthestudio.com â€˘ krissixenakis.com
contents 04 About 06
35 Essay 41 Exhibition
What is Ink?
Ink is a design journal focused on the people and culture of print. I collaborate with Inkâ€™s co-creator Nick Mrozowski, designers, photographers, illustrators and other creatives from around the world to produce each issue from a different city. It all started in September in Denver at the Society for News Designâ€™s annual workshop and exhibition. There, we designed the first issue, with help from a third editor, Carrie Hoover, with participation from workshop attendees. We printed and distributed our first issue of Ink at the end of the conference. We had so much fun we decided to take the show on the road; our next stop was Detroit. From January 6â€“12, 2011, we worked out of the Detroit Media Partnership offices, where we edited and designed 36 pages celebrating design people and their stories. While producing the second issue, we visited some Detroit landmarks, invited local designers, writers, copy editors, and students to a hands-on mash-up session, and finished up with a launch party in The D. Krissi Xenakis, editor and designer
Learn more about Ink, see photos and find out how to participate at inkthestudio.com.
The editors note Printed on page two in the first issue of Ink on September 26, 2010.
This project is not about one weekend in Denver. It is about the work we do every day. Our lives, our people and our livelihood. It is about a photographer’s family living a new life where a mega-city climbs out of the desert (pg. 12-15). It is about how we make our mothers proud, no matter what they think we do (pg. 32-33). It is about pushing our craft into tomorrow (pg. 8-9) and turning science fiction into reality (pg. 24-25). This project is not for your coffee table. It is philosophical and analytical and meant to be read. It debates design as a system as opposed to a sensibility (pg. 28-29). It compares newspaper prose to a Canterbury Tale—in rhetorical terms (pg. 18-19). It shows us that we can democratize print publishing (pg. 6-7). This project is not anti-digital. It is pro-print. It is physical and tactile. You can smell the ink. You can touch the paper and get your fingers dirty. Then you can cut it up and glue it back together (pg. 34-35). This project was not a solo act. It was a collaborative effort. We asked a lot of favors and we owe many people thanks. Please, if you see any of our contributors (look right) give them a hug and a high-five. None of this would be possible without them. This project will not answer all of your questions or provide all the solutions to our industry’s challenges. But, it should give you the inspiration to go out and find some on your own or maybe ask your #snddenver colleagues for a little help, like we did. Print is not dead. It lives in our schools (pg. 22-23). It pumps through our veins (pg. 20-21). It gets stronger with every touch (pg. 4-5). And this weekend it flourished in Denver. See for yourself. — The editors.
About the cover
Artistâ€™s formally known as prints
Last spring, Krissi Xenakis printed off a couple dozen custom-typeset letterpress posters (using The Baltimore Sun as a backdrop). They were meant to promote this project. However, when we were desperately seeking a cover late on Saturday afternoon (shouldâ€™ve expected that, right?), the indefatigable Jonathon Berlin and the brilliant Jeff Neumann, came to our rescue. Er... we planned it that way. Printed on page two in the first issue.
The content was inspired, but not dictated by the location. Some features, like the artist prints designed by Tom McKay of The Denver Post, above, came directly from the conference.
Sh*t your mom says
This feature quoted mom’s trying to explain what their child-designer does. It’s something any creative can relate too and was designed by guest designer Jeff Neumann of The Denver Post. Richard Câmara did the illustrations.
Working in Denver Throughout the day, conference attendees could come in and look at pages, make their own classified ad, and work on Stink. We distributed the issue by hand to conference attendees (and some other hotel guests), early Sunday morning. But, because of the demand, issues can now also be purchased online.
the people who made it possible contributors
Steve Dorsey put us in touch with Dan. Dan authored Lost Detroit, a book that features the stories behind some of Detroit's most beautiful architecture. Sarah is a past colleague and classmate Nick and I worked with at our college paper, The State News. We connected to Andrea through David Kordalski from The Plain Dealer. He pitched the project to her; she got excited and accepted. I worked with Bill at Link, a publication from The Virginian-Pilot. Joanna contributed to the first issue. Nick worked with her in Portugal. Nick worked with Sandra in Portugal. Supisa is a colleague of mine at The Maryland Institute college of Art.
Dan Austin Richard C창mara Sarah Frank Jessica Jordan Andrea Levy Ann Liu Bill Manley Eric Mortensen
We worked with Richard in the first issue. Nick met him while working in Portugal. Jessica is also a past colleague and classmate from Michigan State University. Ann is a colleague of mine at The Maryland Institute College of Art. Eric is a colleague of mine at The Maryland Institute College of Art. Nick and I worked with Clint at The State News. He lives in New York City and Sarah roped him in to photograph her story. Steve Dorsey put us in contact with Ray, who is the features design director at The News.
Clint Spaulding Ray Stanczak Joanna Stichini-Vilela Sandra Rocha Supisa Wattanasansanee
It all started in September in Denver at the Design’s annual workshop and exhibitio of Ink was a love letter to print. We design marathon with the participation of confe printed it and distributed it as everyone home. We had so much fun, and received s back, that we decided to do it again — thi There have been a few changes. First conference to draw from — instead we h workshop. Second, in the true spirit of in we took on the roles of publisher, editor, tor, writer, designer, ad sales staff and a titles (most often, beggars) in order to ge done. That is not to say that we did this b took an army of people who rallied arou to pull it off. Most notably, our hosts in D Dorsey, vice president of innovation for Media Partnership, and the new preside a tireless supporter. Thanks to him, his d a number of visionary people at the DM News and Free Press we spent one incre Detroit producing the second edition of Detroit is simply bursting at the seam inventive people. As Michiganders, we a that. Still, this week was revealing for us old Free Press newspaper building — wh empty for more than a decade, but is slot velopment if the money shows up. We m and-wife team that started out trying to neighborhood and wound up owning a n vacant houses in it (their plans will blow everywere we turned there was another to help us out and tell us about their belo This is what Ink is all about. For our due out this summer — we will travel to can only hope to meet another class of d kind and interesting as those we encoun — The editors
issue two The editors Krissi Xenakis is an MFA design candidate at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. She has a background in journalism with an emphasis on newspaper design. Her professional experience includes working as a designer at newspapers big and small – and briefly, designing online ads in Chicago for Fortune 500 companies. She is currently developing her thesis — on the topic of designer as editor — for which Ink is the foundation of her investigation. She is also a contributing writer for Ellen Lupton’s up-coming book on graphic design thinking. See her work at krissixenakis.com.
Nick Mrozowski is trained as a journalist and designer. He has worked mostly in the daily newspaper business as a creative director, designer and editor. He just finished up almost two years in Lisbon, Portugal, working at i – a daily magazine masquerading as a newspaper. While he was there, he also originated the design of the paper's two weekly magazines and redesigned a regional paper that his company owned. And although he hasn't actually arrived yet — due to Ink’s rigorous production schedule — he's already paying rent in New York rent (ouch!), where he is beginning a career as a freelance designer and consultant.
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The editors note Printed on page two in the second issue of Ink on January 13, 2011.
We love print and we’re here to prove it. It all started in September in Denver at the Society for News Design’s annual workshop and exhibition. The first issue of Ink was a love letter to print. We designed it in a 72-hour marathon with the participation of conference attendees, printed it and distributed it as everyone was leaving to go home. We had so much fun, and received such positive feedback, that we decided to do it again — this time in Detroit. There have been a few changes. First, there was no conference to draw from — instead we hosted our own workshop. Second, in the true spirit of indie publishing, we took on the roles of publisher, editor, creative director, writer, designer, ad sales staff and a number of other titles (most often, beggars) in order to get everything done. That is not to say that we did this by ourselves. It took an army of people who rallied around this project to pull it off. Most notably, our hosts in Detroit. Steve Dorsey, vice president of innovation for the Detroit Media Partnership, and the new president of SND was a tireless supporter. Thanks to him, his department and a number of visionary people at the DMP, The Detroit News and Free Press we spent one incredible week in Detroit producing the second edition of Ink. Detroit is simply bursting at the seams with creative, inventive people. As Michiganders, we already knew that. Still, this week was revealing for us. We toured the old Free Press newspaper building — which has been empty for more than a decade, but is slotted for redevelopment if the money shows up. We met a husband-and-wife team that started out trying to improve their neighborhood and wound up owning a number of vacant houses in it (their plans will blow you away). And everywere we turned there was another Detroiter ready to help us out and tell us about their beloved city. This is what Ink is all about. For our third issue — due out this summer — we will travel to another city and can only hope to meet another class of design people as kind and interesting as those we encountered in Detroit. — The editors 19
Why Detroit for the second issue?
Detroit was a mini-homecoming. Nick and I are both Michigan natives, so we were incredibly lucky to have the support of friends and family through the process of making the second issue. Detroit is also bursting at the seams with creative, inventive people. And we were fortunate to have a very gracious host and sponsor in the Detroit Media Partnership.
A hole cut in the first floor of the Swoon house, left, looks down into the basement. Gina explained this was the perfect set-up for music performances because the audience could watch from above. Juxtapoz magazine helped Power House Productions-the organization Gina and Mitch run-bring in Swoon, RETNA, Monica Canilao, Richard Colman, Saelee Oh, and Ben Wolf to create artist houses in their neighborhood.
Gina Reichert, above, took us through the Power House, Juxtapoz houses and tells us about plans to build a skate park in her Detroit neighborhood. It was an incredible experience to see how she and husband Mitch Cope use a mix of art and sustainability to help improve their community. See more of their amazing work at powerhouseproject.com.
Inside the now empty Free Press building In 1998, the Free Press moved into The Detroit News building, after entering a joint-operating agreement with The Detroit News to cut costs. The Free Press building has been vacant for 13 years, yet wandering through the Detroit relic gave me a sense of what it must feel like to walk through the Titanic. Taken from the essay on page 34.
Found history WE FOUND THIS GEM on the fourth
floor of the now empty Free Press building, along with Detroit Times newspaper proofs from the 1950s. – Ink
Who is John S. Knight? Knight built a newspaper empire - starting with the Akron Beacon-Journal, which his father, Charles Landon Knight, published from 1903 to 1933. He purchased the Detroit Free Press in 1940, and when he died in 1981 his papers had the nation’s largest circulation and were worth an estimated $200 million. Who is James L. Knight? Also a newspaper publisher, he was John Knight’s younger brother and co-founder of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Who is Alvah H. Chapman? Chapman served as CEO of Knight-Ridder newspapers from 1976 to 1989, and helped spearhead the joint operating agreement between the Free Press and The Detroit News, which took effect in 1989. Who is C. Blake McDowell? An attorney associated for years with the Knight family in Akron, he was an important confidante at the corporate level Who is Lee Hills Wtih experience as an editor and publisher at the Miami Herald and the Detroit Free Press, Hills in 1974 was also the artichect of the merger of Knight Newspapers with Ridder Publications. The Others Henry Weidler was general manager of the Free Press; Semon “Bunkie” Knudsen left Chevrolet in 1968 to become head of Ford Motor Company; John Dykstra was president of Ford from 1961 to 1963. Need more Detroit History? Pick up “Lost Detroit”, a collection of photograhs and stories about the famous buildings here in Detroit. Check out the author, Dan Austin of The Detroit Free Press, at BuildingsofDetroit.com. SOURCE: WWW.KNIGHTFOUNDATION. ORG AND JOHN BENTLEY
Content We deepened the content in the second issue by telling design stories about design people that our Detroit audience could relate to. One story we printed was about Ebonex, a Detroit company that has made the pigment for bone black etching ink since 1873.
the people who made it possible Steve Dorsey put us in touch with Dan. Dan authored Lost Detroit, a book that features the stories behind some of Detroit's most beautiful architecture. Sarah is a past colleague and classmate Nick and I worked with at our college paper, The State News. We connected to Andrea through David Kordalski from The Plain Dealer. He pitched the project to her; she got excited and accepted.
Dan Austin Richard C창mara Sarah Frank
Steve Dorsey put us in contact with Ray, who is the features design director at The News.
Andrea Levy Ann Liu Bill Manley
Clint Spaulding Ray Stanczak Joanna Stichini-Vilela Sandra Rocha
Nick worked with Sandra in Portugal.
Jessica is also a past colleague and classmate from Michigan State University.
Eric Mortensen Eric is a colleague of mine at The Maryland Institute College of Art.
We worked with Richard in the first issue. Nick met him while working in Portugal.
Ann is a colleague of mine at The Maryland Institute College of Art. I worked with Bill at Link, a publication from The Virginian-Pilot. Nick and I worked with Clint at The State News. He lives in New York City and Sarah roped him in to photograph her story. Joanna contributed to the first issue. Nick worked with her in Portugal.
Supisa Wattanasansanee Supisa is a colleague of mine at The Maryland Institute college of Art.
The workshop Nick and I produced the first issue as an event at an actual workshop, so for the second issue there was the additional challenge of creating and running a workshop from scratch. It was a lot of work. We asked workshop attendees to illustrate or write a story based on a 50-year-old headline using actual ink with bamboo reed pens.
The presentation The first part of the workshop was a 45-minute sneak-peak presentation for attendees about the content and design of the second issue.
The launch party Steve Dorsey was instrumental in securing the location for the launch party, where we distributed copies of the second issue and displayed the stories and illustrations from the workshop. Nick and I presented the content in the issue and gave background information about some of the stories.
The aha moment happened when my big toe froze, while I was walking through the now empty Detroit Free Press building in downtown Detroit. In 1998, the Free Press moved into The Detroit News building, after entering a joint-operating agreement with The Detroit News to cut costs. The Free Press building has been vacant for 13 years, yet wandering through the Detroit relic gave me a sense of what it must feel like to walk through the Titanic. The most interesting floor had offices that looked like abandoned sets from Mad Men. Wood paneling, orange carpet, and
textured curtains were frozen in time. It was close to 15 degrees outside, and the unoccupied building was not heated. There were holes in the wall where people had found or tried to find copper piping to steal. Even with self-heaters in my boots—the kind you use for skiing and snowboarding—the warmth eventually wore off.
each issue if Ink during a multiple-day, on-site exercise in a select city, involving members of the local design and creative community. This R&D process meant we had a limited number of 14-hour days to produce a 32page design publication. The planning of the workshop took time away from the actual design and execution of the printed magazine, so it was the main cause of stress during production week of the second issue in Detroit. Dan Austin, a walking encyclopedia of Detroit’s architectural history, served as our guide through the marble-stripped building. Dan works at the Free Press and wrote Lost Detroit: Stories Behind the Motor City’s Majestic Ruins. He organized the on-site excursion— with approval from the current owner—that proved to be one of our most important moments in Detroit. We had sent out a vague description of what the potential creative workshop would be a week prior and posted the description on AIGA Detroit and other social-media networks. The post instructed attendees to bring an object that reminded them of Detroit, and we figured the details would work themselves out later. Whatever we said must have worked because 40 people signed up.
In the Mad Men office, there were newspapers from The Detroit Times dated 1950, a file filled with documents and letters—some of them labeled confidential— and a stack of index cards with headlines printed on them from the same time period. The headline cards were hilarious: “Study says all men fear all women.” Faded over the decades, the cards were historical artifacts. And that was the moment my co-editor Nick Mrozowski and I knew we needed to use the cards in the creative workshop we were hosting. The workshop is one part of design magazine, Ink’s unique production methodology. Nick and I produce
Skill levels varied severely among, copy-editors, artists and journalism students, so Nick and I panicked. We didn’t want anyone to feel isolated or uncomfortable. So we panicked and kept panicking until we discovered the headline cards in the historic Free Press building. Those artifacts of newspaper past saved Ink’s workshop. The life-juice of Ink relies on the engagement and energy found in those defining on-location moments. Because without those headline cards, there would be no workshop, and without the workshop, there would be no Rachel Keast, and without Rachel, there would be no cover art. We asked our workshop attendees to create the missing story from the headline cards. We also asked them to include their Detroit-inspired object by either
writing or illustrating it in black sumi ink. Results varied. One attendee submitted an illustration of a gun shooting out a railroad nail instead of a bullet. Another attendee wrote a story about a boy whose tongue became stuck to a metal wrench due to frigid Michigan weather. Rachel—one of the workshop participants, right,— was shy at first, but the object she brought to the workshop was a beautifully stylized print made from a metal intaglio plate. Nick and I didn’t exactly know what that meant, but we thought her print exhibited a rugged panache. We asked to look through her portfolio over lunch the next day. The snow forced my station wagon to move about 20 mph through Corktown, Rachel’s neighborhood in Detroit. And as we inched our way to Mexican Village, another city neighborhood, for lunch, she told us about her decision to move into the city from the suburbs. This is not the norm for typical young professionals in Michigan, but Rachel is part of a growing community of artists who are starting to invest in Detroit. The majority of the homes in her historic neighborhood are not vacant or even for sale. The community she lives in might not be growing larger, but it is growing tighter and the people are more devoted to the area. As one of only three parties at the restaurant, we took the opportunity to spread Rachel’s work over our long picnic-like table, making sure to avoid any potential bean and rice catastrophes. Rachel brought with her more examples of her prints made from intaglio plates. Because we had expressed an interest in the process the day before she brought the acid-etched plate with her. The plate felt good and sturdy in my hands. There was an unexplainable honesty to the inanimate object that mirrored so many of our experiences in Detroit. It was real, tactile and almost industrial. The smoke stack etched into the plate was somewhat cliché of Detroit,
but perfect at the same time. It was something Rachel put ink onto to produce an artistic statement, and in the end, it felt right going on the cover of Ink. Nick and I tried a few of her other pieces, but scanning the original silver-colored plate produced a beautiful, turquoise-toned digital image, below. The unique
I explained that we were doing it together, since I had typed in all of his suggestions, except for the last one, which I had insisted on deleting. “But you’re winning over there,” he said just loud enough for me to hear. Collaboration is what makes Ink possible. The workshop and on-location elements breathe life and purpose into the project, but the practice of collaboration is essential to the execution of the final publication. The paper is built on-location in a week, but the legwork begins off-site about two to three months prior. We have to plan with our host and sell advertising. There is also distribution to deal with, building a budget, and contacting contributors. One of us cannot do it all. While we need collaboration skills to produce each issue, they do not appear automatically. During the nine years Nick and I have known each other as friends and colleagues, we learned how to work with each other, and to push each other’s buttons. A mutual understanding of our individual design styles, work habits and dynamics makes it possible to create Ink in a week.
texture was perfect for the newsprint that would run through the presses two days later. The deadline. It came. It went. And then Nick and I started to work on the cover an hour and a half later. We can’t lie and say we had everything under control. We can’t avoid the truth, because it’s all on video. “Can I drive now,” Nick asked, frustrated that he didn’t have direct control over the mouse. I said no, adding a smile to diminish any hostilities. “You don’t get to make all of the decisions just because you are sitting there,” he pushed back, not ready to give up.
For the Detroit issue, we met in East Lansing, Mich., for two days at the end of December, before production week, so we could have an intensive work session. Nick and I quickly can delegate responsibilities in person and together we hold each other accountable to focus on the task at hand. In general, for us, workflow runs smoother sans e-mail. We worked out of coffee shops, bagel joints, and anywhere that had free Wi-Fi, since some of our contributors were based off-location. Andrea Levy, one of those contributors, is a celebrated newspaper illustrator and designer for The Cleveland Plain Dealer. The Plain Dealer is located about three hours outside of Detroit and is repeatedly recognized by The Society for News Design (our distribution partner) for its excellence in visual journalism, so were thrilled when Andrea agreed to use her distinctive
style to illustrate our center spread poster and share her process. She sent us her final illustration, below, while Nick and I were working in East Lansing, which made the approval process immediate instead of waiting for e-mails to be passed back and forth. Working at the same location might seem like a small thing, but because the project requires tight deadlines, we needed to cut lag-time whenever possible. It took us about an hour to design the cover. This put us two and a half hours past deadline by the time it was finally sent to the plant with the rest of the pages. Because we also are the editors, designing the cover included writing all of the teasers, making a final decision about the placement and language of our tagline—Design people. Design stories. —and a lengthy discussion about whether to write the cost of the magazine as “$10” or “10 bucks.” I argued bucks referenced deer since, we were printing in Michigan, and Nick insisted it was humorous for the audience. I guess he was right. I won.
The big show
April 22 - May 2 in the Meyerhoff Gallery at 1301 W Mt Royal Ave.,
My thesis project documents the contemporary role of the designer as editor. Around the world, designers are using the tools and methodologies of their profession to actively generate content, acting as producers, publishers and entrepreneurs. By using Ink as a living experiment, my thesis reveals the nuances of the editorial process and showcases the construction of each issue through a series of paperback books called Transparent Ink. I divided the show into two parts, the process wall and the celebration area. The process wall contained artifacts, conversations and documentation books from the first and second issue. The celebration area included newsprint wallpaper and an Ink-branded newspaper box that distributed the second issue. I used the exhibition to dive deeper into the process by highlighting workshop results, displaying on-location found artifacts and even proof pages from the second issue. Additional video components and a bench for reading invited gallery visitors to sit down and digest the magazine and publication process.
In the gallery Monday, April 25. Formal critique with Rob Giampietro of Project Projects, thesis advisors Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips, and colleagues Tuesday, April 26 MFA Thesis Gallery Talk Wednesday, April 27 Gallery Talk with MICAâ€™s Community Arts Partnership faculty Thursday, April 28 Henry Walters Traveling Fellowship gallery visit
Ink is a design journal focused on the people and culture of print. I collaborate with Ink’s co-creator Nick Mrozowski, designers, photograp...