14. Printing Design and Publication
(Evaluation of the RBS 1994 version of this course)
In today's museums and libraries, the texts for readers'
instructions, call slips, signs, announcements, posters,
checklists, and full-dress catalogs are generally composed on
microcomputers, often by staff members with little graphic design
experience. This course will teach the principles of good design
within the limits of readily available software programs,
on work generated by a laser printer and reproduced on a photo-
copier (but without neglecting more complex projects requiring
use of a commercial printer). The course will include critiques
past examples and projected work which students bring with them
class. There will be a field trip to a commercial printer.
1. How useful were the pre-course readings?
1: Very useful. 2: Useful, some more interesting
than others, but did not indicate the scope and variety of
covered in class. 3: Very useful. 5: They
were directly relevant and presaged the character of the course
teaching, which combined the pragmatic, the poetic, the
challenging, and the witty. There also was enough to present a
range of ideas without being burdensome. 6: Excellent,
very useful. Carefully selected material covering a range from
specific and practical to general and theoretical. 7:
Pre-course readings were appropriate and useful as a background.
Pocket Pal is a real plus for future reference.
2. Was your faculty member well-prepared to teach THIS
1: YES. He had obviously read and digested the
applications we sent in. 2: YES! 3: Yes --
well prepared. Never in all my years in college have I had an
instructor so well prepared to teach a course. 4:
Extremely well prepared -- had lectures, outlines, and maxims
hand out, beautiful slide shows, and a large, wonderful
assortment of materials to look at and critique. 5:
Wondrously so. 6: Eminently so. 7: Emphatically
3. Was the intellectual level of the course content
1: Yes, There was a very broad range of
expertise (and non-expertise) in our class. GA spoke to all
levels, I believe equally well. 2: Yes -- and GA made an
effort to find out what each of us was most interested in.
3: Yes. 4: Yes -- it was neither over our heads
too simplistic. 5: Absolutely. 6: Yes. 7:
Our class consisted of novices and professionals which
seemed difficult, but the course covered material in a way
appropriate to everyone.
4. If your course had field trips, were they effective?
1: Yes, though most of us won't actually be using a
printer, so I wouldn't devote any more than about two hours to
print shop field trip. 2: Yes, the visit to a working
press was helpful, especially after we had covered production
class. 3: Yes. 4: Yes, it was very interesting to
visit the printer and see how processes actually work. It was
also nice that it was close and did not take away a large part
of the day (just an hour and a half). 5: We visited a
printing plant, which was successful as exposure to the
environment and complex machinery out of which modern
publications emerge. 6: Yes. 7: We visited a
printing plant and could see what had been discussed in class.
5. Did the actual course content correspond to its RBS
brochure description and Expanded Course Description? Did the
course in general meet your expectations?
1: Yes. 2: Yes+yes+more so! 3: More
than met my expectations. GA turned a key, opened a door, and
one short week he has given me a whole new foundation to guide
me in my work. 4: The course more than met my
expectations -- I did not really get a sense of what it would
from the description. Also, we were asked our specific
at the beginning of the week and GA tailored the course
toward those interests. 5: Yes, on description
expectations. 6: Yes. 7: The course was different
from my original expectations, but really changed my attitudes
in more lasting ways. More theory, less actual hands-on design.
6. What did you like best about the course?
1: Greer Allen. 2: The range of issues covered.
incredible amount of information was packed into the five days,
but it never felt rushed. Our class was small (seven students),
so there was plenty of time for discussion, individual
and learning from each other as well as from GA. 3: I
cannot begin to list all the elements I liked best about
this course. I feel I have learned a great deal and that
I have been so very fortunate to have had GA as an instructor.
The information I have learned has been an eye-opener! My
has really got its money's worth! 4: GA talked about
design as thinking of the ideal and then working to get as
to it as possible. He really gave us a sense of some benchmarks
of quality (especially appropriate to university and museum
and told us ways to approach it, even on small budgets and
low-tech equipment. This sense of standards, quality, and
and the desire not to give up is what I will take away. He
reminded us to enrich our lives with beautiful things and
for it in our work. I also thought the Arts Space in Newcomb
great -- good light, quiet, and we could really spread out.
5: My previous exposure to course work in graphic design
emphasized a more commercial aesthetic, which was disappointing
to me. This, in contrast, presented and analyzed exactly
the kinds of aesthetic values that I care about and wish to
understand better. This focus exceeded my expectation.
GA's manner and approach to printing and teaching. 7: I
liked the materials brought as samples of design. The materials
we looked at really reinforced the principles we were being
7. How could the course have been improved?
1: I would have liked a bit more critique of work done
class members. Maybe Thursday morning could be entirely devoted
to looking at samples brought in by course participants.
2: In GA's standard of measurement, the course was
``unassailable.'' 3: The only way the course could be improved
is to make it more than one short week. Time has gone too
quickly! 5: Seeing more printing-in-process and
introducing studio exercises would extend and broaden our
exposure -- but
I don't think a week would ever permit that. 6: Better
physical setting. 7: I can't think of any way to improve
this course. The instructor was the course and
good taste made the course. The choice of instructor was
a great judgment.
8. Any final thoughts?
2: This course is an invaluable resource for those of us
working in the production of publications who have had no
formal training but who have evolved into our institution's
graphic designer. 3: TAKE IT!! 4: I
highly recommend this course. It's a reaffirmation of the need
for good, lovely things and it reminds us not to get too
impressed by the gimmicks of the computer. 5: Look forward
to enjoying a rare blend of professional and artistic expertise,
energetic presentation, and old-world courtliness! 7: Any
reader or designer would benefit from learning about what works
Number of respondents: 7
Leave Tuition Housing Travel
Institution Institution Institution Institution
gave me leave paid tuition paid housing paid travel
57% 42% 29% 29%
I took vaca- I paid tui- I paid for my I paid my own
tion time tion myself own housing travel
0% 29% 0% 0%
N/A: self- N/A: Self- N/A: stayed N/A: lived
employed, re- employed, with friends nearby
tired, or had retired, or or lived at
summers off exchange home
43% 29% 71% 71%
Two students (30%) were graphic designers; and one student (14%
each) was an antiquarian bookseller, a full-time student, a
general librarian with no specified rare book duties, a museum
employee, or retired.