SASD’s New Student Magazine, Document:

Greg Chinn, a professor at SASD, University of Bridgeport, came to Emily Larned, the Graphic Design Department Chair, with the idea of starting an “international culture journal,” produced by the students. After much blood, sweat and tears, the first issue launches this month, and we thought it would be a good time to check in with them on how they got here and what’s next.

How did the idea come about, and did it change/become something different than what you were originally thinking?
Greg: The idea for Document: came about from my interactions with SASD students when I started teaching there. The design student population is really diverse and come from all over the US and abroad. They have very interesting perspectives on life and culture. Whenever we had discussions in class about current issues or topics, I always left the conversations very impressed about the insights the students had. This laid the groundwork for a concept of a cultural journal produced by the students — and from talking with Emily, together we concepted/created Document:. We decided to co-teach the senior graphic design class plus open the class to a few students of other majors like English or Mass Communications, making a class of 23 students. The overall idea is that Document: is a multicultural magazine produced by SASD/University of Bridgeport students that documents diverse issues and universally important themes. As a creative work of University of Bridgeport’s multicultural student community, we see Document: as a snapshot of wide-ranging interests, concerns, fears, and hopes. The magazine seeks to be stimulating and progressive while promoting global dialogue, intercultural understanding, and student voices. The first theme is Skins, and Document: Skins, the magazine’s inaugural issue, launches January 2013.

Emily: While we started with this concept of an “international culture journal,” the focus of the magazine definitely changed through the making of it. What became apparent is how students interpreted the theme, coming up with tons of ideas related to Skins that would never have occurred to us, and that weren’t necessarily international or cultural, per se. The magazine certainly live up to its name: it IS a document of students’ interests, and they sure are wide-ranging!

How does it fit into the overall design program at SASD?
Emily: Fall semester of the senior year prepares seniors for making their thesis in the spring. In previous years I assigned projects that helped students explore their design process: defining the problem and exploring many different modes of researching, brainstorming, and concepting — all with the goal of trying to get to more surprising and more original solutions. With creating Document, the emphasis on the design process is placed in a context that makes its exploration very public and collaborative, in what we hope is an exciting and engaging way for the students. I am always seeking ways to make students’ education real to them. In this sense, this publishing project is akin to Design Service, the student-run graphic design studio that is also an important part of the design program. My goal is for students to realize they ARE designers, and the way they approach school assignments should be the same way they’d approach “real” projects for a client. They don’t become designers when they graduate. They start now.

Is Document: a print publication strictly or will there be a web companion?
Emily: The magazine has print, web, and environmental components: there’s the physical magazine, there’s the blog that tells a bit of the process, the entire issue will be online soon at issuu.com, and lastly there’s the exhibition / launch party in the university gallery on January 30. It isn’t an obvious move to make a print publication at this juncture in time — but Greg and I believe that print is at a really exciting place right now. The dematerialization of content has made print all the more special, and the students are really, really excited about making a physical object.

Greg: Print is art now. And to tell you a bit more about the magazine: Document: is a 7″ x 10″ perfect bound journal with a print run of 750. There will also be special edition letterpress poster / book jacket of 150, for sale for $5. All proceeds go to the next Document: publication. Along with the cultural journal, there is a blog which students post their thoughts, cool links and parts of their magazine content that each our working on. There will also be a gallery opening on Wednesday January 30, 2013 from 6-8pm at the University of Bridgeport Arnold Bernhard Center’s Schelfhaudt Gallery. Everyone is welcome to attend and we’ll be giving away free copies of the magazine. Info will be up on the SASD website very soon. For any questions, email Emily.

How does design/concepting process work when creating Document:? There must be a lot of coordination with 23 students?
Emily: The process began at the end of spring 2012 semester, when we met with the students and gave them a research assignment over the summer: collecting as many different images and iterations of skin as they could imagine, and to try to push the concept of “skins” as metaphorically far as possible. In the fall, students presented their idea collections, brainstormed together, and created – literally – a giant wall of potential topics to explore which we then grouped and edited. Students assigned themselves projects they were interested in, and since then the process has been really open. Students change their minds, create something totally new, or collaborate in unexpected ways. Actually, unexpected collaborations have yielded some of the most visually exciting content in the magazine! Thankfully, our couple of non-design students in the class lend their talents in much-needed ways: creative writing, editing, nonfiction writing, research. A few design students in class collaborated with these writers in order to give their ideas visual form.

Greg: Since this is our inaugural issue, the process has been challenging. I think the key word for me seemed to be “adaptability”. When Emily and I started concepting the journal, we thought a lot about the process of how we would produce it. With 23 students, it’s like tag-team wrestling. During class, we’re both working with all the students and circulating around the room. The super cool part for the students is that they get different perspectives on their project from us. Then they get to weigh the visual / conceptual options and move forward on a direction. As we worked through the semester, we’ve had to adjust certain parts of the process. At various points, the students reach creative roadblocks. Emily and I definitely see these pop-up and we try and give the students a different direction to go or change up the day. For example, we used to start with critiques in the beginning of class, but saw that it was zapping the student’s energy level. So we changed it up. We began to work first and critique later which totally helped the vibe. This seemed like a small change but the productivity and enthusiasm really increased. I also think we have a pretty democratic process when it comes to making big decisions. For the cover and letterpress book jacket / poster, the whole class worked on individual directions. We then pinned all the work up and everyone got 3 pins to select their top three. The top 3 picks were selected, developed and a week later, the 3 picks were put up again. At that point, the finals were chosen.

What do you hope to accomplish with Document: Skins?
Greg: I think when people read / view Document: Skins online or the publication, they get insight into a different perspective. We have so many amazing topics that we cover and come from both personal and strictly informational modes. We have content on passing, growing a thick skin, tribal face painting, mulattos, tattoos, touch, plastic surgery, moleosophy, a day in the life of skin, scars, and fingerprints just to name a few. I don’t think you could come away from the project and not learn something new or gain a new appreciation for skin.

Emily: I know I definitely learned things about skin! My hope for the students is that they learn more about their own creative process and are better equipped to tap into their interests and passions in order to make their best work as budding professionals. I’m proud of the diversity of the student work in the magazine, that it has no dominant style, that it doesn’t look like the work of Greg or myself, that the content and its various forms really comes from the students. I hope that students gain confidence from the experience of making this magazine together, and I hope that the design community (and prospective employers of our soon-to-be graduates!) discover some of the real talent we have here at SASD.

What are some other issue topics for Document:, now that you’ve done “Skins”.
Greg: Man, there are so many interesting topics. I know Emily and I enjoyed looking / discussing Colors magazine — which was created by photographer Oliviero Toscani and art director Tibor Kalman — and were inspired by it for this project. They had topics like Happiness, Apocalypse, Shit and Madness, to name a few. We haven’t really discussed / decided on anything yet, so you’ll have to stay tuned see what it is!

Emily: What we liked about “Skins” is how it could be interpreted in so many different ways, ways both mundane and controversial — there’s the potential of reconsidering the overlooked as well as pushing buttons. So going forward we’d like to choose other topics that are equally open — themes similar to say what Cabinet might choose — although Cabinet is a very different magazine. I came up with the concept of “Skins” when I was out on my daily run, thinking of their theme “Hair,” and the one I began thinking about the other day while running was Game — hunting prey / video games / board games / play / sports / colloquialisms like “you got game” or “I’m game for that” / mind games / love games — which in the singular remains more open than the plural Games, the latter of which Cabinet has used, by the way, darn!! So Greg is absolutely right — you’ll have to stay tuned til next year!

10 Comments

Koawood
Koawood 1.2.13

Sounds interesting. Looking forward to seeing the actual product. Also good to have a physical take-way.

Document: Skins featured in Connecticut Creatives | SASDocument

[...] Document: Skins was featured in Connecticut Creatives Seen & Noted section:) Check it out: http://conncreatives.com/cc/2013/01/02/sasd-document/ Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. Bookmark the [...]

Document: Skins featured on ConnCreatives | SASD Graphic Design

[...] a creative work of University of Bridgeport’s multicultural student community. Read all about it! Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. Tagged [...]

Connecticut Creatives Features Document: Skins | SASD Document: Skins

[...] SASD’s New Student Magazine, Document: [...]

Lisa and David DeMaio
Lisa and David DeMaio 1.30.13

SO PROUD OF OUR DAUGHTER AMANDA, her creative design was chosen for SPECIAL EDITION COVER for their 1st magazine named “SKINS” an international cultural journal .
We are truly so proud of her accomplishments.and creativity ! “Skins” Magazine Launch party Jan 30, 2013 6 to 9 pm come join us

Lisa and David DeMaio
Lisa and David DeMaio 2.7.13

Sad to see website is not updated! There was no mention of magazine launch on website with time and date , that was held January 30th, 2013 or on SASD website or University of Bridgeport website . I would appreciate if you can please update your website with accomplishments these students performed so they can get recogintion they deserve !!!! on all 3 websites!!!
awards listed last was from 2010 Unfair to students who have worked so hard PLEASE PLEASE UPDATE and be current

Document: Launch Party « Shintaro Akatsu School of Design

[...] wrapped in a letterpress printed poster. You can read more about the creation of Document: on Connecticut Creatives and on the students’ blog. Contact Us For more information about the SASD [...]

Document: Skins Tech Skin Spread « Edwin Montero | Graphic Design Portfolio

[...] Skins is featured on ConnCreatives and GDUSA [...]

Tijs
Tijs 11.11.14

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