James Goggin founded Practise in London in 1999.

The results (»Dear Lulu« and »Dear BoD«) of the workshop, a 96 page book, can be purchased through two different »Print on Demand« publishers: Lulu.com and Bod.com

Workshop Brief: The plan for the workshop is to investigate the visible and tangible parameters of graphic design – type specimens, halftone screens and, in particular, colour tests and calibration charts – and make a book of our own self-produced tests which we will send to print on Friday afternoon using the online print-on-demand system Lulu (www.lulu.com/de). The book project will therefore act as a colour/type/pattern test of the very system with which it is produced. “Print-on-demand” is an increasingly important production system which can serve to make us designers rethink the impact our profession has on the environment and to question the often wasteful print volumes and production methods requested of us by our clients. Graphic designers, and especially students, have a chance to use and subvert these relatively new (and fairly cheap) technological systems to our advantage. Lulu.com is a print-on-demand self-publishing site and online retailer based in the US with local operations in the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands. I have been curious for some time about how the system might work in terms of print quality, binding and distribution. But rather than make a test book for myself, which I had originally planned, I thought it would be much more interesting to make Darmstadt graphic design students do all the work for me!The site’s publishing and file preparation instructions seem unnecessarily complicated to me, so part of our project might be to critically judge these instructions and see if part of our test book might provide a much simpler “How To” set of directions from a graphic designer’s perspective.Any book produced on Lulu can also be offered for sale: perfect for individuals to make fanzines or self-published books without the need for a publisher or traditional bookshop/newsstand network. In our case, the colour test book we produce should be an extremely useful document for other graphic designers and students to order online and then use to analyse the possibilities of print-on-demand. I make the hopeful assumption that book orders are printed and dispatched locally depending on the reader’s location: US readers would recieve a local version of our German-designed book printed and dispatched from Lulu US; British orders would print just outside London, etc. This is another sustainability-related part of the system we can all investigate and test.

Discussions about this project on various web blogs can be found here: Thinking for a Living, Arkitip, Lined & Unlined, Speak Up (under Consideration), Drawn Articles on the project can be found in the American PRINT Magazine (12/2008) and in the Japanese IDEA Magazine