Typographics 2019: Mutually Assured Construction: Design Is Edit Is Design with Alan Rapp and Neil Donnelly

This talk took place in The Great Hall at The Cooper Union on June 15, 2019. The livestreaming and video recording were made possible by a generous sponsorship from Google. The traditional sequence of publishing—edit first, design second—is a thing…

Typographics 2019: Mutually Assured Construction: Design Is Edit Is Design with Alan Rapp and Neil Donnelly

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This talk took place in The Great Hall at The Cooper Union on June 15, 2019. The livestreaming and video recording were made possible by a generous sponsorship from Google.

The traditional sequence of publishing—edit first, design second—is a thing of the past, especially when it comes to publishing in architecture, design, and other highly visual creative fields. Far from being discrete disciplines walled off from each other in separate phases of the publication process, designing and editing can evolve in parallel, with moments of close coordination and intersection. Our collaborations approach editing and design as distinct but overlapping structures that contain, cultivate, and manipulate content through interdependent systems. This entwined process is embedded in the final product.

Alan Rapp is Editorial Director at The Monacelli Press, where he oversees publication in all categories and develops and edits architecture, design, and photography books. As a critic, he has written for Modern Painters, Designers & Books, The Photobook Review, Wired Design, Dwell, Urban Omnibus and other publications, and contributed essays to monographs by photographers David Maisel, Joël Tettamanti, and James Silverman. Rapp holds an MFA in Design Criticism from School of Visual Arts, and leads a graduate thesis seminar at Rhode Island School of Design.

Neil Donnelly Studio works in graphic design across media with clients in art, architecture, publishing, and public service. We have a particular interest in designing flexible structures and systems that grow out of conceptual thinking and encourage deep engagement with content. We aim to surprise and delight readers, users, and visitors through careful consideration of materials, typography, and interactions. Our clients include cultural and educational institutions such as the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, Petzel Gallery, Columbia University, and Harvard University, publishers such as Phaidon and Verso Books, and organizations including the NYC DOT and the Center for Urban Pedagogy. Our work has been included in the Brno Biennial of Graphic Design and exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the New Museum. Neil has lectured, taught courses, and led workshops at the Yale, Harvard, Parsons, MICA, SVA, and Rutgers. Neil holds a BS in engineering from Carnegie Mellon and an MFA in graphic design from Yale.

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