Co-creative publics and publication design practice

Design Australia

This study is situated in the practice of publication design. I characterise publication design as the act of bringing thoughts, opinions, information and stories into the public realm. A publication artefact in this study refers to the material and non-material form that the communication takes, such as print, web, audio, or discourse and event.

Through this study I make the case that the professional, mainstream practice of publication design will change in relation to the way a public for it changes. In this, design practice is likely to be transformed in a way that is similar to the transformation in other related practices such as media and commerce.

On completion of this study, I believe it can be argued that publication design is moving from a broadcast medium to a social and relational one, where the audience participates in the production of meaning (or sense-making) by attaining a closer relationship to the production of design. I use the term co-creative public to describe this audience. The characteristics of this public are that it is self-organised, freely associated and forms in response to attention (Warner 2002).

As the relationship between designer and audience evolves reciprocally, it is possible to reinterpret the role of the professional designer and to identify the new opportunities presented.

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