New Design Commons (Too Much Content)

1st October 2022 at 9:26pm
Word Count: 3517

Submission to AIGA DEC Surface Conference, Oct 20, 2022. https://educators.aiga.org/2022-dec-mini-conference-surface/

Open licenses, libre software, and the public domain in the classroom.

Cultural production has always been about remixing. We take inspiration from the world around us, and build on the work of others to create something new. In the digital age, this process has become even easier, with an ever-growing pool of available images, fonts, tools, and other resources.

As the field of graphic design has evolved, so too has the way we think about copyright and intellectual property. With the rise of the internet and social media, it's easier than ever to share our work with the world, easier to see and gather and reference creative inspiration from anywhere, and… even easier to infringe on the copyrights of others.

That's why it's important to understand the role that open licenses, libre software, and the public domain can play in contemporary graphic design — in the field and in the classroom. By utilizing and creating open, public resources, we can build a new design commons for everyone. This has cultural and educational upsides.

Open licenses, such as Creative Commons, allow us to share our work with others while still protecting our copyright. Libre software, such as Inkscape or Blender, is free to use and modify, making it a great option for collaborative projects. And the public domain provides a wealth of resources that we can use without fear of infringing on someone else's copyright or violating EULAs.

As educators, our role is the creation, cultivation, dissemination, and — sometimes — the protection of new ideas. Better utilizing free, open licenses and tools allows for a larger space where we can learn from each other and build upon the works of those who have come before us, and work alongside us.

FEEDBACK FROM REVIEWERS

Feedback from Reviewer 01: Highly relevant topic with clear connection to the design classroom. Reference to some of the key players and ideology of the history of alternate copyright would have beefed up the abstract. However, this is a rich topic perfect for a short paper.

Feedback from Reviewer 02: This proposal feels a bit wonky, in that it gets into the weeds with some of the more technical and less exciting elements of being a professional creative person. But it is important work, and I believe would be a popular topic at this conference. Remix culture and the democratization of design and communication tools together make this incredibly topical and relevant. This presentation feels like a manifesto or call-to-action, and I support it.

Feedback from Reviewer 03: I would suggest making the point of the paper a little clearer. I am confused if you mean to teach us about those commons we have access to now or talk about the benefits of those tools. It might also be a little of both. Overall, it sounds interesting and definitely of use to the design community with just a bit of clarification.

TECH SPECS AND PRESENTATION DETAILS

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Updated abstract:

A New Design Commons.

Open licenses, libre software, and the public domain in the classroom.

Cultural production has always been about remixing — or, as Kirby Fergesun says: Everything is a Remix. We take inspiration from the world around us, and build on the work of others, creating something new. In our digital age, this process is ever easier, with an constantly growing pool of available images, fonts, tools, and other resources to recombine. It is also ever easier to infringe on the copyrights of others. Modern copyright and software licenses act as the newest form of enclosure, making it impossible to create creative works remixed from the old.

That's why it's important to understand the role that open licenses, libre software, and the public domain can play in contemporary design — in the field and in the classroom. Through utilizing and creating open, public resources, we can build a new design commons for everyone. This has cultural and educational upsides.

Open licenses, such as Creative Commons, allow us to share our work with others while still protecting our copyright. Libre software, such as Inkscape or Blender, is free to use and modify, making it a great option for collaborative projects. Open fonts allow for more and more representation of languages and writing systems. And the public domain provides a wealth of resources that we can use without fear of infringing on someone else's copyright or violating EULAs.

As educators, our role is the creation, cultivation, dissemination, and — sometimes — the protection of new ideas. Better utilizing free, open licenses and tools allows for a larger space where we can learn from each other and build upon the works of those who have come before us, and work alongside us.

Things to reference?

2022-08-17 Revisions! >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

So, Adobe a >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

A New Design Commons? Better Title? Make it more of a manifesto or call-to-action? A script for a lecture… do it sort of pecha kucha style? Remix a lot of video/images/texts somehow as the background visuals?

Do you know how to hook a room full of design educators into what you’re presenting? Quote Ellen Lupton…

In 2006 Ellen Lupton presented a talk at aTypi called Univers Strikes Back. The conclusion of this lecture was summed up in her Free Font Manifesto: What if every … (copy over text, maybe just use her image as the slide here?)

Dave Crossland read Dr. Luptons FF manifesto …

Dave crossland is now in charge of google fonts …

Google Fonts is PAYING type designers to make excellent fully featured, open source fonts that push technological boundaries and try to handle as many languages as is possible…

In Univers Strikes Back Dr. Lupton says about her book, thinking with type:

My book was never intended for experts. It is a book for everyone, because I believe that everyone on earth needs typography and can benefit from working with letterforms at the highest level.

If we expand this out, my goal is to reframe this idea in terms of design more generally. That everyone on earth needs design and would benefit from working with design tools at the highest level…

Now, onto the show.

Reference to some of the key players and ideology of the history of alternate copyright Remix culture and the democratization of design and communication tools together make this incredibly topical and relevant. This presentation feels like a manifesto or call-to-action >>>>

I come to you today with a prompt. That together we build a new collective design commons — tools, images, typography, and “recipes” — that we all share for creating better future possibles.

If the goal of academia is knowledge CREATION and DISSEMINATION, then perpetuating the “norm” of proprietary software and unusable, strictly copyrighted materials doesn’t really do this?

A more equitable and sustainable tomorrow requires sharing and remixing today…

The vernacular

Copy. Students often copy things to learn how to do them We copy style and aesthetics and solutions all the time When and why and how does it get a bad wrap? Why have we made it so hard to copy things?

I propose unlimited copying, but with reference.

Vernacular design was about common things by common people…

The trend in software as a service and proprietary, locked tools is another form of “land enclosure” - or that which killed off the physical commons…

Lawrence Lessig Richard Stallman Linus Torvald Loraine Furtner & Eric Schrijver Garth Braithewaite ???

A New Design Commons?

Do you know how to hook a room full of design educators? Quote Ellen Lupton…

In 2006 Ellen Lupton presented a talk at aTypi called _Univers Strikes Back_. In this talk, Dr. Lupton says about her book, thinking with type:

My book was never intended for experts. It is a book for everyone, because I believe that everyone on earth needs typography and can benefit from working with letterforms at the highest level.

If we expand this out, my goal is to reframe Ellen's message in terms of design more generally. That everyone on earth needs design and would benefit from working with design tools at the highest level…

If we as educators wish to create new knowledge; to actually teach the next generation(s) of designers, and to spread and disseminate our craft so as to make a difference, well, we need to embrace open, shareable framework(s) for design.

This work and thinking is _in progress_, rather than _finished_ research or designs… And maybe this is good: trying to figure out what exactly you're doing and designing is often more interesting than critiquing a design once completed...

Now, onto the show.

This talk is nothing new, it is a remix of all manner of other's writing and ideas and lectures — including my own.

Software as a service models — while perhaps "convenient" — are a form of intellectual enclosure. Models like Adobe Creative cloud deprive us our rights of access and privilege. This is the equivalent of running barged wire across the Great Plains. We've created an annoying block for our future access to the resources and tools of our discipline.

"The commons is the cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society, managed for collective benefit…" — this is a riff on Wikipedia's definition ...

If we are in the business of cultural production, of knowledge creation, and of passing on better possible futures, then we have to be thinking about "the commons" as design educators.

The commons is a term that is used to describe a shared resource that is available for everyone to use. Contemporaneously, the term is often used in the context of open source software or creative works, like those that are released under a Creative Commons license. The idea behind the commons is that when we all have access to and can use these resources, we can create something greater than what any one of us could create on our own. This is how cultural production has historically worked — so why not return to this?

One of the first and very technical typesetting tools for the world of computers was Donald Knuth's TeX and the accompanying Metafont. If you are in the practice of typesetting scientific documents or graduate thesis, TeX — or more likely its progeny, LaTex or ConTeXt … This has had legs, not because of force buy in, but because of technical superiority AND open-ness…

This is a fabulous typographic tool — why did no designer ever show this to me? Why did my college room mate that went on to become a biologist have to tell me about it? Why did I learn about Donald Knuth too late! I mean, this guy dreamed up variable fonts in the 80s…

Adobe and their subscription service are the latest kind of "enclosure" on the commons

The vernacular, common design by common people, of and for and from the commons.

Can we design this way anymore? I mean, trends still exist — but following a trend isn't the same as building upon the commons. (Why? And why not?)

Vernacular design, often this is

Dunne and Raby, critical design…

If we are critical of the status quo, if we are trying to create alternatives, well then we need alternative tools, alternative visual references, and alternative ways to share with and learn from each other.

The pursuit of uniqueness is devalued; dynamicism and flexibility are more important than originality, because originality itself is unattainable. … “Normcore is about adaptability, not exclusivity.”
— 3.2 Normcore as Brand Strategy, https://libbymarrs.net/post-authentic-sincerity/
graphic design being codified and converted into algorithms
ABANDON YOUR PURSUIT OF AUTHENTICITY! Normalize copying... ...but only copy from the top. anticipate the theft of your intellectual property and time, so practice your own time theft and bootlegging. Conserve your energy by letting go of originality... *** > a commercial system bent on turning the free range intellectual culture that gave birth to computer science into a rude agglomeration of proprietary gated communities > — Free as in Freedom (v2.0); preface by sam Williams; pg vii > The notice was simple, something along the lines of \The printer is jammed, please fix it," and because it went out to the people with the most pressing need to fix the problem, chances were that one of them would fix it forthwith. > — FAIF, pg3 ¶2 L10 > A program would develop the way a city develops," says Stallman, recalling the software infrastructure of the AI Lab. \Parts would get replaced and rebuilt. New things would get added on. But you could always look at a certain part and say, Hmm, by the style, I see this part was written back in the early 60s and this part was written in the mid-1970s.'" > — FAIF, Pg5 ¶3 If something is good enough to solve your problems, is it not good enough to solve someone else's problems too??? > Why not share it out of a simple desire for good karma? This system of cooperation was being undermined by commercial secrecy and greed, leading to peculiar combinations of secrecy and co-operation. > Stallman later explained, \If he had refused me his cooperation for personal reasons, it would not have raised any larger issue. I might have considered him a jerk, but no more. The fact that his refusal was impersonal, that he had promised in advance to be uncooperative, not just to me but to anyone whatsoever, made this a larger issue." > — FAIF Pg9 > Eben Moglen, Columbia University law professor and Free Software Foundation general counsel. But it works. And it works because of Richard's philosophy of design." > — FAIF pg 184 ¶2, last lines... *** Ostrom's Law: A resource arrangement that works in practice can work in theory. *** I wrote this essay in SimpleNote & Google Docs — neither of these tools are really open, Google docs is based on Etherpad, which is open... Simplenote's apps themselves are open source, but the underlying codebase isn't exactly... however, I have CCed this content > Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/ *** What if we re-conceive the archive as a point of origin, as a birthplace for new works and a rebirthing venue for old works? - Rick pelinger *** Autoprogettazione? What other open source-y, commons-y stuff can I talk about, reference, visualize?!? *** Devon Calvin Tanvi Eli Heuer Crossland Braithwaite Eric Who else can I reach out to? Not more white guys!? Yana? Amanda? Karen Shea Rick Prelinger? Cooper Hewitt Typeface Guy? Mary otsuka? *** Colonialism, software, etc.? Adobe is equivalent to enclosure of the commons? Ala Linebaugh >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Things to think about: A lot of people are interested in the canon of white male dominated design culture, for the sake of the argument they just refer to this as the canon of design culture, but we all know what that has come to mean. Here open source design philosophically has a similar issue with what we may refer to as the capitalistic aesthetic, the term may need work, the concept here is that because sole institutions have deemed what looks good. Mr Keedy talked about how international style was becoming global style and how post authentic sincerity, a web essay I will send you, showed that norm core design has continued that trend, but that’s because things that are deemed Libre culture is not sexy or sleek. A New Design Commons The commons is a realm of resources that is open for anyone to use. This includes things like traditional knowledge, folklore, and works that have expired copyrights. A Design Commons is a project that aims to create a shared space for designers to build off each other's work and ideas in a more free, open, accepting environment. As educators, our role is the creation, cultivation, dissemination, and — sometimes — the protection of new ideas. Better utilizing free, open licenses and tools allows for a larger space where we can learn from each other and build upon the works of those who have come before us, and our contemporaries. This approach also increases access to people in need or people in novel contexts that traditional design systems may not be considering. it's about rethinking the entire design process from start to finish. We are freeing ourselves AND our ideas from the shackles of capitalism and opening up other possibilities. We are in a remix culture. Cultural creation is always a remix; lets embrace this. The beauty of most of the open licenses is that they aren’t about giving up copyright or ownership, they are about linking people together, linking ideas together. When we design using FLOSPD imagery and tools, we are making a statement that we are no longer willing to be limited by what the commercial software companies tell us is possible. We are saying that we can create our own designs, on our own — or on the planet's — terms. Sustainable graphic design brings with it lots of new technologies, new social structures, and new tools. The more these ideas, structures, and tools are shareable and remixable, the more that all life will benefit. So what does this all mean for the future of design? I believe that we are on the cusp of a new era of creativity, one in which FLOS tools and works will play a major role. This is the beginning of a new Design Commons, one that is based on collaboration, sharing, and sustainability. This requires we learn more about licensing, new tools and file formats, and adopt new ideas around the ownership of ideas. Academia is good place to incubate and protect this new direction. We are also contributing to the public domain — making it richer and more diverse for everyone. Another form of regenerative designing. Designers who understand and embrace Free/Libre Open Source (F/LOS) can create more meaningful work, freed from the shackles of capitalist design. We will explore what F/LOS is and how graphic designers can use it to their advantage. We will also discuss the ideological underpinnings of F/LOS and how they can benefit both the individual designer and society as a whole. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> A New Design Commons. Open licenses, libre software, and the public domain in the classroom. Open Source culture > solving ideas faster Promotes designer as author Educators. Classroom. Open Licenses. Why should we care. What is the benefit to students? What is the benefit to educators? Open source sharing, sharing your content, social good. Distribute the ownership. Image citation as social good. Why image citation is (and isn’t) important to the field of design Open source has helped out the field of computer science and development for decades. This could also help graphic designers, partially by bringing better access to universities and the underserved and underfunded. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Embracing the malleability of digital type, Open Source fonts allow one to open up, modify and appropriate their forms. Open Source fonts also enable new methods of open-ended collaboration. Using platforms like GitHub, fonts can now potentially invite contributions from anyone. Loraine Furter and Eric Schrijver work with MICA Baltimore’s students, remixing and extending Seb Sanfillipo’s Open Source typefaces. Along the way, they invent the protocols: how do we work together? https://furter.github.io/public-domain/ https://www.design-research.be/open-source/ http://fonts.github.io/typographic-collaboration/ https://i.liketightpants.net/and/no-one-starts-from-scratch-type-design-and-the-logic-of-the-fork >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Who am I? What do I do? What do I love about it? What do I hate about it? The three pillars? ME Sector of Cultural Production I am writing about… Something Timely/Something Timeless… The triad of the critic (the author), context (sector of cultural production), subject (who/what s being written about), and object (philosophical lens) are at the heart of convincing criticism > but how to get to fun criticism!!?? Timeless: THE COMMONS Who is the villain? [[Adobe]]? [[Capitalism]]? [[The Global Style]]? Lazy teaching? >>>>>>>>>>> Bibliography: [[A *New* Program for Graphic Design]], by [[David Reinfurt]] [[Copy This Book]], by [[Eric Schrijver]] [[New Modernisms]], by [[Ben Duvall]]

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