In our latest post, senior Creative Writing major Jeremy Flick comments on the potential intersections between the world of writing and the publishing industry. Below, Jeremy discusses his ambitions to write, design, and print as well as how Ball State’s Digital Publishing minor is helping him bridge the gap between these interests. Continue reading to see what the Digital Publishing minor has to offer and how it can help English majors interested in a career related to publishing and print production.
In today’s publishing world, agents – or any number of “middle-men” – mediate the relationship between writers and publishers and the understanding of printing concepts is a place where most writers are void in knowledge. The writers write and the publishers publish. As a writer myself, I have always been interested in publishing, but I really wanted to answer one question: How do they design books? A Digital Publishing minor with a Creative Writing major effectively bridges the gap between the writer and the publisher.
Digital Publishing offers an interesting look at what it takes to design and produce publications. Learning the history of printing, the types of printing, and understanding what it takes to get the product from the computer to the page is a key aspect of the minor.
While “Digital Publishing” may sound computer-exclusive in nature, the minor is based around the design through digital means and the print output. The six classes required for the Digital Publishing minor include:
TGRA 180 – Introduction to Graphic Arts
TGRA 180 introduces the student to the history and basic concepts of the printing and design world. Students discuss the different types of printing, what they are used for, and how they work. Why is this important for a writer to know? Just as the “classics” are read throughout schooling, it is important to know the background and inner workings of what produces the things writers create: books.
TGRA 184 – Computer Applications in Graphic Arts
TGRA 184 is a heavily design-based class. It focuses on the use of programs such as Adobe’s Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. In this course, the student learns about design elements, the history of photo manipulation and design, and important differences between types of images and how they are produced. Why is this important for a writer to know? Knowledge of these programs makes a writer more marketable and valuable in the job market as a writer and as an editor.
TGRA 282 – Digital Imaging 1 & TGRA 382 – Digital Imaging 2
TGRA 282 and 382 work with Photoshop, InDesign, and Acrobat more in-depth than TGRA 184. These courses give the student practical uses of the programs they cover. Designing different types of publications, such as books and pamphlets, and editing photos for publication are main concentrations. Why is this important for writers to know? This is exactly what brings a writer to understand publication and everything that entails creating things that are ready for publication.
TGRA 286 – Digital Photography 1 & TGRA 387 – Digital Photography 2
TGRA 286 and 387 are photography classes that teach techniques and design elements of photography. Students learn what makes a good photograph and use Photoshop skills they have learned throughout their classes to edit their photographs. Why is this important for writers to know? Writing produces visuals, and photographs are visual representations. Learning how to sculpt a scene in writing is, in many ways, like taking a compelling photograph.
I urge English majors to look into the Digital Publishing minor if they are interested in any type of writing or publication job. The Digital Publishing minor serves as a great companion to the Creative Writing major and provides a useful skill set. I took the minor as a creative writer looking for experience in publishing – to learn more about design and the way publications are produced. I am also interested in editing, and these skills are priceless in that vocation. When producing and editing a publication, proficiency in Photoshop, Illustrator, and especially InDesign is a necessity, and the Digital Publishing provides that.