Femke Snelting on Open Source Publishing, Interview by Matthew Fuller
MF: How does the use of this software change the way you work, do you see some possibilities for new ways of doing graphic design opening up?
FS: For many reasons, software has become much more present in our work; at any moment in the workflow it makes itself heard. As a result we feel a bit less sure of ourselves, and we have certainly become slower. We decided to make the whole process into some kind of design/life experiment and that is one way to keep figuring out how to convert a file, or yet another discussion with a printer about which ’standard’ to use, interesting for ourselves. Performing our practice is as much part of the project as the actual books, posters, flyers etc. we produce.
One way a shift of tools can open up new ways of doing graphic design, is because it makes you immediately aware of the ‘resistance’ of digital material. At the point we can’t make things work, we start to consider formats, standards and other limitations as ingredients for creative work. We are quite excited for example about exploring dynamic design for print in SVG, a by-product of our battle with converting files from Scalable Vector Format into Portable Document Format.
Free Software allows you to engage on many levels with the technologies and processes around graphic design. When you work through it’s various interfaces, stringing tools together, circumventing bugs and/or gaps in your own knowledge, you understand there is more to be done than contributing code in c++. It is an invitation to question assumptions of utility, standards and usability. This is exactly the stuff design is made of.
Available on Fuller’s SPC Profile. Seems like issues of decentralization and hierarchy are not an issue for Snelting at all. Keeping design frameworks and tools open rather allow designers to discover new facets of their practices and new properties of the materials they use. These modified areas of practices project to destabilize other forms of work division in changing the relations maintained by other kinds of professionals and users.
More information at Open Source Publishing’s website.