One of the themes running through Design Life Now is the opening up of media to everyday citizens. There’s been an explosion of “social media”—Web sites that allow people to build communities and talk with each other on-line. (Blogs like this are one example.)

This communications revolution is affecting print as well digital media. Fueled by the possibility of on-line distribution, more and more authors are taking the plunge and publishing their own books. Self-publishing used to be denigrated as “vanity press,” but a new generation would rather call it “independent.” Self-published books are ready to take their place alongside indie music, film, theater, and more.

On January 11, the museum is running a program on “Indie Publishing.” The event is hosted by myself and Nicholas Blechman, the Triennial-featured designer who created Empire, the acclaimed visual anthology in which some of the world’s most influential graphic artists and writers express collective outrage against the current state of international affairs.

Nicholas and I will talk about how to start building your own publishing “empire,” one page at a time. From making a homemade zine to hand out to your friends to producing a hardcover book that you can sell on line, ordinary citizens can take a shot at publishing using commonly available resources.

The event is pretty much booked to capacity at this point, but we’ll follow up here with links to tools and resources, and an assessment of how the evening went.

In the meantime, we’d love to hear from you about publishing. We’re at a moment in time when authors want to try their hand at graphic design. (Warning: there’s a learning curve.) Yet the opportunity is there for designers, too: more and more of us want to become authors, so the new media economy can work for us, too! Is indie publishing a threat to professional standards, or a chance hear from new voices?

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