Why We Are Delivering Stories Differently: Authors as Writers, Artists, and Designers


For years, as a writer/artist, I have been curious about the evolution of the book—and, as technology requires us to be more fluent visually, there are more books of text and image published, graphic novels and memoirs, but also hand-made books, works from small and independent presses, and, more recently, in commercial publishing. I often experience these books as microcosms and mirrors of our cultures, and I see them as blurring the boundary and/or further linking the relationship between art and design. Some are telling us stories in new ways, and, I believe, are also a response to our need for them to be delivered to us differently. About her book Radioactive, writer, artist, designer, Lauren Redniss says she “designed everything: front cover, back cover, spine, endpages, all the pages in between. It was important to me that the design of Radioactive be as carefully considered as the written narrative and the artwork—to echo the story’s themes and to layer the book with meaning.” In my presentation, I’ll draw on work by Redniss, Jona Frank, Marian Bantjes, Maira Kaman, Christian Marclay/Steve Beresford, Siglio Press and others. I suggest that as technology makes us more visually aware and dependent, the joining of art and design in book-making offers us new ways of engaging stories relationally and (a) helps us integrate the reality of our multi-faceted, multi-layered lives and (b) gives us moments of tangible relief from the ongoing, unrelenting intangibility (and the insecurity it evokes) within our everyday experience.


Cindy Shearer
Department Chair and Program Chair, Interdisciplinary Arts and Integral Transpersonal Psychology, California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), California, United States


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Designed Objects


Art, Design, Text/Image, Narrative Arts, Interdisciplinary Arts

Digital Media


Why We are Delivering Stories Differently (pptx)