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Designers & Books Festival: Onstage and Offstage

November 12, 2016 at 11:00 am - 6:00 pm

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Programs are free and seats are available on a first-come, first-serve basis; reserve a seat for $10; clicking on the program title will take you to to the ticket order form on EventBrite (see below). Entrance to the Festival bookstand is free.

The onstage host for the day is Steven Heller, co-founder and co-chair, the School of Visual Arts Design/Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, and author or editor of more than 170 books. McNally Jackson is the official event bookseller.

“Onstage” refers to the formal programming (four panel discussions, described below). “Offstage” is an informal seating area near the McNally Jackson shop that offers an opportunity for people to meet and engage in conversations about design, authorship, and publishing —with books as the catalyst. At the conclusion of each “onstage” program, the moderators and panelists will gather with audience members to chat and answer questions not covered in the Q&A sessions.

McNally Jackson (managed by Carly Dashiell) will be operating a bookstand located in the lower rear lobby space of the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre offering a wide range of design titles. It is open throughout the day, from 10:30 am to 7 pm. Eventbrite (reserved) ticket holders are eligible to receive a 20 percent off coupon redeemable at the McNally Jackson store after the festival.

11 am: Opening introductions and panel—PRESERVATION
Exploring the World of Design Archives as Creative Inspiration
Archives hold materials that show process and also end result—and in this way are critical spaces for knowledge building and creative inspiration. This panel will discuss those important functions as well as what designers should know about preserving their materials.

  •  Moderator: David Senior: Senior bibliographer at the Museum of Modern Art Library
  • Peter Koepke: Owner/director of the Design Library; author of Patterns: Inside the Design Library
  • Lauren Miller Walsh: Art and design archivist, bibliographic expert, and manager, Glenn Horowitz Bookseller
  • Tamsen Young: Museum Digital Media and Strategic Initiatives Manager, The Museum at FIT
  • Alexander Tochilovsky: Associate professor, the Cooper Union; curator, Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography

1–2:30 pm: Panel—CELEBRATION
W.A. Dwiggins, A Life in Design — A Sneak Preview
The author and publisher discuss the forthcoming biography of the man who coined the term “graphic designer.” The book encompasses 1,200 illustrations; 480 pages; 40 years of collecting; 13 years of research.

  •  Moderator, Steven Heller: Co-founder and co-chair, the School of Visual Arts Design/Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program
  • Participants Rob Saunders: Founder of Letterform Archive and publisher of W.A. Dwiggins, A Life in Design
  • Bruce Kennett: Designer, photographer, and author of W.A. Dwiggins, A Life in Design

3–4:30 pm: Panel—REINCARNATION
Back From the Dead: The New Popularity of Facsimiles of Out-of-Print Books
Recently there have been several facsimiles of design books from the past that have received major attention; more are on the way. This panel looks at the increasing popularity and importance of facsimile editions of high-profile, out-of-print design books.

  • Moderator, Julie Lasky: Design journalist, editor, and critic
  • Paul Wagner: Design director at Princeton Architectural Press
  • Steven Heller: Co-founder and co-chair, the School of Visual Arts Design/Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program
  • Jeffrey Ladd: A founder of Errata Editions
  • Esther K. Smith: Artistic director of Purgatory Pie Press; author, book designer

5–6:30 pm: Panel—REINVENTION
The Next Generation: The New Designers Who Are Creating & Publishing Books
This program will explore the increasingly important trend of designers being involved in and actively taking control of the design-book publication process.

  • Moderator, Molly Heintz: Chair of the graduate program in Design Research, Writing & Criticism at the School of Visual Arts
  • Kyle May: Architect, Editor in Chief of CLOG
  • Adam Michaels: Co-founder of Project Projects and founder of Inventory Press
  • Jason Long: Partner at OMA/AMO
  • Brad Smith: Founder and CEO of Wayward Wild


Katie Murphy Amphitheatre
Pomerantz Art and Design Center, Fashion Institute of Technology
New York City, NY United States


Designers & Books
212 777.9080