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Spring 2014: About the Catalog Cover Designed by Simon Johnston

Simon Johnston explains his design for our Spring 2014 course catalog: “The focus of the cover design is Education itself. Knowledge and the acquisition of knowledge is at the heart of the Extension class program and my design concept is based around creating a kind of stream of consciousness poem based on phrases and terminology from the courses offered. The intention is to surprise and jar the mind of the reader, and pull their thoughts in as many different directions as possible to suggest the depth and breadth of subjects available.

With research and specialized knowledge at the core of the list, terminology is taken from deep within a subject, but also adding humor and friction and a sense of the poetic through juxtaposition and the way the terms feed off one another—a sort of intellectual chopped salad. All terms have footnotes to explain the source and then to link the reader to the relevant course and page inside. Lists and footnotes are of course forms of visual/typographic rhetoric associated with intellectual pursuits and learning and are thus a kind of ‘native language’ in this situation. The design is trying to be a linguistic/typographic equivalent of the classic description of surrealism as ‘the chance encounter of an umbrella and a sewing machine on an operating table’. Some of the phrases perform double duty, with footnotes linking the phrase to two sets of relevant courses.”simonjohnstoncover

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