Innovatin' over copy-pastin'

An ideal outcome would be to have everyone acting creatively and autonomously, with individuals finding their own way through the education system and doing work that fits with their niche. Second to that, there is a need to look at transdisciplinarity and multidisciplinarity as people form their own practice or work together.

There are instances where it makes sense adhere to the unambiguous principals of modernism. Assembly lines, unified corporate branding systems, or when giving software a single purpose are examples. Modernisms defined disciplines worked to simplify through rationality to offer systems that are easily reproducible, such as following a precedent to rebranding a business through marketing and advertising with statistic based feedback.

The shift into postmodernism and metamoderism conflict with modernism (post-postmodernism), and these social paradigms have much to offer. The more complex challenges of our society do not demand the answers of the past though, but new formations and ideas that are unprecedented. This obviously relates to emerging social, economic and climate problems, but also to pushing forward cultural achievements.

Rather than traditional literature conventions, new possibilities are available to be taken advantage of. The old guard continue to work with a word processor, editor, typographer and designer, publisher, offset printer, and finally marketing and distribution. Amazon and online distribution has been the most significant change which has occurred in marketing and distribution, yet the other areas remain the same. The tools available at each of these stages have changed significantly with limited innovation taking place. Just doing the same shit with new tools.

InDesign and more advanced writing tools are available not only to typographers and designers but additionally to authors, while only a few take advantage of this (Danielewski, and Safran Foer among them). Editors roles change when these new forms emerge to contributing to decisions that effect not only prose but also layout and design. The role of the typographer and designers changes as they need to work more closely with printers when creating more complex work, which is particularly crucial if they intend to continue to work with the changes in the market place because of the kindle and more accessible design tools. And laser and inkjet digital printing are used for coffee table books or limited run publications but rarely for literature.

If we take this simplified look at this process, there are two key players to consider in changing the industry. Consumers, who seem to be more accepting of alternative forms of literature in different cultures, such as the popularity of manga within mainstream Japanese culture, and the acceptance of comic books and graphic novels, particularly in America. While the authors are also responsible for making the demands of their publishers, as well as of themselves.

Authors who have had mainstream and commercial success in numerous areas include Neil Gaiman who has worked as a novelist and comic book author as well as in other forms; Safran Foer who has explored literature, non-fiction, and experimental work; and Chip Kidd who has written non-fiction, fiction, and a graphic novel, while primarily working as a book cover designer.

The possibility for innovation is massive, but the grammar created by precedents does not yet exist. In the areas of traditional literature, photography, film, painting, music, or graphic design, there is a history to draw on when creating. The scope of this may be exemplified by the dictionary to the writer, or the number of photos on Instagram alone without needing to consider anywhere else, offer masses of examples. While for innovative practices or new forms, the grammar available is limited to disparate, uncollated, limited, and only vaguely related work and technology. This is a challenge that has been overcome innumerable times in history, and the challenge should be recognised as the normal way of doing things, rather than the copy-paste process of creation that is so common today.