MSUM’s Department of Art & Design is offering a new spring course, ART 390, The Art of Online Publishing, which meets Tuesday and Thursday from 1 to 4 p.m. March 8-May 3, 2011. This course reflects the growing popularity of online self-publishing websites, giving print novices and experts alike the opportunity to design and publish their own books.

Assistant Professor of Art Alison Hahn will guide students through the world of online publishing opportunities and teach students how to create a book by using the online publishing website Blurb, www.blurb.com. The course combines digital photography, visual design and the book arts through the coordination of text, color, digital images and layout in an individually inspired book project.

“Whether taking it for professional or personal reasons, ‘The Art of Online Publishing’ will be an enlightening and productive course that introduces class participants to popular print-on-demand books in the context of the visual arts,” Hahn said.

The course is designed for both artists, non-artists and community members who are interested in creating a family memoir, organizing photographs from a trip abroad, creating a book of romantic interest, or wanting to learn about the process of online book-making. At the end of this 8-week course, each participant will have created a project that means something to them, and has the basics of good visual design and thought.

Benefits of using Blurb include creating a self-published, professionally bound book that is essentially a portfolio.

“Many artists use Blurb to showcase their personal artwork, especially a large collection of work that covers the same theme, or they use a Blurb book to give an overall feeling of their style as an artist—in other words, a portfolio. If a sculpture, photographer or a ceramicist has digital documentation of their work, they can put their work into a book,” Hahn said.

Another opportunity available through producing a Blurb book is the potential for future books sales. All books designed through Blurb are kept in an online database that other users can search and purchase books through. For example, if someone is interested in children’s books, they can search the “Children’s Books” link.  If they are interested in your book, they are able to purchase it immediately.

There is no required text or materials for the 8-week course, other than a 2GB flash drive to transport book and image files to and from class. Participants are encouraged to have their own desktop or laptop computer with Internet access and a way to digitally process images, such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, Picasa, or PaintShop Pro.  Questions about the class can be directed to Hahn at alison.hahn@mnstate.edu.

Current MSUM students may register online; community members and new students may contact MSUM Continuing Studies for help with registration at contstdy@mnstate.edu.