Web to Print

New challenges in multichannel publishing. Using Web languages to layout and distribute digital and printed content.

Several major technological changes over the last fifty years have redefined the role and place of graphic designers: Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) and the emergence of UX Design (1970s), Computer Aided Design and Publishing software (CAD and DTP, 1980s), social media (2000s), templates, guidelines (visual templates) for app stores (late 2000s), web prototyping software (2010s), machine learning (Adobe Sensei, 2016; Runway ML, 2019), image banks and portfolios (Deviant Art, 2000, Flickr, 2004, Behance, 2005). 

Among these developments, those related to the layout and management of printable documents deserve particular attention. The hegemony of Adobe publisher is leading to standardisation of practices since everyone uses the same software. This also raises ethical issues linked to the commercial conditions of proprietary licences. More fundamentally, it is the mental model of DTP software that needs to be questioned since the evolution of reading habits means that the distinction between reading on screen and on printed media is tending to disappear.

Faced with this, the emergence of Web to Print in the 2010s marked a departure from traditional DTP software, as this technique allows documents to be designed and printed directly from a web browser using the standards of HTML (semantic mark-up of content) and CSS (style sheets). This new design paradigm forces us to think of page layout based on code and flow logic and no longer (only) on blocks and pages. The advantage of Web to Print is that it allows us to think of several reading media together, to offer new possibilities (e.g. generative documents, importing data flows) and to work in an editorial flow that is free of proprietary logic. These are the new approaches that this course aims to address.

Target audience
This course is primarily aimed at people who are already working in the publishing and/or graphic design industry and who wish to strengthen their professional integration in fields related to emerging technologies.

Targeted skills
Knowledge of the history of desktop publishing and understanding the limitations of traditional software.
Ability to understand the challenges of reading on screen.
Knowledge of the basics of HTML and CSS web languages.
Understanding the differences between native print styles (CSS Print) and the use of a polyfill (Paged.js) to extend their possibilities.
Ability to design a printable document from a web browser.
Ability to understand the potential and limits of Web to Print.

No prerequisites.

Teaching methods
Introduction to coding, practical exercises 

Certificate of Continuing Education

2 ECTS credits

Practical information
From March 1, 2024 until March 23, 2024
Language: French
Course format: programme support, workshop and practical exercises
Fee: CHF 1,200/HEAD – Genève alumni CHF 900
Location:  Campus HEAD, Building H, Room H – 4.01, Av. de Châtelaine 7, 1203 Geneva

Information and registration/admission
Contact: fc.head@hesge.ch 
Follow this link to register
General terms and conditions

Module Heads:

Anthony Masure

Anthony Masure is Associate Professor and Head of Research at Geneva University of Art and Design (HEAD – Genève, HES-SO). His work focuses on the social, political and aesthetic implications of digital technologies for design, with a recent focus on the challenges of artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies. He co-founded the research journals Back Office and Réel-Virtuel. He is the author of the essay Design et humanités numériques (ed. B42, 2017). 

Julien Taquet 

After a DEUG in Art Communication Language at the Faculty of Letters, Arts and Humanities at the University of Nice, Julien Taquet obtained a professional degree (BA 3) in “Book professions, specialising in publishing” in Aix-en-Provence. After several years of experience in editorial packaging and public communication, he joined Booksprints as a book designer. There he developed a publishing process for free print, based on web standards. At Coko (Collaborative Knowledge Foundation), he was in charge of user experience and user interface (UI) for Editoria, an open source platform for publishing, before taking charge of the Open Publishing Festival, for which he developed an open source event management platform. He then joined Cabbage Tree Labs, where he worked on Paged.js, a JavaScript library that generates a PDF file for printing from an HTML file or a website. 


Programme & agenda 2023 /8 half-days 

#1 –Friday 1 March 2024 from 2pm to 5:30pm,
Introduction: Presentation of the week’s issues
Lecture: History of desktop publishing (DTP)
Lecture: Overview of Web-to-Print technologies

#2 – Saturday 2 March 2024 from 9am to 12:30pm
Technical input: Basics of HTML and CSS Web technologies
Workshop: Marking up a simple document

#3 – Friday 8 March 2024 from 2pm to 5:30pm
Workshop: Screen layout of a simple document

#4 – Saturday 9 March 2024 from 9am to 12:30pm
Lecture: Reading on screen
Workshop: Adapting the document to different screen resolutions (Web Responsive)

#5 – Friday 15 March 2024 from 2pm to 5:30pm
Workshop: Coding a CSS style sheet for printing (CSS Print) 

#6 – Saturday 16 March 2024 from 9am to 12:30pm
Workshop: Getting started with Paged.js 

#7 – Friday 22 March 2024 from 2pm to 5:30pm
Workshop: Adapting the document with Paged.js

#8 – Saturday 23 March 2024 from 9am to 12:30pm 
Workshop: Exploring the features of Paged.js – columns, facing, footnotes, etc. 
Production of a finished printable document