Celeste Martin is the Dean of the Ian Gillespie Faculty of Design and Dynamic Media, and previously an Associate Professor, at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. She has an MFA in Design from the University of Iowa. Her background is in communication design and she specializes in typography and publication design. Her creative work examines the forms of written language and the spaces and manifestations of typographic texts.

She has led numerous research initiatives on the re-conceptualization of book and text forms in emerging digital materialities, in collaboration with local industries and start-ups in the field, investigating the way texts function, practically and theoretically, in different mediums and contexts. As a pervasive scenario for communication, screen-based texts challenge traditional principles of publication design as well as the notion of what a book is, its completeness and/or openness, and the role of the readers as users/subjects socially connected. New forms of “book” continue to emerge based on metaphors and interactions that respond to the nature of touch based mobile devices, and they have ranged from highly skeumorphic to radically innovative. Practice-based and reflective, this area of her research formulates the emerging formal structures of ebook and book apps and their interaction models, and continues to clarify interaction patterns and propose new principles in publication and book design for haptic devices.

Her most recent work has been involved with digital archives, the translation and transaction of manuscripts (particularly those of J. L. Borges) into typographic texts as both research tools in the field of genetic criticism and autonomous aesthetic objects. A fundamental aspect of communication design, translation between semiotic systems is a core element of this work. It involves a deeply focused material exploration in the setting of type in relationship to calligraphy that raises questions on the nature of graphic translation, adaptation and reproduction. She is in the process of completing a series of books on Borges’s manuscripts.

She is co-editor of award-winning Current, Emily Carr University’s design research journal.


Emily Carr University
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