For its foray into e-book publishing, Public Radio International chose “Teacher Redesign,” in which a New York design firm created a branding campaign on behalf of the nation’s educators, and adapted it for Apple’s iPad.
The iBook features 32 pages of content adapted from the Studio 360 episode, produced as part of its ongoing series on graphic design and cultural symbolism. With its strong visual elements, the program was naturally suited for the iPad, according to Peter Edstrom, a project manager for PRI. “Our core content is audio, but we’re continuing to experiment with different ways to get PRI content out to people.”
The electronic book is free for download on Apple’s iBookstore. It features slideshows, photos that can be manipulated, diagrams, embedded videos and text.
The idea behind the Studio 360 episode, which aired in January, was to update the image of teachers. Instead of traditional symbols associated with educators — apples, ABCs and school bells — the design firm Hyperakt took a thematic approach, building on the tagline “Teachers connect the dots.” Key images include the word “Teach” written as dots and lines, a round molecular structure of dots and lines, and interconnected points on a map of the continents.
The book details how these designs can be applied to a wide range of products and messages – teacher recruitment campaigns, posters, bathroom signage, T-shirts, even temporary tattoos.
The book “walks you through the process of how anything, really, becomes designed,” said Julia Yager, PRI’s v.p. of marketing. It includes images of the design process from early sketches to finished product. “You can’t convey that as well on radio, but it’s beautiful in the book.”
PRI’s interactive team produced the book after three weeks of “rolling experimentation,” Edstrom said. It was officially released in the iBookstore Feb. 13, but PRI delayed its official unveiling until March 14. — Rhys Heyden