I will be presenting on "Digital Design with William Morris" on the William Morris Society's "Teaching Morris" panel at the Modern Language Association Convention in Austin, Texas in 2016. This paper addresses the vital role of William Morris’s aesthetic practices in the students’ engagement with visual art and technology in my Victorian Technology and Art course at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Victorian Technology and Art is a WOVEN (Written, Oral, Visual, Electronic, and Nonverbal) writing and literature course in which students learn to formulate complex arguments across a range of modes and media. After reading Imogen Hart’s “The Designs of William Morris” from The Cambridge Companion to the Pre-Raphaelites and Elizabeth Miller’s introduction to Slow Print, members of the class worked in groups to complete an in-class exercise called, “Illustrating with Morris.” Using digital images of Morris’s designs for wallpaper and typography, the students created a decorated version of 10-20 lines of Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market” or Alfred Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shalott,” which we had previously read. The students used Word or Google Documents to combine text and images, and then introduced the class to the rationales behind their design choices. Following this exercise, the students completed strong writing assignments drawing fine distinctions between the statements on art in Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray and Morris’s aesthetics.
This presentation will also consider Morris’s influence on students’ “Digital Dorian: Fin de Siècle E-Books,” interactive, annotated e-books. Working in groups, the students will create e-books consisting of a cover and at least two pages of Dorian Gray for a tablet or computer. The design will extend to all elements of the e-book, including its typography, and will draw on such examples as Morris, the Arts and Crafts Movement, and The Yellow Book. The students will accompany their e-books with 500-word rationales addressing their stylistic decisions.