Julie Blanc, (Re)composing space

Julie Blanc, (Re)composing space


Julie Blanc

Layout and typesetting with web technologies. Collective instrumental genesis for the development of a community of practice of graphic designers

Over the past decade, graphic designers have been using web technologies for typesetting and layout of printed publications. These approaches, rooted in the culture of free software and open-source, have raised conceptual, political, and aesthetic issues for graphic design. This research aims to understand the impact of code on graphic designers’ practices and how this technical change contributes to the construction and development of a community of practice.

The study adopts an anthropocentric understanding of technique, using cultural-historical theory of activity and the instrumental approach to investigate the composition activity and it sdevelopment, as well as the associated socio-technical system changes. Moreover, in a research perspective carried by practice, we mobilize our own experience of graphic designer registered within a community of actors leading these transformations.

Through three empirical studies and the collective design of a tool called paged.js, which enables the creation of printed books from web browsers, the study examines the composition activity from multiple perspectives. The results are analyzed in relation to broader questions about the socio-technical transformations brought about by the integration of open source software practices in graphic design. The study argues that the use of web technologies in the graphic design process supports the creative and aesthetic practices of designers, and opens up new opportunities for collective activity, enabling the community to develop its own tools and practices.



Julie Blanc is a graphic designer and student researcher. She is preparing a PhD in ergonomics and design at the Paragraphe laboratory (University of Paris 8 – EA349) and at EnsadLab under the direction of Anne Bationo-Tillon, the co-direction of Samuel Bianchini and the supervision of Lucile Haute.

She also takes part in the collective research of the PrePostPrint group and works on the development of Paged.js, a free and open source JavaScript library to layout printed books from web browsers. Her research work follows her graphic design practice focused on digital and printed editorial objects. She has worked for the Médialab Sciences Po or the Saint Raymond museum. 

site web: https://julie-blanc.fr/



– Blanc, J. & Haute, L. (2018). Technologies de l’édition numérique. Sciences du Design, 8(2), 11-17. doi:10.3917/sdd.008.0011.

– Blanc, J. & Haute, L. (2018). Publier la recherche en design : (hors-)normes, (contre-)formats, (anti-)standards. Réel | Virtuel : enjeux du numérique [en ligne], n° 6, « Les normes du numériques », 2018.

– Blanc, J. Si Jan Tschichold avait connu les feuilles de style en cascade : plaidoyer pour une mise en page comme programme



Research directors: Anne Bationo-Tillon (université Paris 8 ), Samuel Bianchini (Ensad)

Attached laboratory and doctoral school: EA349 Paragraphe, ED 224 Cognition, Langage, Interaction