Many academic institutions rely on in-house publishing as a means to promote and advance scholarship and knowledge, but most have remained focused on print as their publishing medium. Manifold is a collaborative, grant-funded project whose goal is to create an open-source, web-based platform that moves scholarly publishing into the digital age.

This work was done at Cast Iron Coding, a web development and design agency.

By taking full advantage of our modern, networked devices, Manifold enables new possibilities for context and conversation that printed books could never achieve. Manifold publishers and authors will be able to share in-progress and draft versions of their texts, collections of resources, and other background materials. Manifold users will be able to read, annotate, bookmark, discuss, and share all of these materials.

When an author creates a new text and doesn’t have cover art, Manifold generates a placeholder pictogram. Conceptually, this icon needed to convey reading, annotating and socializing in a pleasing but immediate way.

Manifold’s visual design uses lively iconography, humanist typography, clear informational hierarchies, and a bright, open color palette. The design creates a welcoming, easy to navigate environment that encourages exploration and participation.

For the back end view, the idea was to switch to a Pro mode, with a tighter grid to focus on the higher information density.