Gordon Goff, publisher and managing director of ORO Group, grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area.
He created the ORO Group in 2003, which has developed imprints ORO Editions, and more recently Applied Research + Design Publishing and GOFF BOOKS.
A recent 10-day tour by Goff in Australia will include meetings with the nation's leading architects in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, as well as a seminar on publishing hosted by the Australian Institute of Architects (Queensland Chapter).
Architecture & Design spoke to him about why it’s important for architects to be published, common mistakes in the pursuit of publishing and how designers can ensure they get their work out there.
Why do you think architects should be interested in being published?
The opportunity to publish a book, documenting the work of a firm and/or individual architect is a unique and career defining event. There are numerous reasons that this is a significant opportunity both personally and professionally, as well as a critical tool in the increasingly global market for an architectural firm’s business development program.
From an international perspective, a published book is an absolute must for establishing relevance and documenting a body of work for architects. This is a far more provocative and influential platform than websites and firm collateral which do not have the gravitas that a book carries.
In todays’ world, a book represents a commitment to the practice and demonstrates a level of serious endeavor that cannot be expressed in any other medium.
Do you think designers should be doing this themselves or seeking publishing in established media outlets?
We work very closely with designers in both small and large global practices around the world. Each one has a different approach and every book we produce is unique and personal. It only really makes sense to work with an established publisher who understands the intricacies of the design, print production and manufacturing process that has global distribution and a well entrenched marketing program.
What do you think prevents designers from pursuing being published?
Access to quality publishers
Limited marketing budgets
Insufficient documentation of built projects and poor quality photography
Lack of commitment to a design process and thought leadership agenda upon which to build a global outreach
What common mistakes do designers make in the pursuit of being published?
They work with firms with no distribution and they attempt to do everything in-house and fall short of the quality level that can be achieved by working with a good publisher/printer. They also fail to see the bigger picture in so much as to how a well edited and produced book can project their practice onto the world stage.
How much time do you think designers need to dedicate to build their presence in the media?
This is an ongoing process and should represent a meaningful and valued portion of dedicated time commitment for any office that is focused on building its standing in the market both domestically and internationally. Quantifying it may be difficult for certain practices that do not have a dedicated business development manager, but without this effort it may become increasingly difficult to sustain a practice over an extended period.
What advice would you give to designers who wish to be published in media outlets?
As a publisher, we are focused on this area with a specific dedication to working with designers to get the word out about their work, writings and thought leadership. We believe that this is a critical, if not essential, platform upon which to build a global awareness and invite the international community to see, on an intimate scale, what a particular designer and or group of designers are capable of within a specific marketplace.