About TPL

The Publishing Lab is part experimental laboratory, part investigators agency and part amusement park.

At TPL we track down, analyse and write about what semioticians call “multimodal texts”, though we usually refer to them as “hybrid texts”. The word “multimodality” is pretty neat, actually, but we fear it breaches one of the primary rules of language use: not scaring people away. To us an hybrid text is the one that in order to communicate its message uses more than one semiotic mode (writing, images, graphic devices, animation, textures… that one you’re thinking about right now too) and treat them not as supplementary but as integral pieces of the narrative.

We think that all narratives do their bit to create a particular social order and that all storytellers are cultural mediators. We also think that in our times we are in need of storytellers and stories that don’t want to give us an anesthetic or to indoctrinate us in some way, but rather want us to work hard. Stories and storytellers that are demanding, and require that we have a reading attitude that is active and thoughtful. We believe that 21st century narratives must both demand and create savage readers, not tame readers. We think this makes good training for being able to read all social narratives, and the real world, with a critical stance. We don’t think textual hybridization is the only way to do this, but we think it is a good way to do it. In the hands of a designer, writer or editor that is humble, sharp and generous, multimodal narratives will become useful training tools for the savage readers our society is so much in need of.

Our activity here at TPL is basically exploratory. Our conclusions are provisional. Sometimes contradictory. Sometimes we don’t even conclude anything. We’re here to have fun.

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As a kid Alberto wanted to be an animation character, which was symbolic of his struggle against reality. But somewhere along his years in the Escuela de Arte número 10 in Madrid, first, and the London College of Communication afterward he came to admit his true calling, which was no other than watching the biggest possible amount of animation movies. When he is not engaged in this activity he works as a graphic designer; he has been involved in projects as part of the team at studios such as Inventory, Bunch and It’s Nice That.
Alberto is a huge Herb Lubalin fan and dreams of running his own printing house one day and experimenting with print matter freely which is still symbolic of his struggle against reality. Two of his most recurrent words are fucking and puñetero.

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María is basically an arts person. She realized it the day her high school physics teacher kindly offered to let her pass if she promised to drop sciences forever and study arts. Maria kept her promise and all her professional life afterwards has been devoted to books. She has worked with diverse fiction, nonfiction, academic and activist publishing houses, and is now an Editor at Editorial Gustavo Gili, a Barcelona based publishing house specialising in architecture, design and visual culture. From 2008 to 2011 she was also Editor of the Spanish edition of étapes: magazine.
Maria admires the work of many people but she only has three demystified myths: Simone de Beauvoir, David Foster Wallace and Bob Fosse. And probably Dave Eggers too. That makes four. She dreams of publishing an up to date and hybrid edition of L’Encyclopédie. Her favorite word is Sí.

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Lucy Smith was once told that she is distracted by bookshops in the same way that other women are distracted by shoe shops. Her favourite books are about visual communication – art, architecture and photography books in particular tend to be the most distracting. She studied literature and critical theory before moving to London where she now works as an editor for Batsford, a 170-year old British publishers specializing in art and heritage books. The book Lucy would most like to see realized as a hybrid edition would be Marinetti’s Futurist Cookbook.


WANT TO TAKE PART IN TPL? We’d love to hear from you.
Drop us a line and tell us why.


If you have comments, questions, want to tell us about something incredible or just say hello, write to us.

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We welcome submissions of both features for the website and books for review. Before you send us your submissions, please read over the submissions guidelines:


In The Publishing Lab website we publish both book reviews and critical analysis on any topic related to hybrid narratives. We like that our texts show a thoughtful quality and some personality. We aren’t really into that promotional text cut-and-paste type of review, we want to hear your opinions and your own voice. Along with your text, please send some explanatory images (see below). You can also send in links, videos, audio files… Please note that TPL’s site is published both in English and Spanish. When you send your piece, we give it for granted that you are giving your permission to publish it in both languages. If you are basically OK with all this… GREAT! Then just click here and we will perform our little celebratory dance. And that’s a promise.


We will also perform our celebratory dance with great joy if you send us books for review. We review all kinds of books (print and digital and any other format that may be) that fall into the category of “hybrid”. We know it’s a slippery category so we suggest that before sending a volume to us you send in some info about the project. This may include a brief text and some images (see below). If you are basically OK with all this then just click here.


You can send up to 10 images at a minimum of 945 pixels wide. Either jpg, png or gif format is OK. And very important: don’t forget the captions (10 words maximum).


Basically, the intellectual property rights to all material on the website is owned by their authors, nothing is owned by The Publishing Lab. Regarding to the pictures, it usually means the publisher or designer of the particular project. Regarding to the texts, it means the name to which they are credited on the page.

Thus, we cannot grant you permission to use any of the things you see here for any commercial purpose, but we can get you in contact with the copyright owners if needed.

If you think that any of the texts published here is good for quote purposes you’ll make us really happy, but please indicate the original source (this website).

When we use promotional images from a publisher, we understand their aim is being widely communicated and disseminated, but in case you see here an image you own the copyright to and disagree with the use we are making of it, please let us know so we can take it down asap.


This website was programmed on December 21, 2012, the very same day that the ancient Maya people had announced the end of the world would be. It was designed by Alberto Hernández using a 6 column grid and Raisonne and Pica 10 Pitch typefaces. Raisonne was designed by Benjamin Critton an Pica by IBM. Programming was done by Futurefabric using ExpressionEngine. María Serrano helped them writing the presentation texts and constantly asking if she was still in time to suggest a minor change in the design. Thank God both Alberto and the people at Futurefabric are used to working with annoying clients, they proved to be very patient and now everybody is still friends.