TY1HIS-History of graphic communication 1

Module Provider: Typography
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Rob Banham

Email: r.e.banham@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

The module provides students with an introduction to the history of graphic communication over the past 150 years, and the changing role of the graphic designer during that time. We will study the key design movements of the 20th century and the work of some of its most influential graphic designers and typographers.


The module aims to provide students with an understanding of the history of graphic communication and of the continuing influence of designers of the past on the graphic design of today. It introduces important designers and design movements as a way to demonstrate the changing approaches to graphic communication from the 19th century to the present, and the changing role of the designer during that period. Through secondary reading, personal reflection, and a variety of assessment tasks, students will be encouraged to engage in critical debate about the past and future of graphic communication.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • Recognise the main innovators and assess their contributions

  • Discuss present day design documents in the context of historical approaches

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key texts

Additional outcomes:

Students will develop basic academic skills such as note taking; critical discussion of readings; and essay writing. They will also become familiar with handling rare materials from collections and archives.

Outline content:

Lectures and seminars will cover topics such as: Information design; Photography and graphic design; Modernism; Swiss Typography; Dutch Graphic Design; Postmodern Graphic Design; Jan Tschichold, and Paul Rand.

Global context:

Students will examine the work of a diverse range of designers and design movements from a variety of countries and cultures.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Teaching will be through weekly lectures and one-hour seminars. Some seminars will be based on discussion of preparatory reading, others will involve interrogation of collections materials through task-based learning.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10 10
Seminars 10 4 4
Practicals classes and workshops 2 2
Guided independent study 72 42 44
Total hours by term 94.00 58.00 48.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 50

Other information on summative assessment:

Coursework (work other than 'written exam') will typically consist of a 2000-word essay submitted in the Autumn Term (50% of the module mark). For all assignments, a Department specific (University approved) form of step-marking is employed.

Formative assessment methods:

The Blackboard quizzes will provide ongoing feedback and students will also receive formative feedback on essay drafts.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    one 2-hour paper requiring three answers.

    Requirements for a pass:

    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Re-examination in August. Coursework will be carried forward if it bears a confirmed aggregated mark of 40% or more, otherwise it must be resubmitted by a specified date during the August re-examination period.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):


    Last updated: 14 September 2017

    Things to do now