TYMTRA-Archives and design practice

Module Provider: Typography
Number of credits: 40 [20 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Summer & Autumn Terms
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Mr Gerry Leonidas

Email: g.leonidas@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:


This module aims to introduce students to the use of archives and collections as a research tool informing design practice, with particular emphasis on the collections within the Department and the University.

Assessable learning outcomes:

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

  • identify and describe archival or other collected material relating to typographic design and production

  • appreciate how archival drawings and related material reveal past practices

  • place archival material in the appropriate technological context

  • demonstrate an understanding of how past practices in?uence current design practice

Additional outcomes:

By the end of the module students should:

  • be familiar with the Department and University collections

  • have an appreciation of issues surrounding the handling and display of artefacts

  • have gained experience in the utilisation of primary sources in teaching

Outline content:

The module is concentrated during an intensive residential period during the summer term or summer vacation of Year 1. The sessions introduce the Department and University’s typographic collections, and develop approaches to working with archival material for research and to inform design practice.

Sessions focus on:

• identifying the provenance of material

• placing material in a technological and business context

• cross-referencing drawings, drafts, and other production material with correspondence and related texts

• detecting the in?uence of type manufacture and typesetting considerations on the design process

• developing criteria for qualitative evaluation of drawings

• identifying elements that are useful in contemporary practice

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Students will be introduced to the University’s Special Collections, and work closely with the collections in the Department, with particular emphasis on the Non-Latin Collections. The seminars and tutorials will make use of the material in the collections to build an understanding of how artefacts encapsulate design processes and decisions, and develop and appreciation of the relevant technological considerations. Students will be guided through discussions to develop an understanding of how archival material can help develop criteria for quality in design, and how it can inform new work.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Total hours by term
Total hours for module

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:


A 1500-word essay on a topic related to the themes to be covered in the residential period, submitted at the end of the summer term, and accounts for 20% of the coursework.

An oral presentation focusing on the speci?c area the student investigated during the residential period, highlighting the research skills developed during the two weeks. The presentation is delivered at the end of the residential period, and accounts for 20% of the coursework.

A 4000-word essay on a topic highlighting the integration of primary material in research for design projects. The topic is expected to be generally relevant to the student’s dissertation topic. The essay will be submitted in the autumn term of Year 2, and account for 60% of the coursework.

Relative percentage of coursework: 100%

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:

A mark of 50%

Reassessment arrangements:

Resubmission of the essay.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 5 February 2018

Things to do now