TYMCDC-Communication Design: Core Module

Module Provider: Typography
Number of credits: 30 [15 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Mr Gerry Leonidas

Email: g.leonidas@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module introduces students to key concepts in communication design with particular emphasis to areas aligning to the Department's expertise. It covers discourse in relevant areas of typographic history and theory, and explores the formation of distinct areas of discourse aligned to aspects of practice. The module provides an intellectual framework for interrogating collections and archives and constructing narratives that contextualise and enrich design practice. The module helps students to discover for themselves conceptual tools with which to develop independent critical thought. This module is delivered at University of Reading.


This module aims to provide a thorough grounding in historical, theoretical, and conceptual issues in selected areas of communication design. Distinct areas of design practice are examined with reference to contexts of authors, readers, the technology of production and distribution, and the relationship of genres to underlying design concepts, design decisions, and practice. The module places a discussion of the changing roles of makers and consumers of texts at its centre, and provides a framework for the evaluation and validation of design practice. It enables students to approach design practice from a position of critical awareness and engagement with current discourse in communication design.   

Assessable learning outcomes:

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

draw on broad historical and theoretical perspectives in selected areas of communication design;

recognise the influence of different technologies on design, production, and distribution

discuss design issues in genres relating to selected areas of practice;

engage critically with current discourse in selected areas of communication design;

identify and explain the main currents of thought in a selection of areas in communication design;

discuss the needs of readers and understand evaluation methods;

search, find and analyse relevant information sources;

critically evaluate competing interpretations, policies, and practices; and

articulate arguments effectively in speech and writing.

Additional outcomes:

Students should also be able to communicate effectively in speech - in particular discussing concepts and procedures, and present coherent arguments, and in writing - in particular composing documents which investigate, analyse, and argue critically about relevant issues.

They should be able to undertake independent research, both using IT and by working with primary sources.

Outline content:

Students take part in a series of weekly seminars that cover key issues in communication design, and more specialised topics that align with the pathways on offer within the programme. Seminars are facilitated by staff members, and focus on a range of issues across typographic theory, history, and practice, and on topics specific to each pathway on offer.

Staff-led sessions with resources from the Department’s own collections and the University’s Special Collections provide contextual material, and underpin students’ engagement with material aspects of communication design. These sessions feed directly into topics for academic assignments, inform contextual considerations for practical work, and make explicit connections with collections-based research in the Department. 

Global context:

The module situates design discourse within the context of a developing field of research and practice in communication design, and the expanding role of academic activities in design education globally. Students are encouraged to develop an awareness of the current issues in design discourse, the interaction of technological developments and social conditions globally, and integrate an awareness of evolving issues of inclusion and diversity in their work.  

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

At the beginning of the year students receive a reading list with preparatory material for each seminar topic. In advance of each seminar they receive a paper prepared by the student whose turn it is to present at the session. Staff facilitate the discussion, and led the group to cover all key issues relevant to the topic. Staff lead the examination of physical resources when appropriate.

Additional sessions with themed examinations of material from the Department’s Collections and Archives or the University’s Special Collections are led by staff in sessions scheduled during the autumn and spring terms.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 35 35
Guided independent study: 115 115
Total hours by term 150 150 0
Total hours for module 300

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 70
Oral assessment and presentation 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Students submit a substantial written paper of 3500 words, and make a formal 20 minute seminar presentation. Students are assigned subjects in consultation with teaching staff. Presentations are delivered throughout the teaching terms.

Formative assessment methods:

Students work and receive feedback on a series of non-assessed exercises for paper and seminar development at the beginning of the autumn term. They also receive feedback on interim versions of their assessed paper and seminar presentation.

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 module mark of 50%.

Reassessment arrangements:

Resubmission of all coursework in the module.  

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 10 April 2019


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