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Department of Typography & Graphic Communication awarded Queen's Anniversary Prize – University of Reading

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Department of Typography & Graphic Communication awarded Queen's Anniversary Prize

Release Date 25 November 2011

1960s Boeing advert

Images from the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication and documents from its exceptional collections

The University of Reading is delighted to announce that its Department of Typography & Graphic Communication has been awarded a distinguished Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education. This distinctive and multi-disciplinary Department has a world-wide reputation for research and teaching and learning, in what can be broadly summarised as ‘design for reading'.

Reading is the first institution to have won a Queen's Anniversary Prize focused on typographic research.

The official announcement was made at St James's Palace on Thursday 24 November. The presentations by the Queen will take place during a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace in February 2012.

The Prizes are the most prestigious form of national recognition open to a UK academic or vocational institution, recognising and celebrating the outstanding work of higher and further education institutions and the impact that they have. This is the fourth Queen's Anniversary Prize the University of Reading has received.

Reading's Department of Typography & Graphic Communication is a world-leading centre of typographic teaching and research and recognised as one of the outstanding departments of its kind.

It conducts research through history, theory and practice in information design, book design and typeface design and works closely with, and informs, industry, government and business. The Department has pioneered research in the history of graphic communication and in so doing has raised the profile of its exceptional Lettering, Printing and Graphic Design collections that in turn underpin a pioneering hands-on approach to teaching and learning.

By providing an outstanding student experience (100% overall satisfaction ratings from its 2011 students) the Department produces highly employable graduates who benefit from an integral work experience scheme and integration of historical and theoretical aspects of the discipline into the practice of design. This model of design education has been influential in many overseas institutions including in Brazil, Canada, Israel, Norway and Hong Kong.

The Department's work has a global impact.  The BBC adopted a student-designed web typeface for its Arabic and Farsi websites, and a knowledge transfer project has resulted in typefaces for use on mobile phones in India. The Department welcomes colleagues from national museums and galleries, and members of the public to its programme of short courses and symposia.

Professor Tony Downes, Acting Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading said: "Typography & Graphic Communication has long been one of our world-class departments.  This award recognises both excellent research, which makes a real difference in the real world, and an unparalleled student experience that leads to rewarding employment prospects.  It is a great example of a Department doing all the right things."

Head of the Department Professor Paul Luna commented: "We are very proud to have won a Queen's Anniversary Prize. Our submission, ‘Design for reading: teaching and research in typography and graphic communication', was awarded the Prize in recognition of the excellence and world-wide reputation of our research and teaching and learning. The Design & Print Studio's unique work with students was also part of our submission."

The University has won a Queen's Anniversary Prize on three previous occasions. In 1998 Reading received a prize for its work on the dynamics of theatre performance in Shakespeare's time, done collaboratively with the Globe Theatre in London. In 2005, the Department of Meteorology was awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize for its training and research in weather, climate and physical oceanography. In 2009 the Department of Archaeology was awarded the Prize for uniquely combining ground-breaking research, enterprise and teaching in the field.


For all University of Reading media enquiries please contact James Barr, Press Officer tel. 0118 378 7115 or email

Notes for Editors

  • The University of Reading was established in 1892 and received its Royal Charter in 1926 The University is one of the select group of research-intensive universities that make up the 1994 Group of high-quality academic institutions and takes pride in a combination of established history and cutting-edge research. The University delivers a world-class student experience, research-led teaching and has an international reputation of the highest quality.
  • The University is regularly ranked among the top 200 universities in the world (164th - THE World University Rankings 2011).
  • 87% of the University's research was classified as of international standing in the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2008.
  • The University has invested almost 400 million in its campuses in the last eight years and has some of the best teaching, research and student accommodation facilities in the country.
  • The latest graduate destinations survey (2010) resulted in the University's best outcome for a decade with graduate employability.
  • The University is consistently in the top quartile for the quality of the student experience (89% student satisfaction rating in National Student Survey 2011)
  • In 2008 Henley Management College became part of the University to form the Henley Business School at the University of Reading, now offering world class teaching and research in management, finance and property.

For over 30 years the University of Reading's Department of Typography and Graphic Communication has been the only one of its kind in Britain. It offers a unique approach to design through a combination of practice, theory and history. The high standard and diversity of research in the Department are recognized by the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, with 80 per cent of research being rated world-leading or internationally excellent. They are also reflected in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, as well as in works published by the Department, such as Typography Papers.

The Royal Anniversary Trust

The Royal Anniversary Trust is an independent charity - registered number 1,000,000 -concerned with the advancement of education for public benefit.  It was set up in 1990 with the object of carrying out a programme of events and activities during 1992, funded and supported from private sources with official endorsement, to mark the 40th anniversary of The Queen's accession and her years of service as Head of State.  The Trust currently works to promote world class excellence in UK universities and colleges through The Queen's Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education.

The Prizes are a biennial award scheme which is within the UK's national honours system.  As such they are the UK's most prestigious form of national recognition open to a UK academic or vocational institution.  The honour is distinctive in recognising the institution rather than an individual or team. The scheme was established in 1993 with the approval of The Queen and all-party support in Parliament.

All eligible universities and colleges in the UK are invited to enter the biennial rounds of the scheme. The assessment process is overseen by the Awards Council of the Trust which makes the final recommendations which are submitted to the Prime Minister for advice to The Queen.


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