The Typography & Graphic Communication Research Division describes its research as the history, theory and practice of ‘design for reading’, including typeface design, information design, graphic design and printing.
Our information design research is concerned with making complex information clear – in words and in pictures – with the needs of users in mind. We value collaboration with domain experts, such as doctors and public health specialists, educationists, lawyers, and meteorologists.
Our research in type design has global relevance and contributes to the development of resources that enable computer-based texts for diverse communities. Whether Arabic newspapers, scholarly Greek or Indian scripts on mobile devices, these applications have stemmed from our close study of historic letterforms and long-standing collaborations with industry.
We are recognised as a centre of excellence for research in letterform and type design history, graphic design, and the history of printing processes, including lithography and stencilling. Our co-directorship of the Centre for Book Cultures and Publishing, one of Reading’s interdisciplinary research centres, extends the reach of this work.
Much of our research is underpinned by our world-leading Lettering, Printing and Graphic Design Collections. The Centre for Ephemera Studies houses the Maurice Rickards Collection and thousands of examples of printed ephemera.
collections and archives
Women in Type is a Leverhulme funded project about women’s pivotal role in the development of type design. Prof Fiona Ross is leading the first socio-historical account of women’s role and responsibilities in type-drawing studios from 1910 to 1990 as experienced within the two companies: the Monotype Corporation and Linotype Limited (formerly Linotype-Paul Ltd and Linotype-Hell Ltd).
Prof Rick Poyner’s collections-based research has resulted in a book about the designer, activist and visual journalist, David King. His accompanying website supplements the material in the book and includes regular updates about aspects of King’s work.
Prof Sue Walker is leading an AHRC-funded COVID-19 Rapid Response project investigating the design of instructions that accompany lateral flow tests used at home and in the community. Testing, diagnostics and design research brings together a cross-disciplinary team to ensure awareness of the needs of health sector stakeholders and effective communication routes.
Picturing Science for children: is an AHRC-funded project about Marie Neurath’s Isotype books for children, produced from the 1940s to the early 1970s, that were innovative in their approach to the design of complex information. An on-line exhibition shows examples of the books and how they were made, as well as co-designed resources based on them for use in primary schools.
Our latest research papers and publications can be downloaded from the University’s online archive.