The Typography & Graphic Communication Research Division describes its research as ‘design for reading’. We encompass the history, theory and practice of 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.
We work with archives and collections to build understanding through physical analysis and interpretation, and reconstruct historical equipment, processes and techniques.
Our world-leading Lettering, Printing and Graphic Design Collections, include the Non-Latin Type Collection, the Otto and Marie Neurath Isotype collections, and the archives of distinguished designers such as Hans Schmoller and Banks & Miles. The Centre for Ephemera Studies houses the Maurice Rickards Collection and thousands of examples of printed ephemera.
collections and archives
Our latest research papers and publications can be downloaded from the University’s online archive.
Picturing Science for children: Marie Neurath’s Isotype books for children, produced from the 1940s to the early 1970s, were innovative in their approach to the design of complex information.
As part of an AHRC-funded project, Professors Sue Walker and Eric Kindel co-curated and designed an exhibition at House of Illustration in London, Marie Neurath: Picturing Science, in summer 2019. The exhibition includes examples of the children’s books, as well as sketches, drawings and correspondence that show how Neurath's team worked together.
The researchers are also exploring Neurath’s approach to science communication making it relevant to teaching in primary schools today and working with teachers and teacher educators to ensure that their ideas and needs are taken into account. @MarieNeurath
Women in Type: Women’s pivotal role in the development of type design is little known. Professor Fiona Ross is leading an in-depth study of women in type-drawing offices from 1910 to 1990.
Histories of type design to date have largely overlooked type design’s importance, and also the key contributors to the type design and manufacturing processes that developed in the twentieth century. Women were often central to this development.
This project draws on business archives to provide 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).
Graphic design and anti-microbial resistance: Successful information design enables people to understand and respond quickly to information they receive, sometimes in critical situations. Cutting-edge research on information design in pharmacy spaces, led by Professor Sue Walker and involving local pharmacists and the general public in the UK and in Rwanda, is helping to explain the dangers of drug-resistant infections and what people can do about it. @amrpharmacy
Get the latest news about our research from our departmental news portal.
We are proud of our vibrant and engaged doctoral research community, and welcome application in all aspects of design for reading. We lead the Arts & Humanities Research Council's Design Star Centre for Doctoral Training, a consortium of five universities and provide innovative training for doctoral students.
For specific enquiries, please contact:
Professor Sue Walker, Research Division Lead
Telephone: +44 (0)118 378 6209
Dr Matthew Lickiss, Research Division Lead