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Lettering, printing and graphic design collections

The lettering, printing and graphic design collections are world-leading and used extensively in teaching and research.
 
Here you can read about some of the highlights of our collections. You can also view our handlist, which is under development.
 
Please contact Emma Minns, Assistant Curator by emailing e.h.minns@reading.ac.uk, if you would like to know more about the collections.

Typography student using magnifying glass to examine historic document from Department collections

"The extent of the archive and the scope that it covers is impressive. Having the chance to study the artefacts up close is a unique and mind-opening experience. Of course it is more than useful when it comes to applying this knowledge to our practical work."

 

Natalia Qadreh, MA Typeface Design graduate

Isotype Collection

Handelsmarinen der Erde Isotype chart from the Marie and Otto Neurath Isotype Collection

The Otto and Marie Neurath Isotype Collection is our comprehensive archive of Isotype materials. 

 

The collection, gifted to the University by Marie Neurath in 1971,  includes documents, correspondence, published works and artefacts relating to Isotype: its history, principles, working methods, and products. 

 

Isotype revisited was an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)-funded project based on this collection. It continues to attract the interest of researchers across the world.

Ephemera collections

Example of historic advertisement poster from the Department's collection of ephemera

The Centre for Ephemera Studies holds ephemera collections of global significance, and works to ensure their consistent description and classification.

 

To find out more about ephemera, see our A–Z of ephemera. It was designed by third-year undergraduate students to coincide with an exhibition showing material from our Maurice Rickards Collection of Ephemera.

 

The Centre works with colleagues from the John Johnson Collection, the Bodleian Library, the Library of Congress and the Université Cergy-Pontoise.

Printing presses

Blue printing blocks sitting in letterpress

We have a unique collection of printing presses spanning technology from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries.

 

A print workshop that supports the three main printing processes is available for our students to use.

Twentieth-century poster collection

Poster of men swimming competitively from Olympic Games in Munich 1972, part of Department's 20th century poster collection

This important collection includes posters relating to the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972 and the National Theatre in the 1970s and 1980s.

 

We have many examples of the work of David King, Paul Peter Piech and Edward Wright.

Non-Latin Typeface Collection

Examples of letter printing blocks from the Department's Non-Latin Typeface Collection

The Non-Latin Typeface Collection contains material relevant to typeface design for world scripts.

 

The collection includes a unique set of drawings for typefaces in Arabic, Indian, Thai and other scripts, and documentation that supported the original development of these typefaces.

 

It also holds a wide range of examples of printing, including newspapers and ephemera.

Banks and Miles Archive

Example of alphabet type design from Banks and Miles Collection, held by the Department

This archive contains examples of the work of partners Colin Banks and John Miles, of Banks and Miles. 

 

Their work was fundamental to the development of the corporate identity of many national institutions. Clients included London Transport, the British Council, the Post Office, British Telecom, the Consumer Association and the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. 

 

The collection includes working drawings and specifications, finished designs, presentations and models, publications, work-related correspondence, as well as a number of slides featuring their work.

 

Our research

Diagram called Design How You Feel created as part of graphic communication research project.

In the last research excellence framework, we were ranked first in the UK for research in our sector (Times Higher Education Institutions ranked by subject, based on its analysis of the last research excellence framework (REF) 2014).

PhD study

Two master's students discussing book design with typography professor

Embark on your doctorate with us. We've supported PhD study in design and typography for over five decades.

Our staff

Lecturer holding book gives talk to students in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication
Our staff are leaders in their fields and active in research. Find out more about their areas of expertise and current projects.