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Dan Rhatigan studied typeface design at Reading. The course enabled him to progress and specialise in his chosen field after an already successful career in design and publishing.

Headshot of Dan Rhatigan former master's student studying typeface design in the Department of Typography

Developing a passion for typography

During Dan's undergraduate studies and early career, he came to realise that within design it was typography that really interested him. 

"I studied graphic design as an undergraduate at Boston University, and was lucky enough to have an eclectic career in the design and publishing worlds. Quite a bit of it focused on typography and typesetting technology, which were always the parts of design practice that interested me the most. 

"I had done some graduate-level study in graphic design as well, and a lot of my experiences at work and in school were making me realise that the practice of design was demanding an ever-growing range of sub-activities that I was not as interested in as much as typography."

Choosing Reading

Dan wanted to study a master's course that he could tailor to his specific interests. Reading was able to offer this. 

"I learned about Reading's MA Typeface Design programme while I was at a conference in New York, where I had the chance to talk to Gerry Leonidas about the details. I was intrigued by the possibilities of a programme that focused so deeply on the part of design I cared so much about! The chance to move to England for the experience was an additional enticement."

Inspiring experiences of typeface research

"My year at Reading was demanding but extremely satisfying. The real surprise to me was how much I enjoyed doing serious research: as much, if not more, than I enjoyed working on typefaces themselves. 

"Reading's own collections, as well as the other public and private collections made accessible by the Department's relationships, were a truly thrilling source of inspiration and wonder, and substantial enough to help me move from giddy curiosity to earnest fact-finding. 

"The Research Methods component of the MA really helped me understand how to work with and learn from material I encountered. This proved to be very, very useful in my career after Reading, particularly during my time at Monotype in the UK."

Connecting with academics in the Department

Dan developed specialist knowledge, and his research enabled him to build connections within the Department, which eventually led to his new career path: 

"I focused my master's research on types and typesetting for mathematics, including some extraordinary development done at Monotype in the 1950s. I had time during the following year to help Dr Fiona Ross around the Department, and started learning more about the subject. 

At the same time Dan was working on his master's research, the Department was embarking on a knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) with Monotype that aligned perfectly with the content of his studies. 

"It was during this time that the KTP project with Monotype came up. My newfound research skills, the time I’d spent at their archive already, and my growing understanding of non-Latin typographic issues were the perfect foundation for the task at hand in their business. 

"What was useful about the KTP experience at Monotype was that my project required me to get to know people all over the company and understand different parts of the business, where a typical design position might not allow that much exposure to the company’s overall activity.  

"After two years of the project, which itself required working closely with Monotype’s Head of Typography Robin Nicholas, my own professional background and my recent experiences at the company proved to be a good fit for the role of a Senior Type Designer. All my experiences and study at Reading – both the MA and the KTP – led me quite directly to that opportunity."

Moving to a leadership role at Adobe Type

"My current role as Senior Manager for Adobe Type is a big change for me, in that I am no longer actively practising design. Instead, I manage the team of designers (including two other MA Typeface Design graduates) and developers that comprise Adobe’s in-house type foundry. 

"Although I’m not working on typefaces directly, I couldn’t do this role and determine Adobe’s type development strategy without a deep understanding of typography and type technology – subjects whose depth I didn’t truly appreciate until my time at Reading."

Ready to adapt in a constantly changing industry

Dan's career continues to go from strength to strength, building on the relationships and skills he developed at Reading: 

"The true outcome of my MA Typeface Design experience was learning how to continue adapting to developments in a rapidly changing technical field, based on centuries-old principles of design and reading. Moreover, my time at Reading was the start of many relationships with colleagues and specialists whose own work is vital to what we’re doing at Adobe now."

Tamsin Oglivie: studying a part-time master's degree

Headshot of Tamsin Oglivie, former student who studied book design at master's level in the Department

Find out how Tamsin balanced her studies with her family life and working with clients by studying book design part time in our Department.

Lozana Rossenova: typography across print and digital

Examples of work by Lozana Rossenova as part of her master's in book design at Reading
Lozana decided to study book design at Reading as she wanted to pursue her interests in typography, art and design history.