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A reputation for excellence

Person in hard hat painting the letter Y onto the side of a boat

We pursue world-leading research in "design for reading".

 

Our research in type design contributes to the development of resources that enable computer-based texts for global communities.

 

In our information design research we make complex information clear, in words and in pictures, with the needs of users in mind.

 

We undertake research in letterform and type design history, graphic design, and the history of printing processes, including lithography and stencilling.

 

In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, expert peer review confirmed that over 92% of our research outputs are either "world-leading" or "internationally excellent". 

Our research community

Our growing cohort of postdoctoral Fellows and research assistants work on projects funded by the British Academy, Leverhulme and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

 

Recent success includes Dr Titus Nemeth’s European Research Council Marie Curie Skłodowska research fellowship, TypoArabic, which investigates exemplary historical models of Arabic typography to inform and advance contemporary practice.

 

We have a lively cohort of doctoral researchers, and are proud to lead Design Star, one of the AHRC Centres for Doctoral Training. 

 

Much of our research is cross-disciplinary. We enrich our research community through collaboration with universities, industrial partners, professional associations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in China, India and Africa.

Centre for Book Cultures and Publishing

Display of Penguin book cover designs in the Department of Typography's exhibition space

The cross-disciplinary Centre for Book Cultures and Publishing (CBCP) recognises our strength in printing and publishing history and practice.

 

CBCP undertakes research in book cultures and publishing with a distinctive global, multilingual and multidisciplinary focus.

 

CBCP work draws on the renowned lettering, printing and graphic design collections in Typography, as well as other significant University collections.

Knowledge transfer and research application

Example of illustrated ideas map as part of research project in the Department of Typography

Our work in typeface design influences policy for tech companies such as Google and Adobe.

 

We have worked with farmers in Ghana to depict the risk of rainfall, and with pharmacists in Rwanda to explain antibiotic resistance

 

Our Innovation in Communication Design project (InCoDe) promotes design-led collaboration and creativity to explore ways of communicating complex information and ideas. We are working on projects about adolescent mental health and structured communication in prisons.

Research projects, writing and talks

Picturing Science for Children

Isotype digram of the science of a boiling kettle from the Department's Isotype Collection

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. 

Women in Type: a social history

Two female designers talking to a man

Women in Type sheds light on the contribution of women to type history, through a study of their work in the drawing offices of leading British type-manufacturing companies from 1910–1990.

Graphic design and drug-resistant infection

Life-size cut outs of illustrated characters holding information on drug-resistant infection in a pharmacy setting

This interdisciplinary project aims to explain the dangers of antimicrobial resistance and how to prevent it.

Writing and design

Lecturer presenting slide showing design related to Apartheid

We make a difference to professional and public understanding through our writing. We design typefaces, books and other documents, informed by our research.

 

Writing on graphic design includes Professor Rick Poynor’s contributions to Eye, Design Observer and Creative Review.

 

Professor Gerry Leonidas writes on typeface design and typography.

 

Professor Fiona Ross collaborates and consults on non-Latin typeface design.

Lectures and talks

 Professor Eric Kindel on "Objet-type, the French Stencil Letter" at ATypI conference, Antwerp, 2018.

Our reputation for research leads to many invitations to deliver lectures and talks around the world. Recent examples of talks our academics have given include:

 

  • Professor Eric Kindel on "Objet-type, the French Stencil Letter" at ATypI conference, Antwerp, 2018.

 

Watch a video of Eric's talk

 

  • Dr Christopher Burke on "Jan Tschichold: A Double Life" at The New Typography: Graphic Design in Weimar Germany 1919–1933 symposium, Bard Graduate Center, New York, 2019.

 

Watch a video of Christopher's talk

Engagement through research

Black on yellow graphic showing letterforms from a number of scripts

Dr Vaibhav Singh uses his research to engage with the global scholarly community, as well as the general public, by organising conferences, exhibitions, and participatory projects. Examples include:

 

Collections and archives

Montage of five posters from the Twentieth Century Poster Collection

Our collections and archives relating to lettering, printing and graphic design are internationally important. 

Research stories

Blood donation poster for India with Bengali-script typeface designed by Professor Fiona Ross

Academic staff in the Department are doing research with international impact. Read  more about their expertise.

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.