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Dr Rob Banham

  • School Director of Teaching and Learning
  • Year Tutor for third-year undergraduates


Room B1, Typography & Graphic Communication

Building location

Whiteknights campus (Building 21, TOB2)

Areas of interest

My three main research interests are the design of printed ephemera, the influence of technology on design, and the history of colour printing. These interests first came together in my PhD on the work of Frederick Gye and Giles Balne, nineteenth-century letterpress printers, and subsequently in a series of publications (see below). I have a particular interest in using archives and collections in research and teaching.

I am a practising designer, specialising in the design of books and journals. In 2013, for example, I designed Michael Twyman’s magisterial A history of chromolithography: printed colour for all (British Library); and between 2003 and 2017, I edited and designed The Ephemerist, the journal of the Ephemera Society.

I also support organisations encouraging design and printing practice and the preservation of historical materials. From 2001 to 2010, I served as Chairman of the Friends of St Bride Library, who organise a highly successful programme of lectures and conferences on a wide variety of subjects related to design and printing.


I teach across all levels of the BA Graphic Communication programme, delivering lectures and seminars on the history of design and printing and leading a range of practical design projects. I also supervise BA and MA dissertations, and PhD students.

Research projects

‘Democratising knowledge: Chambers’s illustrated encyclopaedia, 1860–1892’ (2014–2019). I served as University of Reading academic lead in this Collaborative Doctoral Award, in partnership with National Museums Scotland. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

‘The type designs of Eric Gill’ (2011–2016). I served as University of Reading academic lead in this Collaborative Doctoral Award, in partnership with the St Bride Library. Funded by the AHRC.

'Printing and typesetting in film’ (2008). I was Principal Investigator in this project funded by an AHRC 'Small Grant in the Creative and Performing Arts'.

Academic qualifications

Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice, University of Reading (2008)

PhD, University of Reading (2005)
Funded by the Educational Charity of the Worshipful Company of Stationers’ and Newspaper Makers’, PIRA, and University of Reading.

BA (Hons) Typography & Graphic Communication, University of Reading (2000)

Awards and honours

Beatrice, Benjamin, and Richard Bader Fellowship, Harvard University (2003)

Professional bodies/affiliations

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (now Advance HE)


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