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Professor Fiona Ross

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Areas of interest

Fiona lectures in type design with specific reference to Arabic, South Asian and Thai writing systems on the MA Typeface Design and MRes Typeface design pathways in MA Communication Design. She teaches components of the Research Methods module for all postgraduates; supervises PhD students whose research relates to her area of specialism; and is the Principal Investigator of the Leverhulme-funded research project Women in Type: a social history of women's role in type drawing offices, 1910-1990.

Fiona is Curator of the Non-Latin Type Collection, with responsibilities for its maintenance as a growing resource for researchers and students, including the digital capture of original artefacts and the development of digital databases to form online resources.

Background

Fiona has a background in languages. From 1978–1989 she worked for Linotype Limited (UK) and was responsible for the design of Linotype's non-Latin fonts and typesetting schemes. Since 1989 she has worked as a consultant, type designer, art director, and lecturer, and in 2003 joined the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication at the University of Reading.

Her recent work as type designer has been in collaboration with Tim Holloway and John Hudson (as Associate Designer of Tiro Typeworks), notably on Adobe Arabic (TDC award 2006), Adobe Thai, Vodafone Hindi (TDC award 2008) and Adobe Devanagari (2009), Nirmala UI Devanagari (2011), Aldhabi (Perso-Arabic script, 2012) and Sarkar (Bengali script, 2012). More recently with co-designer John Hudson, Sanskrit Text (for Windows 10), and Murty Gurmukhi, Murty Hindi, Murty Telugu, Murty Sanskrit, Murty Bangla and Murty Kannada for Harvard University Press for the Murty Classical Library of India. Also, with Neelakash Kshetrimayum on Bengali fonts including ABP 2015 (2017) and Linotype Bengali revival (2019).

In addition to presenting conference papers and running workshops, Fiona has co-curated seven international exhibitions, and written and contributed to books and numerous articles. Her work and research is focused on (1) non-Latin type design: theory, history, practice; (2) design approaches to multi-script typeface design; (3) the relationship of tools and typefounding methods to the visible appearance of typeforms of diverse writing systems; (4) documenting type design as an often-unacknowledged collaborative process.

Academic qualifications

  • Certificate in Sanskrit, University of Tubingen
  • German BA Hons, University of Kent at Canterbury
  • Postgraduate Diploma Sanskrit with Pali, School of Oriental and African Studies
  • PhD Indian Palaeography, SOAS, London University
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Authority
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts
  • Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society

 

Awards and honours

  • SoTA Typography Award, 2014 
  • TDC Medal, 2018

Publications