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Professor Fiona Ross


Room F8, Typography & Graphic Communication

Building location

Whiteknights campus (TOB 2, Building 21)

Areas of interest

I lecture in type design with specific reference to Arabic, South Asian and Thai writing systems on the Typeface Design pathway of the MA Communication Design programme, and on the MRes Typeface Design programme. I teach components of the Research Methods module for all postgraduates and supervise postgraduate research students whose topics relate to my area of specialism.

I am Principal Investigator of the research project Women in Type: a social history of women's role in type drawing offices, 1910-1990 funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

I am curator of the Type Design 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.


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

My most recent design work has been in collaboration with John Hudson (Tiro Typeworks) and Neelakash Kshetrimayum (Brand New Type) for clients Harvard University Press, Ananda Bazar Patrika, and Microsoft, among others.

My work and research is focused on type design theory, history, practice with particular reference to Asian scripts. My principal fields of enquiry are: 

  • Design approaches to multi-script typeface design to facilitate the accurate representation of languages; 
  • The relationship of tools and typefounding methods to the visible appearance of typeforms of diverse writing systems; 
  • Documenting type design as an often-unacknowledged collaborative process.

Academic qualifications

PhD, Indian Palaeography, School of Oriental and African Studies, London University

Postgraduate Diploma, Sanskrit with Pali, School of Oriental and African Studies, London University

BA Hons, German, University of Kent (Canterbury)

Certificate, Sanskrit, University of Tubingen

Awards and honours

For my work in type design and education, I have received the SoTA Typography Award (2014) and the Type Director’s Club Medal (2018).

Professional bodies/affiliations

Fellow, Higher Education Authority

Fellow, Royal Society of Arts

Fellow, Royal Asiatic Society


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