Professor Sue Walker
- Co-Director, Centre for Book Cultures and Publishing
- Director, Lettering, Printing and Graphic Design Collections
OfficeRoom D2, Typography & Graphic Communication, TOB2 (Building 21)
Building locationWhiteknights campus
Areas of interest
My areas of interest include:
- history, theory and practice of information design and book design
- book design for children
- health communication
- Isotype, in particular Marie Neurath’s books for children and the application of Isotype principles to health communication
Postgraduate supervisionI welcome proposals for collections-based research projects about book history, graphic design and information design, and about information book design for young people.
Research centres and groupsI am Co-Director of the Centre for Book Cultures and Publishing, one of the University’s interdisciplinary research centres where with colleagues in English Literature and Modern languages research book, publishing and printing history, and materiality of the book in a global context.
Picturing science for children. This AHRC-funded project explored Marie Neurath’s approach to science communication and its relevance to teaching in primary schools today. As well as an exhibition at House of Illustration in 2019 and an on-line exhibition, the work included making slideshows and worksheets based on Marie Neurath’s books. This project followed on from the Isotype revisited project.
Information design for diagnostics. This is a COVID-19 Rapid Response project funded by AHRC. It brought together a cross-disciplinary team including information design and current and future diagnostic testing technology and partnership with Oxford Academic Health Sciences Network to ensure awareness of the needs of health sector stakeholders and effective communication routes.
Information design and architecture: combating drug-resistant infection. This inter-disciplinary project brought together academics and practitioners in graphic and information design, architecture, ergonomics and human factors, and pharmacy to consider how to improve the knowledge and understanding of antimicrobial resistance. Beat Bad Bugs extended this research, working with pharmacists in Rwanda.
Funding from the University’s JAB/HIP is supporting a health communication project with colleagues from the Royal Berkshire Hospital applying collaborative co-design to communicating information about childhood constipation and adolescent pain.
A current project is a monograph about Marie Neurath’s transformation of information and book design for children, due for publication by Bloomsbury in 2025. This will be the first book that shows in detail the work of Marie Neurath and her team at the Isotype Institute in London, and their collaboration with the book-packaging company, Adprint. It will draw on material from the Otto and Marie Neurath Isotype Collection.
BackgroundI started teaching (part-time) at the University of Reading in 1980, becoming Head of Department in the late 1990s until 2007, when I served as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities before returning to research and teaching. My design practice is in the area of information design and book design. Throughout my career I have implemented and promoted collections-based research and teaching, which was pioneered in the Department with the renowned Lettering, Printing and Graphic Design Collections that are housed there. I served as a REF panel member for Art and Design: History, Practice, Theory in RAE 2008, REF 2014 and REF 2021. I previously served as Chair of the Information Design Association and was Director of the AHRC Centre for Doctoral Training, Design Star, from 2013 to 2020.
PhD, University of Reading
BA, University of Reading
Fellow of the Design Research Society
Elected member of Double Crown Club
- Walker, S. ORCID: 0000-0001-5942-1836 (2023) Marie Neurath: designing and publishing Isotype books for children. In: Wilson, N. , Willson, G. , Staveley, A. , Southworth, H. , La Penna, D. , Heywood, S. , Battershill, C. , (eds.) Edinburgh Companion to Women in Publishing, 1900-2000. Edinburgh University Press , Edinburgh.
- Walker, S. ORCID: 0000-0001-5942-1836 , Bravo, J. , Edwards, A. ORCID: 0000-0003-2369-989X (2022) User-friendly point-of-use instructions for home use diagnostic tests. University of Reading | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.17864/1947.000419
- Walker, S. ORCID: 0000-0001-5942-1836 , Bravo, J. , Edwards, A. ORCID: 0000-0003-2369-989X , Hart, J. , Little, G. (2022) Instructions for COVID-19 self-tests: what parts of the test are the most difficult to get right and how can information design help?. Information Design Journal , 27 (1). pp. 126-139. ISSN: 1569-979X | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1075/idj.22011.wal
- Walker, S. ORCID: 0000-0001-5942-1836 (2022) Reading information: using graphic language to enhance engagement with children's books. In: Hagen, A. , (eds.) Mediation and children's reading: relationships, intervention and organization from the eighteenth century to the present. Lehigh University Press , Lanham, Maryland. pp. 125-145. ISBN: 9781611463262
- Schilhab, T. and Walker, S. , eds. (2020) The materiality of reading. Aarhus University Press pp 154. ISBN: 9788771849585
- Needs, S. , Bull, S. , Bravo, J. , Walker, S. ORCID: 0000-0001-5942-1836 , Little, G. , Hart, J. , Edwards, A. ORCID: 0000-0003-2369-989X (2020) Remote videolink observation of model home sampling and home testing devices to simplify usability studies for point-of-care diagnostics. Wellcome Open Research , 5 (174). ISSN: 2398-502X | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.16105.1
- Walker, S. , Hignett, S. , Lim, R. , Parkhurst, C. , Samuel, F. (2020) Explaining drug-resistant infection in community pharmacies through effective information design. Design for Health , 4 (1). pp. 82-104. ISSN: 2473-5132 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/24735132.2020.1731201
- Kindel, E. , Minns, E. , Nairne, K. , Odling-Smee, A. , Walker, S. (2019) Marie Neurath: Picturing Science.
- Walker, S. (2019) Effective antimicrobial resistance communication: the role of information design. Palgrave Communcations , 5 ISSN: 2055-1045 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1057/s41599-019-0231-z
- Walker, S. , Hignett, S. , Lim, R. , Parkhurst, C. , Samuel, F. , Mole, M. (2018) Design, architecture, pharmacy: making a difference to understanding anti-microbial resistance (AMR). (ISBN: 9781843874218)
- Walker, S. , Black, A. , Bessemans, A. , Bormans, K. , Renckens, M. , Barratt, M. (2018) Designing digital texts for beginner readers: performance, practice and process. In: Barzillai, M. , Thomson, J. , Schroeder, S. , Broek, P. , (eds.) Learning to read in a digital world. Studies in written language and literacy John Benjamins (17). , Amsterdam. pp. 31-56. ISBN: 9789027201225 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1075/swll.17.02wal
- Walker, S. (2018) Modernity, method and minimal means: typewriters, typing manuals and document design. Journal of Design History , 31 (2). pp. 138-153. ISSN: 1741-7279 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jdh/epx018
- Walker, S. (2017) Research in graphic design. The Design Journal , 20 (5). pp. 549-559. ISSN: 1460-6925 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14606925.2017.1347416
- Walker, S. (2017) Marie Neurath: designing information books for young people. In: Black, A. , Lund, O. , Luna, P. , Walker, S. , (eds.) Information design research and practice. Routledge pp. 117-126. ISBN: 9780415786324
- Black, A. , Luna, P. , Lund, O. , Walker, S. , eds. (2017) Information design: research and practice. Routledge , London. pp 600. ISBN: 9780415786324
- Walker, S. (2017) The contribution of typography and information design to health communication. In: Cooper, R. and Tsekleves, E. , (eds.) Design for health. Routledge pp. 92-109. ISBN: 9781472457424
- Burke, C. , Kindel, E. , Walker, S. , eds. (2013) Isotype: design and contexts 1925–1971. Hyphen Press , London. pp 554. ISBN: 9780907259473
- Walker, S. (2013) Book design for children's reading: typography, picture, print. St Bride Foundation , London. pp 224. ISBN: 9780950416137
- Walker, S. (2013) Graphic explanation for children, 1944-71. In: Burke, C. , Kindel, E. , Walker, S. , (eds.) Isotype: design and contexts, 1925-1971. Hyphen Press , London. pp. 390-437. ISBN: 9780907259473
- Walker, S. (2012) Describing the design of children’s books: an analytical approach. Visible Language , 46 (3). ISSN: 0022-2224
- Walker, S. (2011) Explaining history to children: Otto and Marie Neurath’s work on the ‘Visual history of mankind’ . Journal of Design History , 25 (4). pp. 345-362. ISSN: 1741-7279 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jdh/eps031
- Walker, S. (2007) Letterforms for handwriting and reading: print script and sanserifs in early twentieth-century England. Typography papers. Typography papers Hyphen Press (7). pp. 81-114. ISBN: 9780907259336
- Reynolds, L. , Walker, S. , Duncan, A. (2006) Children's responses to line spacing in early reading books or "Holes to tell you which line you're on". Visible Language , 40 (3). pp. 246-267.
- Walker, S. (2005) The books that nobody sees: typography in children's reading books. Baseline (48). pp. 25-32. ISSN: 0954-9226
- Walker, S. , Connare, V. , Scaglione, J. (2005) Fabula: type design. University of Reading
- Walker, S. (2005) The songs the letters sing: typography and children's reading. National Centre for Language and Literacy , Reading. pp 23. ISBN: 9780704998469
- Walker, S. (2005) 'The books nobody sees': typography in children's reading books. Baseline , 48 pp. 25-32.
- Archer, C. , Walker, S. , Reynolds, L. (2004) Typography in nineteenth-century children's readers: the Otley connection. In: Mckay, B. , Hinks, J. , Bell, M. , (eds.) Light on the book trade: essays in honour of Peter Isaac. Print Networks British Library and Oak Knoll Press (6). , London. pp. 118-129. ISBN: 9780712347976
- Reynolds, L. and Walker, S. (2004) 'You can't see what the words say': word spacing and letter spacing in children's reading books. Journal of Research in Reading , 27 (1). pp. 87-98. ISSN: 0141-0423 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9817.2004.00216.x
- Walker, S. and Reynolds, L. (2003) Serifs, sans serifs and infant characters in children’s reading books. Information Design Journal , 11 (2/3). pp. 106-122. ISSN: 1569-979X | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1075/idj.11.2.04wal
- Walker, S. (2003) The manners of the page: prescription and practice in the visual organisation of correspondence. Huntington Library Quarterly , 66 (3 & 4). pp. 307-329. ISSN: 1544-399X
- Walker, S. (2000) Leading the field or behind the times? Doctoral education in typography and graphic communication . In: Durling, D. and Friedman, K. , (eds.) Foundations for the future: doctoral education in design. Staffordshire University Press pp. 337-344.
- Walker, S. and Reynolds, L. (2000) Screen design for children’s reading. Journal of Research in Reading , 23 (2). pp. 224-234. ISSN: 1467-9817 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9817.00116
- Walker, S. (2000) Typography and language in everyday life: prescriptions and practices. Language in social life Longman , Harlow. pp 224. ISBN: 9780582357556
- Burke, C. and Walker, S. , eds. (1998) Typography papers, 3. Typography papers , 3. Department of Typography & Graphic Communication , Reading. pp 148. ISBN: 0-7049-1123-x
- Walker, S. (1998) Handwriting skills. In: Corson, D. and Edwards, V. , (eds.) The encyclopedia of language and education. Kluwer , Dordrecht. pp. 97-105. ISBN: 9780792345954
- Walker, S. , Edwards, V. , Blacksell, R. (1996) Designing bilingual books for children. Visible Language , 30 (3). ISSN: 0022-2224
- Walker, S. and Edwards, V. (1996) Some status issues in the translation of children’s books. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development , 17 (5). pp. 339-348. ISSN: 1747-7557 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01434639608666287
- Walker, S. and Edwards, V. (1995) Building bridges: multilingual resources for children. Multilingual Matters , Clevedon. pp 130. ISBN: 9781853592904