A July like any other in Reading

Ribbon ceremony

Ribbon-cutting ceremony in the Art Department gallery.

The Department of Typography did not get the memo that July is supposed to be a quiet period. We kicked off the month by hosting the KSBDA International Invitational Exhibition, its first stop after Seoul, and on its way to Katowice, Poland. The exhibition, attended by members of the current Board of the KSBDA and several past presidents, was held with the kind collaboration of the Department of Art. The visitors had the opportunity to examine material from the Collections in Typography, and discuss their use in teaching.

Michael Twyman at ICTVC

Professor Michael Twyman delivering the opening keynote at Thessaloniki.

The second week of July saw many staff, research students, and postgraduates fly off to Thessaloniki, to take part in the 6th ICTVC conference. The triennial event is spearheaded by alumnus Dr Klimis Mastoridis and aligns closely to the research strands of the Department. Several members delivered papers, and Emeritus Professor Michael Twyman delivered the opening keynote.

Monotype celebration

Celebrating the Monotype Studentship, from left: senior designer Malou Verlomme, Type Director Dr Nadine Chahine, the VC Sir David Bell, and Head of Department Professor Eric Kindel.

Back in Reading, we marked the tenth anniversary of the Monotype Studentship, a substantial initiative in funding support for our postgraduates. The Studentship is only one element of our deep collaboration with the company, which stretches from research support to technical training.

Over the two last weeks of July the Department was taken over by the annual TDi summer course. The international cohort (with participants from Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Dubai, India, Jordan, Korea, Malaysia, UAE, USA, as well as European countries and the UK) spent long days in sessions led by several members of the Department’s staff and student community, working in our studios, with material from the Department Collections, and personal staff collections. Through lectures and seminars, to hands-on sessions with archival material and letterpress equipment, the TDi provides a unique distillation of key areas of the Department’s narrative on typography and typeface design. Marek Jeziorek documented this year’s course in several albums, starting here.

Soapbox host one of our typography summer placements

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Visiting student Gabriela Lyrio Assreuy (far right) joined design studio Soapbox for her summer placement. Gabriela is pictured here with Soapbox’s team of Reading alumni from our BA and MA programmes (from left to right): Žiga Kropivišek, Megan Weston, Francesca Romano and Rachel Bray. Photo: Cormac Bakewell

Our Part 2 visiting student, Gabriela Lyrio Assreuy is spending her summer enjoying a stimulating, two-month placement at Soapbox. The London-based studio specialises in design that ‘helps leading policy, research and advocacy organisations to communicate their ideas’ and is the home to a number of Typography alumni from our BA and MA programmes (see pic). 

Gabriela says: ‘At Soapbox I’m having the opportunity to watch closely how a successful design studio is run and how to deal with real demands, clients and timelines. Besides that, I have been able to work alongside other designers in different sorts of projects mostly permeating print design, such as publication design, infographics, branding. From typesetting to creative design processes, I am putting my abilities to practice and gaining new valuable skills and knowledge that will be essential to build a successful career.’

Soapbox designer and MAID alumnus, Žiga Kropivšek commented: ‘Introducing new colleagues to the work process is always a struggle, that is why working with Gabriela has been such a delight. She was very quick to learn all the tricks and, coming from Reading, we knew she would have a sharp eye for typographic detail. It has been very valuable for our company that we could entrust her with more complex jobs so quickly and her ambitiousness and creativity surprise us again and again.’

Gabriela is a visiting student from Brazil. She has spent this year at Reading as part of the Ciência sem Fronteiras (Science without Borders) scheme. Since 2013–4,Typography & Graphic Communication have hosted three visiting students as part of this scheme. It’s been great having Gabriela in our part 2 cohort and we wish her well as she returns to her studies in Brazil.

Information Design at DRS 2016

Sue Walker and Alison Black attended the Design Research Society 2016 conference in Brighton. They organised a session, Effective Information Design, to raise the profile of the history, theory and practice of information design.

Support for health care is an area where information designers have undertaken research projects ranging from health promotion, through clinical practice, to medicines safety. The session included three health related papers. Jenny Darzentas reported her team’s work on patient information leaflets for mobile devices, with reference to Fentanyl patches, affirming that conventions for the organisation of patient information on paper are not directly transferable to mobile devices. A team from the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the Royal College of Art and British Red Cross present their project about a smartphone app that helps to raise the awareness of ‘balance health’ as an aid to prevent falls in people over the age of 65. David Craib discussed approaches to creating and understanding meaning in communication design, working with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Maxwell Roberts talked about work that compared objective measures of performance and subjective ratings of design effectiveness in two variants of the London Underground map. Continuing the visualization theme, Joanna Boehnert presented her Mapping Climate Communication project which introduces discussion around impact and power in data visualisation. Eden Potter identified some of skills and personal qualities that information designers need to successfully undertake a project reinforcing that information design is as much about process as it is about artefact.

The papers can be found in the proceedings following the introduction:

Walker, S., Black, A. (2016). Introduction: Effective information design. in: P. Lloyd & E. Bohemia, eds., Proceedings of DRS2016: Design + Research + Society – Future-Focused Thinking, Volume 6, pp 2303–2308, DOI 10.21606/drs.2016.603

Presses in action for open days

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Thank you to all our prospective applicants and their parents who visited the Department on Friday and Saturday as part of the University’s Open Days. We hope you enjoyed the displays and workshops as much as we did.

If you didn’t have enough time to view the BA Graphic Communication final display, you can still see some display highlights on the show website.

If you want more information about studying with us, please email our departmental admissions team (Lauren, James and Jeanne-Louise) at graphiccommunication@reading.ac.uk.

Our next round of Open Days will be in October. Once again, we’ll be inking up the presses so that visitors can print a memento of their visit and get a taste of our hands-on experiential learning approach. There will be also be new digital and print displays of student work to view. For more information about open days at Reading, click here.

Award-winning student banner design

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Congratulations to Part 1 student Emmeline Hewstone whose exhibition stand and banner designs won third place in Design Wizard’s 2015/16 competition.

Emmeline’s minimalist design concept was inspired by the Swiss typographic design she studied  in our history of graphic communication module. She says:

To appeal to prospective design students, I needed to create a consistent brand. I took inspiration from a design style that I have never experimented with before, but one that I absolutely adore – Swiss typography.

I wanted to represent the historical and educational aspects of the course, having been exposed to Swiss typography and its influential designers through lectures and seminars focusing on the history of graphic communication.

So, feeling inspired particularly by the likes of Josef Müller-Brockmann, I created a minimalist, primarily typographic design following a grid structure which is so commonly seen in Swiss typography.

We look forward to displaying Emmeline’s award-winning banner at our forthcoming open days.

Typography in Beijing

TDC opening

Soon after the conclusion of a successful visit by students from CAFA to Typography in 2015, we commenced working on a reciprocal visit to Beijing. As it happened, several strands of activity came together to make this an exceptionally productive visit. A short report follows below; the local organisers, led by CAFA teacher Liu Zhao, recorded all presentations for translation and reposting on the Chinese social networks, and microblogged almost every minute of the trip to a jaw-droppingly numerous online audience.

Opening the visit with a more formal occasion, Gerry Leonidas and José Scaglione (Reading alumnus and ATypI president) took part in the judging of the 8th Founder Type Design Competition. The event, held every two years, included for the first time Latin typefaces by Chinese designers. The next day, the winners were announced in the National Centre of the Performing Arts (the “Egg”), together with the opening of the TDC61 exhibition, the Chinese leg of the global tour of the annual design competition; and the opening of the “Chinese Type Modern 1919–1955” exhibition with material from the archives of Founder Electronics on the transition of Chinese type-making across technologies – with clear influence by Reading’s TDi 2015 course, in which Founder staff participated in.

Font Forum line-up

Font Forum conference

The exhibition and competition awards served as the opening events for the two-day Font Forum, a conference on typeface design with speakers from China, Japan, and Europe, to packed auditoria. At the end of each day lively panel discussions demonstrated the interest of the student and professional audience, and the desire for stronger engagement with the international typographic community. (In the sidelines of the conference, plans were hatched to coordinate a BA module on typeface design between Reading and CAFA in 2016–17.)

workshop at CAFA

CAFA workshop

The main part of the visit was taken over by a workshop on typeface design at CAFA. The interest in Latin typeface design is considerable, and the skills of many students impressive. This is a sign of the gradual globalisation of Chinese design education, and the demands by the local professional employers for skills that can serve markets across language and script regions. Although the workshop was primarily focused on typeface design, there was great interest in typographic design, and especially for mobile platforms.

at Founder

Centre for Chinese Font Design and Research

Two visits at the Centre for Chinese Font Design and Research, hosted in the offices of Founder Electronics, focused on design issues in fonts for Chinese, design  tools and processes, and professional training for multi-script design. The second of the visits had very concrete aims, with Gerry orchestrating the localisation of Glyphs (the key font design application) into Simplified Chinese, to enable designers in China to experiment with new workflows.

CITIC publisher agreement

Starting in TDi 2015, Gerry Leonidas guided Liu Zhao to compile a list of books on typography and typeface design in English to be translated into Chinese by CITIC, one of the most prominent publishers in the country. The project is progressing well with many rights already secured, and schedules for the translations and launches in place. Gerry’s involvement in the curation of the series provides the opportunity for the University’s approach to typographic scholarship to be transplanted in a new market in a unique manner. This is part of a wider collaboration between the University, CITIC, and CAFA, with the aim of building up typeface design education in China.

Dongdao Design

Dongdao Design

Despite the timing on a Sunday evening, over 140 designers from Dongdao, one of the largest design agencies in China, turned up to listen to José and Gerry talk about typeface design solutions and studies. The presentations were followed by Q&A sessions and interviews, which will be posted on Chinese social media with subtitles.

p.s. ATypI in Beijing?

Seeing in person the typographically maturing environment in Beijing and particularly the concretely supportive attitude in CAFA convinced José and Gerry (president and vice-president of ATypI respectively) of the importance and timeliness of bringing the annual conference of the type design community to mainland China. They outlined the key parameters of a proposal with Dean Wang Min and Liu Zhao, and explored timing options. Look for announcements through ATypI!

Alumni visit to help with data visualisation with Part 2s

We were very pleased to welcome alumni Craig Melvin to the Department during our recent Part 2 ‘Data Visualisation’ project.

Craig Melvin from TDL London giving feedback to Part 2 Students

Craig Melvin from TDL London giving feedback to Part 2 Students

The Part 2 brief was to create an awareness-raising poster and short animation about some aspect of either ‘Climate Change’ or ‘The Refugee Crisis’. Students presented found data using a combination of graphs, charts, diagrams, tables, maps and infographics. The challenge was to tell a story and find ways of engaging interest whilst being accurate, factual and informative.

Craig graduated from our BA course in 2014 and went to work for TDL London, a design agency founded in 2005 by MA Information Design alumni, Oliver Tomlinson. TDL London specialise in using diagrams and design methods to transform information. They use a combination of Process Charts, Explanatory Diagrams, User Journeys, Illustrated Storyboards, Maps & Locations, Data Visualisation and Interactive Diagrams. Craig spent the day giving insightful feedback to small groups of students. He also showed some of his recent work for a refugee charity (pictured below), and told students about his experience of moving on from the Department into the world of work.

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Making an impression: printing presses, type and colour

 

This workshop, based around the printing press collection in Typography, attracted postgraduate students, academic staff, museum and library professionals, and members of the public interested in the materiality of text, books and ephemeral documents.

Participants used the presses under craft supervision, and had a go at casting metal type.

They printed a page from the Gutenberg bible on a reconstructed one-pull wooden press that Gutenberg would have used, as well as 19th century woodblocks on another.

Alan May demonstrated printing of a Fust and Schoeffer 2-colour initial.

The workshop culminated in a fascinating talk by Dr Elizabeth Savage (British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre for Material Texts & Research Fellow, History of Art,Cambridge University) ‘Deciphering the First Colour-Printed Images in England: The Book of St Albans, 1486’

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The typo-Reading student experience

Our final year BA Graphic Communication student Jess Lewis shared her Reading typography experience with online forum Creative Digest earlier this year. You can read her post here.

Final year typography students are busy gearing up for our 2016 degree show and you can follow them on Twitter @andreadingshow for more news and previews.