Marking the University’s new connection with the Mushashino Art University of Tokyo, two staff members and four students visited the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication for an intensive week of typeface design. The group, led by Reading alumnus Professor Yoshiro Goto of the Visual Communication Design Department, used their time in Reading to conclude a collaborative project devised by Prof. Goto and Gerry Leonidas, and delve deeper into the Department’s research-informed approach to typographic practice. Their schedule combined dedicated sessions, as well as shared tutorials and seminars with current BA students. The group also took part in sessions of particular interest by Professors Michael Twyman and Gerard Unger. Assisting generously throughout the week were fellow alumni Julian Moncada and Toshi Omagari (also a MAU alumnus).
Students in the Department are used to discussing design issues with staff in small groups, or one-to-one settings. This allows us to adapt to the students’ experience and perspective, and gives us the opportunity to build a lesson around investigation and inquiry. But sometimes we have to address large audiences, and build explanations for unfamiliar listeners. In most cases our students don’t witness this side of our work.
Although more lectures are captured than ever before, it is often the case that the camerawork is not great, or – more often – the audio is lacking. Fortunately, the good people at Besquare did a great job at the Ampersand Conference in Brighton. The just-uploaded lecture by Gerry Leonidas on Vimeo is an excellent introduction for new students on the kind of monologue they are unlikely to experience in the Department.
The University of Reading is a partner in the 2013 Granshan: Design and Identity conference in Bangkok, currently under way. The Department is contributing with a special version of the “From hot-metal to OpenType” exhibition, which opened to the public yesterday in the library of Chulalongkorn University.
Edited by the same team that publish the Slanted magazine, this substantial reference volume for new typefaces has just been published by Niggli. The volume presents typefaces in generous specimens, and includes a number of essays on typeface design. Amongst them, a detailed presentation of the MA Typeface Design programme. The impressively produced volume is available from Slanted’s shop.
Reading at ICTVC 5, Nicosia
Reading staff and graduates have returned from the fifth International Conference on Typography & Visual Communication, hosted by the University of Nicosia. ICTVC is the brainchild of Dr Klimis Mastoridis (a Reading alumnus) who, since the first event in 2002, has given the conference a distinct character that sets it apart from most such events. Amongst typography-orientated events, ICTVC is probably the most diverse in the range of academics and practitioners it brings together. And, even in this smallest of its iterations, it attracted speakers and delegates from four continents.
The combination of research and practice makes ICTVC a very good fit for Typography, and it was no surprise to see the Department represented well. The speaker lineup included staff members Mary Dyson, Gerry Leonidas, and Sue Walker, and current PhD candidates Sallie Morris and Niki Sioki. PhD alumni Petra Cerne Oven, Sue Perks, Karel van der Waarde, and MA alumni Julián Moncada, Elena Papassissa, Vaibhav Singh, and Adi Stern also presented papers.
For a general report on the conference, head over to Mark Barratt’s post on the Eye magazine blog.
Monotype’s lauded Pencil to Pixel exhibition (in Wapping last November, and New York earlier this month) included a relaunched Monotype Recorder, after a hiatus of fifteen years (the previous issue had been published to mark the Centenary of the company, on the occasion of the 1997 ATypI conference, in Reading). The new issue celebrates Robin Nicholas’ long career and contribution to the company, as well as to typeface design in general. A few days ago Monotype posted the bulk of the issue as an online magazine, including Robin’s interview to Eye magazine, and Gerry’s comment on Robin’s work.
The annual TypoBerlin conference is a major fixture on the European design calendar, bringing together over 1,500 attendees in the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin. Erstwhile staff member Ken Garland opened this year’s conference with a talk on the theme of “touch”, taking the audience on a journey through senses and ideas, culminating with a very personal and touching – pun intended – story. Department graduates Paul Barnes and Marian Misiak talked on making typefaces from Cornish vernacular lettering, and Polish type design heritage from the Communist era respectively. Gerry Leonidas spoke on the emergence of typeface design as α professional discipline with global reach. Slanted magazine have been reporting on their blog on Ken, Paul, Marian, and Gerry.
Wayne Hart, a Department alumnus and visiting instructor for letter cutting, has just been awarded Gold Award & Overall Winner and Maker of the Year Award in the annual Craft & Design competition. The specialist media judge, Medeia Cohan-Petrolino, summed up Wayne’s work:
Wayne Hart’s work offers a unique juxtaposition – upholding traditional letter-carving methods while simultaneously being contemporary and innovative. His passion for his craft and meticulous manner come across in every aspect of the work that he produces. Wayne’s craftsmanship and creativity are already at an impressive stage and his plans to continue pushing forward with his practice and technical development will surely make him one to watch.
Wayne has already been awarded a number of prestigious scholarships from the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, the Worshipful Company of Masons, the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies, the Finn Family Fund, the Bishop of Norwich and a number of smaller charities. His work is increasingly recognised, and can also be seen in the base of the clock tower in the University’s London Road campus.
When the Pencil to Pixel exhibition opened in Wapping last November, visitors were treated to a rare selection of typeface design and type-making objects from the Monotype Archive. The inspiring exhibition was accompanied by a special issue of the Monotype Recorder celebrating the work of Robin Nicholas, and an exceptional special issue of Eye magazine.
Today the exhibition announced the dates and location for its New York City run, in May. The exhibition is supported by the Department (which also claims amongst its alumni the curators of the exhibition).
We are the first institution, with Goldsmiths, to support the campaign to include design in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc), a proposed new qualification. Currently, the EBacc will require pupils to achieve a certificate in five subject areas: maths, English, sciences, languages (ancient and modern) and humanities (defined as only history or geography). This formulation has been widely criticised for its exclusion of creative subjects, and sparked a widely supported campaign to include design in the core subjects of the qualification. The list of organisations and companies backing the campaign reads like a roster of design excellence, across the sector.
The case for design’s contribution to the economy was recently made by the Design Commission’s Restarting Britain: Design Education and Growth report, supported by the Design Council and other organisations. Its text makes a strong case for the contribution of the creative sector to the UK economy in terms of GDP, employment, and innovation. In particular, it highlights design’s role in inter-disciplinary skills that are essential for innovation and enterprise. Design is an enabling sector, without which many seemingly unrelated industries cannot function effectively: for example, advances in science rely on design for their commercial application, and successful differentiation. For Typography’s point of view, this is especially pertinent in a global market where using textual and visual information in meaningful ways is increasingly the product itself, separate from any rendering environments.