Typography is very pleased to announce an exciting new Goodwill Partnership between the Centre for Ephemera Studies (one of our research centres) and the John Johnson Collection at the Bodleian Library (University of Oxford). Commenting on this new initiative, Julie Anne Lambert, Librarian of the John Johnson Collection said:
The John Johnson Collection is delighted to partner the Centre for Ephemera Studies at the University of Reading. Our joint aim is to further the academic and popular potential of ephemera to cast light on the everyday lives of our forebears through the documents they themselves saw and handled. We are particularly excited to work with the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication in exploring the materiality of ephemera in their (often innovative) design and printing.
The Partnership will include working together on exhibitions, symposia, funding applications, projects with postgraduate and undergraduate students, and sharing of expertise on cataloguing, conservation, and print identification and conservation. It will reinforce the potential of ephemera to engage academics from a wide range of disciplines as well as the public.
Professor Roberta Gilchrist, Research Dean for Heritage and Creativity at Reading supports the collaboration:
The University of Reading warmly welcomes the new partnership between the Centre for Ephemera Studies and the Bodleian Library, John Johnson Collection. The collaboration will highlight the rich potential of ephemera to illuminate the history of everyday life and to inspire new approaches to printing and design.
The examples below are from the Rickards Collection and the John Johnson Collection.
Our experienced supervisors welcome applications in the history, theory and practice of design for reading. Here are some of our recent and current PhD topics
If you have any ideas do get in touch with Sue Walker for an informal chat, and to discuss funding opportunities.
Why not join us as an AHRC-funded Design Star student?
Our Graduate School at Reading is excellent, and provides a stimulating environment.
And the experience we provide in Typography is world leading, not least because much of our PhD work is supported by our outstanding collections and archives, and the research training we provide.
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
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’
A collections-based research exhibition about typography and illustration in books for teaching reading from the 1880s to the 1960s.
Monday 11 January 2016 to Friday 18 March 2016
Open from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm, Monday to Friday
Department of Typography & Graphic Communication, ToB2, Earley Gate
More information from Laura Weill email@example.com
The use of typography and illustration in reading books for children has changed during the last hundred years. There has been a gradual shift from graphic conventions determined by printing and typesetting practice for adult readers to those more appropriate for beginning and emerging readers. Illustrations have become more important and many reading schemes used known artists to create the much-loved characters who featured in the narrative.
The name of HMS Victory, launched in 1765, the oldest ship of the Royal Navy that is still in commission, has been repainted. The name had been painted when the vessel was refurbished in 2005 for the two-hundredth anniversary of the battle of Trafalgar, but unfortunately the style used was Trajan, the Roman inscriptional letter that was quite unknown in England in 1805. Since the ship was being repainted during 2015 in a colour that is believed to be closer to that used in 1805, the opportunity was taken to repaint the name at the stern, using the ‘English vernacular’, the bold traditional style of lettering that is believed to have been in use at that date. The model for the style was engraved lettering by George Bickham. There was also guidance from contemporary paintings, and from scale models of 18th-century warships at the National Maritime Museum.
The letters were painted by Phil Surey from drawings by Adrien Vasquez of John Morgan Studios. Advice and historical research was by James Mosley.
In November 2013 Typography’s Centre for Ephemera Studies (CES) published a Thesaurus of Ephemera Terms, which is freely available for download here, in two versions: alphabetical and top term order.
Top term report
At present there are no plans to provide a searchable version. While not wishing to undermine the integrity of the thesaurus it is understood that users will adapt it for their own purposes as circumstances change.
We would welcome any comments and suggestions for improvement received before the end of 2014, as we intend to issue a revised version in 2015.
Please send comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our collection of twentieth-century town plans, road maps and route plans includes four AA Route Sheets that were individually made in the 1940s for the trips members wanted to take.
The little booklets contain a combination of directions, maps, town plans and points of interest. The routes outlined in our recent acquisitions are London to Bournemouth, London to Liverpool, Chiswick to Middlesbrough and Middlesbrough back to Chiswick. They contain ‘places of interest’ descriptions of parts of the route: ‘Much pleasant woodland & some high ground after leaving Winchester’ as well as a detailed account of the route, in an abbreviated form that makes sense in context: ‘under second rly.br.bear lt.into’.
By 1948 AA membership returned to the pre-war level of over 700,000 and demand for routes like these increased rapidly, particularly when petrol rationing ended in 1950. The evocative ‘places of interest’ information was dropped at this time when details of the return route were added to the reverse of the route sheets. These route guides were the Sat Nav of their day, ideal for people that wanted a handy set of instructions on how to get from A to B.
Laura Weill, Typography Collections assistant
We are delighted to draw attention to some items from the Banks & Miles Collection. This lovely set of 17 tins and drums were kindly donated by the once chief architect to the Zoological Society of London. Colin Banks and John Miles were the society’s typographical and graphic design consultants. The donor was also a close friend of the duo at the time.
These tins and drums were sent out by Banks and Miles each Christmas to clients and associates, each relating to design work they had done that year. The examples in the collection range from the late 1960s- mid 1980s. Some of the tubs even contain their original contents.
Our examples include a London Underground design, dating to 1979, when Banks and Miles revised Edward Johnston’s classic sans for London Transport. This drum contains two napkins with a red underground logo reading ‘Banks and Miles’. Another using the distinctive British Telecom design, this contains a very helpful international dialing code card. In 1975, they referenced their iconic work with the Post Office, turning the tub into a mini post box.
These are such lovely objects, especially those containing their original gifts, showcasing some really great examples of classic British Design.
We are delighted to announce that Professor Michael Twyman has been awarded the 2014 Sir Misha Black Medal for his contribution to design education.
Professor Sue Walker recalls:
‘Writing about ‘Typography as a university subject’ in 1970, Michael identified four ‘basic beliefs’ that governed the structure of the Reading course:
- the visual form of typography should relate closely to the language used and its organisation reflect and reinforce its meaning;
- typographic designers should understand the technical means at their disposal;
- the reader must be respected;
- typographic design is planning in relation to the above three, usually in the context of a client, an organisation, a budget and a deadline.
These statements are still relevant today, and have influenced the approach to design taken by our students.’