Web designers go for typefaces

slide from SmashingConf

Kicking off a busy week for Typography staff, Gerry Leonidas spoke to a full hall at Smashing Conference in Freiburg. The new talk focused on typefaces from a web designer’s perspective, and included key notions for evaluating typefaces. Web design professionals are increasingly interested in typography and typeface design, where the Department’s expertise has many contributions to make. By way of a reminder, Marko Dugonjić (amongst many other things, SmashingConf reporter on Twitter) noted:

Crossing Borders in Antwerp

typosium 2014

The ninth Typosium, organised by Initiaal, took place at the Museum Plantin Moretus in Antwerp on 30 August, with the theme Crossing Borders/Genze(n)loos. Our own Jo De Baerdemaeker, Fiona Ross and Gerard Unger were amongst the presenters. Gerard spoke about his Alverata project, a contemporary typeface drawing on romanesque sources and employing a wide range of historically-inspired alternate shapes. Fiona wand Jo conducted a Dialogue on type, looking at a range of projects for global scripts.  Pictures on Jan Van der Linden’s photostream.


Full house at TYPE& in Tokyo

TYPE& Tokyo


Sponsored by Monotype, the 2014 TYPE& events in Tokyo included a masterclass for professional typeface designers, and presentations and panel discussion on multi-script typography and typeface design. The events captured the growing interest by Japanese type foundries to expand into Latin typeface design, and gave an opportunity to discuss Reading’s approach to developing multi-script design skills. Gerry Leonidas ran the masterclass on the first day of the event, and presented on the second, answering many questions on the MA Typeface Design programme’s contribution in the area. Reading alumna and Monotype employee Reiko Hirai was instrumental in the success of the event.

Gerry will be moving to a different part of Tokyo to spend a week at Mushashino Art University, and give a public lecture at the Toppan Printing Museum.

Visit from Mushashino Art University

MAU UoR group photo

MAU visitors and Reading hosts, from left Ms Aki Amitani, Professor Yoshiro Goto, Gerry Leonidas, Toshi Omagari, Professor Gerard Unger, Yui Yoshitomi, Julian Moncada, Mari Kitamura, Akiko Maeda, Yukiko Aoshima.

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).

Monologue explanations

GL at Ampersand

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.

Non-Latin festival in Bangkok

Granshan 2013

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.

Speakers include Typography staff Gerard Unger and Gerry Leonidas, and graduates Paul Hunt and Ben Mitchell.


Exhibiting Aspen

Aspen, described in the 1960s as ‘the first three-dimensional magazine’, was produced in California and published in New York on an irregular schedule from 1965 to 1971. Many leading figures in contemporary North American and European art and cultural criticism were involved in its production as editors, designers or contributors and this, along with its unique format, has contributed to its art historical importance and continued relevance to contemporary art and design practices of today. Rather than bound printed pages, Aspen was issued in a customized box or folder containing a wide range of items including posters, postcards, tickets, booklets, reels of Super-8 movie film and ‘flexi disc’ phonographic recordings. These different published formats turned the magazine into a space where artists were able to move outside the gallery and engage with a broader social and political sphere. As the magazine’s editor Phyllis Johnson put it: ‘Aspen presents actual works of art! Exactly as the artist created them. In exactly the medium s/he created them for.’ Few complete sets of Aspen remain and this exhibition provides a rare opportunity to see items from across all ten issues as well as many important individual pieces which have acquired specific art historical and cultural significance.

Hosted by the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication from 18 June – 2 July 2013 (Monday–Friday / 9am– 5pm). This joint exhibition by the Department of Art and the Department of Typography has been curated and designed by MA Book Designer Lisa Stephanides. The exhibition is supported by the Arts Committee at the University of Reading. We would like to extend our thanks to Professor Alun Rowlands from the University of Reading’s Department of Art for his generosity and support in the loan of this collection.

Reading at ICTVC 5, Nicosia

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.

Reading in Berlin

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.