Typography tops the bill in the REF

Typography & Graphic Communication is proud to have achieved the highest GPA score (3.51) in UoA 34 (Art and Design: History, Practice, Theory), and the best REF result at the University of Reading.

Our overall score was: 56 per cent 4*; 39 per cent 3*; 5 per cent 2*.

Typography’s research covers the history, theory and practice of ‘design for reading’, with particular emphasis on information design, typeface design and book design. Research submitted to the REF included monographs, papers in refereed journals, type design and book design practice, and exhibition design and curation: 46 per cent was given the highest grade, described as ‘world leading’, and a 46 per cent was thought to be ‘internationally excellent’.

Typography’s high-scoring impact result (70 per cent assessed as 4*) reflected Departmental strategy of developing research projects with direct input from research users or with a clear view of the potential public benefit of the research.

Enriching communities of literacy, on the design of typefaces for world scripts traced how Departmental research has been used by organisations including Adobe, Microsoft and Nokia to create access to communication for large language communities, many of which have not, previously, had access to technology using their own scripts.

Designing information for everyday reading demonstrated how wide-ranging Departmental research into the design of functional documents, both historically and in current applied contexts, provided a knowledge base for collaborative projects with government departments (National Offender Management Service, the Cabinet Office and HMRC) which influenced their practices and brought benefit to the public they serve. Public exhibition of some of the Department’s research has changed perceptions of the development and role of communication in civic society.

Typography student winner of University MA prize

We’re very pleased that Tomoko Yamamoto, who recently completed the MA in Information Design, was awarded the University’s Outstanding Taught Postgraduate Student award at her graduation on Friday.

To be eligible for the prize, a student must achieve distinction-level grades in every one of the modules they study as part of their Master’s programme. The award is then made to the student with the highest mark for their dissertation, and the highest overall weighted average mark. This year competition was fierce, with 20 students from subjects across the University achieving distinction marks in every module.

The award was presented to Tomoko by the Chancellor, Sir John Madejski. Ole Lund, programme director for Information Design, said ‘This award is a wonderful recognition of Tomoko’s hard work and we are very proud of her achievement.’ Professor Peter Miskell, Taught Postgraduate Recruitment Project Leader, commented ‘This clearly reflects well not just on Tomoko’s outstanding performance, but also on the Department more widely, and the calibre of students Typography & Graphic Communication is able to recruit.’

Tomoko, whose dissertation topic was the communication of tsunami evacuation procedures, joined the MA programme to consolidate professional experience she had gathered in medical research communication. She is planning to continue her career in information design research.

Reading presence at the New York & London Art Book Fairs

MoMA

Last week saw the annual, simultaneously programmed, Art Book Fairs at MoMA PS1 in New York and the Whitechapel Gallery in London. Contributors from the Typography Department’s Art Information symposium, first staged in April at London’s ICA, presented again in New York and organiser Ruth Blacksell was invited to talk at NYCUs Artists Institute space in Manhattan. John Morgan, who will follow on at the Artists Institute this Autumn, presented live at the London Fair with his sell-out Whitechapel event ‘I will not make any more boring books’. Amongst the plethora of conference presentations and events across locations, other highlights included AA Bronson in conversation (London), the ‘Unbinding the book’ projects (London), ‘Publishing as research and development’ featuring the web-based magazines Triple Canopy and East of Borneo (NY), Norway’s Kunstnerbøker focus (NY), David Reinfurt of Dexter Sinister on Bruno Munari (NY) and Emily McVarish from California College of the Arts on the book designs of Phil Zimmerman (NY).

NY Art Book Fair

The London Art Book Fair at the Whitechapel Gallery

Xerox

Printed Matter

Thesaurus of ephemera terms

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.

Ephemera Thesaurus

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 ephthes@reading.ac.uk.

 

Getting from A to B: inspiration from the archives

 

AAroutepage

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

Art Information symposium at the ICA – Saturday 26 April 2014

This one-day event looks at acts of publishing in contemporary art & curatorial practice.Aspen#4_box_McLuhan_inside

Organised by Ruth Blacksell, Programme Director of the MA in Book Design, this event features presentations by Jo Melvin, Chelsea College of Arts, London; Lucy Mulroney, Syracuse University Special Collections Research Center, New York; Stuart Bailey, Dexter Sinister/The Serving Library, New York; and John Russell, Professor of Art at the University of Reading. Click here for more information and tickets.

Postgraduate Taught Open Day Thursday 20 March 2014

MA Book Design
MA Information Design
MA(Res) Typography & Graphic Communication

We will be holding a Postgraduate Open Day at the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication on Thursday 20 March 2014. The day is primarily aimed at students who are interested in pursuing a Masters degree with us.

The itinerary for the day is as below:
• 10.30 Coffee
• 10.45 Introduction to the Department
• 11.00 Information sessions on MA programmes
• 13:00 Opportunity to sit in on a seminar

Please email Zoe Ryan if you are interested in attending, or if you have any questions.

Banks and Miles Christmas tins and drums

2014-01

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.

Michael Twyman awarded Sir Misha Black Medal

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.’