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.

Successful undergraduate summer research project

Mel and Peter

Congratulations go to Part 3 students, Mel Towriss and Peter Loveland (pictured above) who, over the summer, took part in the University’s Undergraduate Research Opportunity Programme (UROP) and worked with Centre for Information Design Research. Their project examined how on-screen text format affected people’s reading speed and comprehension, as well as people’s views on which text formats were most appropriate for different purposes. The texts used for the study dealt with employers’ responsibilities to run a payroll and were drawn from the GOV.UK web site. Mel and Peter found strong agreement among study participants regarding the text formats; for example, what might be appropriate for beginner or professional readers of the information. Reading times for the different formats did not differ significantly across format but there were differences in comprehension of the information they presented. Mel and Peter were runners up in a research poster  competition for all students taking part in the UROP scheme and will be taking their poster to the 2015 British Conference of Undergraduate Research.

Branding workshop with Part 3 students

Chris Washington-Sare and students working on the brand proposition for There4Reading.

Chris Washington-Sare and students working on the brand proposition for There4Reading. 

Alumnus Chris Washington-Sare (1985-89), from Pentatonic Marketing, joined us this week to deliver an all-day workshop on ‘How to help charities develop their marketing proposition’ for Part 3 students, as part of their current practical project, ‘Not-for-profit branding and design thinking’.

Learning through a series of short presentations, group work and practical exercises, students were able to develop a marketing strategy for real charity clients ‘More than Food’ (a Trussell Trust food bank initiative), Team Berkshire (a initiative of Get Berkshire Active), There4Reading (Youth Volunteering in Reading) and Kileva (Helping communities in Kenya).

Students gained marketing insights on brand values, the importance of a vision and mission, how to understand and present the functional and emotional benefits of an organisation, how to identify the points of differentiation, and the brand personality. The day ended with a session on social identity and the use of semiotics in branding.

Our students loved it:

“I found the branding workshop very informative and worthwhile. It was useful to look at the project from a marketing perspective rather than as a designer. This gave me and my team a clearer understanding of our competitors, target audience and our charities vision.”

“The day was structured well, as we went through the process right from the beginning to the end. This gave chronology and a greater clarity to how the brand develops from initial research to a vision/mission/values which begin to hint at the imagery of the brand.”

Typography has a special relationship with many of our alumni. We very much value their contributions to ensure that our current students can see where their experience at Reading might lead.

Student competitor analysis for ‘More than Food’ looking at Points-of-Parity and Points-of-Difference.

Student competitor analysis for ‘More than Food’ looking at Points-of-Parity and Points-of-Difference.