Another contribution to the Venice Biennale

Adobe Thai, a typeface designed by Fiona Ross and Tim Holloway, features in this visual project by Zurich-based artist Dafi Kühne – 40 posters in 34 languages – presented at the Biennale in 2012. You can watch the production process on Vimeo:

You can read the artist’s documentation, where he thanks Fiona, research student Titus Nemeth, and MA graduate Toshi Omagari for the help with the non-Latin typeface layouts.

ICON print identification course

ICON print identification course

This week we were pleased to welcome members of the Institute of Conservation, for whom we ran a hands-on print identification course. To find out more about our short courses, including next week’s poster workshop in conjunction with the V&A and the Arts Council England Subject Specialist Network (Wednesday 24 April), contact Diane Bilbey (

We run regular two-day short courses explaining printing ­processes, specially tailored to the needs of librarians, archivists, ­curators, and social historians. Led by Martin Andrews, each day focuses on one of the three main processes – letterpress, lithography, and intaglio – and participants are able to examine original printing materials and prints from the Department’s extensive collections, and try out tools, materials, and techniques in hands-on sessions. By the end of the course you will be able to indentify a wide range of printing procesess, take prints yourself, and use the replica Gutenberg press featured in Stephen Fry’s ­television documentary.

¶ For more information on the Posters SSN, contact Catherine Flood ( at the V&A

Design is not a matter of surface appearance

Typography supports the Design Commission’s launch on 13 March 2013 of Restarting Britain 2: Design and Public Services, and strongly endorses its opening statement: ‘Design is integral to the DNA of each and every public service. Design is not a matter of surface appearance.’

Prof Sue Walker, who contributed written evidence to the Commission, has also been invited to become a member of the Associate Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group (APDIG) to highlight existing work in the design research field that has not yet been exploited by policy makers and those in government, to point to design research as an untapped resource for policy makers. The group will report to a parliamentary seminar in June.

APDIG brings together colleagues from universities recognised for excellent and relevant design research. Information design research has much to offer government and public services through its user-centred and often collaborative methods, as well as through research outcomes that inform the presentation of complex material, in print and online.

An example of research-led information design is the Centre for Information Design Research’s work for the Behavioural Insights Team, a group of economists and psychologists working within the Cabinet Office, to help with a trial they are running to support unemployed people looking for work. Earlier this week the forms were shown in the Independent in a piece describing the impact made during testing.


Pencil to Pixel travels to NYC


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).

Colloquium upcoming: ‘Printed image and decorative print, 1500–1750’

On Friday March 22, Eric Kindel and James Mosley will contribute papers to the one-day colloquium ‘Printed image and decorative print, 1500–1750’ being convened by Reading’s Early Modern Research Centre. They will both present projects and artefacts associated with the Académie Royale des Sciences in Paris. Eric will discuss the invention of stencil duplicating by Christiaan Huygens, and James will explore a text and an unknown iconography of the making of books that were constituents of the Description des Arts et Métiers.

More information

Steen Ejlers on the Danish lettering tradition

Steen Ejlers 2009Danish architect and graphic designer Steen Ejlers wil be talking in the Department on Monday 25 February at 10am about the Danish lettering tradition of the 20th century.

Steen Ejlers is associate professor at the Institute of Design & Communication at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. His current research project ‘Danish Font Design of the 20th Century’ is a culmination of many years of historical interest in type design, and he has published books on Claus Achton Friis, Gunnar Biilmann Petersen, and Ib Andersen.

Reading at the ICA

ICA The MallReading’s new partnership with the ICA was launched tonight, as Typography and Art began a collaboration that will provide a London venue for both departments for teaching and public events, drawing on Reading’s strengths in both disciplines and on the ICA’s ability to connect with a young, vibrant audience. The launch event was preceded by workshop sessions in the ICA’s studio space for MA Book Design and BA students, run by John Morgan and Ruth Blacksell. Watch this space for more news.



Celebrating Ken Garland


Designer, teacher, author, and photographer Ken Garland is celebrated in the current issue of Creative Review. Ken has been associated with the Department since its inception in the 1960s, and generations of students were inspired by his provocative teaching – learning how to think about the ‘why’ of design as well as the ‘how’.

Ken will talk at St Bride on Tuesday 12 February, followed by a panel discussion in which some of Ken’s Reading students – Anne Odling-Smee, Fraser Muggeridge – will take part in a panel discussion chaired by author Adrian Shaughnessy

Ken Garland: Structure and Substance 

Photograph of Ken Garland by Liam Lewis


‘Isotype revisited’ in Vienna


Members of the ‘Isotype revisited’ team, Christopher Burke, Eric Kindel, Michael Twyman and Sue Walker, participated in an interdisciplinary symposium and workshop at the invitation of the University of Vienna and the Institut Wiener Kreis.

The two-day symposium, ‘A tribute to Otto Neurath’, took place at Vienna’s Künstlerhaus gallery and coincided with its exhibition Zeit(lose) Zeichen (Time(less) Signs), featuring work made by artists and designers influenced by Isotype and Neurath. Christopher Burke was among the symposium’s speakers; his talk was on ‘The “Weiner Methode der Bildstatistik” (Isotype): between Art and Design’.


The one-day workshop that followed was hosted by the Institut Wiener Kreis and took place at the University of Vienna. Those from Reading contributed talks about teamwork in making Isotype charts, the children’s books series the ‘Visual History of Mankind’, the making of the public information films directed by Paul Rotha, the outcomes of the ‘Isotype revisited’ project and on-going initiatives at Reading associated with the Isotype Collection.