Category: teaching

Professor Michael Twyman on forms design and the history of forms

(Cross posting from Centre for Information Design Research)

We are delighted to be able to point you to a video of one of a series of seminars for masters students and postgraduate researchers in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication. The seminars, covering a range of topics, are given during the academic year by Professor Emeritus Michael Twyman.

This seminar focuses on the design of forms and its history, and draws together the Department’s research interests both in the history of printing and graphic communication and in the design of information for its users. The seminar demonstrates the use of material from collections and archives, which has been a key part of the Department’s approach to teaching and research since the 1970s.

We are grateful to the Friends of the University for funding the preparation of this recording.

Part 3s in Ravensburg

Part 3 Typography students en route to Ravensburg

Erasmus-supported Teaching Fellow, Sara Chapman and nine of our Part 3s spent Week 6 in Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg (DHBW) in the mediaeval town of Ravensburg, Germany.

Students from both Reading and Ravensburg were working on the same ‘New Blood’ briefs from the D&AD 2017 competition.

Everyone enjoyed a very creative, inspiring and positive week away, during which both students and teachers were able to share skills and approaches.

After an intensive week working together in the shared studio space — sometimes up to ten hours a day — each student made a short presentation to the group about their project.

Students from Reading found that the Ravensburg emphasis on idea generation and conceptual thinking generated some unusual responses. Solutions tended to include a wider variety of multi-media outputs such sculpture, installation, and film making, as well as graphics. In comparison, the Reading approach was more pragmatic and decisive; we have a tendency to identify problems quickly, and use quite tight processes to solve them.

Whilst the Department has enjoyed an individual student exchange relationship with Ravensburg for some years, this was a new development in that a greater number of students could experience a short time in Germany, that complimented their degree studies. We hope to invite German students on a return trip, and also to repeat the collaboration in Spring 2018.

We are grateful for the support from the Ernest Hoch fund for covering the students’ competition entry fees and IMAGINE for covering the students’ travel costs.

Minister for disabled people visits Reading

Dr Jeanne-Louise Moys and our recent graduate Ryzard Akita showcased Ryzard's inclusive design project at yesterday's Ministerial visit to the University
Dr Jeanne-Louise Moys with graduate Ryzard Akita following their presentations to the Minister
Penny Mordaunt, Minister for disabled people, health and work visited the University yesterday to find out more about our transformative Breaking down Barriers project on inclusive design.
Penny Mordaunt, MP visited the University to meet our Breaking down Barriers team.

Yesterday, Penny Mordaunt, Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work visited the University of Reading to find out more about our transformative Breaking down Barriers (BdB) project.

BdB focuses on embedding inclusive design in our curricula across the University. Typography have been highly involved in the project from its inception and were proud to present the ways in which we are engaging with inclusive design across a range of applications including digital, print and wayfinding design.

In particular, we were pleased to welcome Ryzard Akita, one of our 2016 graduates who is now working as a user experience designer, back to Reading. Ryzard presented his final year self-directed project – an innovative mobile app for visually-impaired users – to the Minister. Some of our recent MA and undergraduate dissertations on inclusive design were also on display for the event.

The Minister also engaged with some of the simulation tools we have been using in our courses to increase students’ awareness of the everyday challenges people face in terms of mobility, dexterity and visibility. She praised the project, saying: “Inclusivity and accessibility should be at the forefront of good design, and I’m delighted to see the University of Reading leading the way with their Breaking down Barriers scheme.”

Soapbox host one of our typography summer placements

IMG_0923 copy
Visiting student Gabriela Lyrio Assreuy (far right) joined design studio Soapbox for her summer placement. Gabriela is pictured here with Soapbox’s team of Reading alumni from our BA and MA programmes (from left to right): Žiga Kropivišek, Megan Weston, Francesca Romano and Rachel Bray. Photo: Cormac Bakewell

Our Part 2 visiting student, Gabriela Lyrio Assreuy is spending her summer enjoying a stimulating, two-month placement at Soapbox. The London-based studio specialises in design that ‘helps leading policy, research and advocacy organisations to communicate their ideas’ and is the home to a number of Typography alumni from our BA and MA programmes (see pic). 

Gabriela says: ‘At Soapbox I’m having the opportunity to watch closely how a successful design studio is run and how to deal with real demands, clients and timelines. Besides that, I have been able to work alongside other designers in different sorts of projects mostly permeating print design, such as publication design, infographics, branding. From typesetting to creative design processes, I am putting my abilities to practice and gaining new valuable skills and knowledge that will be essential to build a successful career.’

Soapbox designer and MAID alumnus, Žiga Kropivšek commented: ‘Introducing new colleagues to the work process is always a struggle, that is why working with Gabriela has been such a delight. She was very quick to learn all the tricks and, coming from Reading, we knew she would have a sharp eye for typographic detail. It has been very valuable for our company that we could entrust her with more complex jobs so quickly and her ambitiousness and creativity surprise us again and again.’

Gabriela is a visiting student from Brazil. She has spent this year at Reading as part of the Ciência sem Fronteiras (Science without Borders) scheme. Since 2013–4,Typography & Graphic Communication have hosted three visiting students as part of this scheme. It’s been great having Gabriela in our part 2 cohort and we wish her well as she returns to her studies in Brazil.

Presses in action for open days

IMG_1300

Thank you to all our prospective applicants and their parents who visited the Department on Friday and Saturday as part of the University’s Open Days. We hope you enjoyed the displays and workshops as much as we did.

If you didn’t have enough time to view the BA Graphic Communication final display, you can still see some display highlights on the show website.

If you want more information about studying with us, please email our departmental admissions team (Lauren, James and Jeanne-Louise) at graphiccommunication@reading.ac.uk.

Our next round of Open Days will be in October. Once again, we’ll be inking up the presses so that visitors can print a memento of their visit and get a taste of our hands-on experiential learning approach. There will be also be new digital and print displays of student work to view. For more information about open days at Reading, click here.

Alumni visit to help with data visualisation with Part 2s

We were very pleased to welcome alumni Craig Melvin to the Department during our recent Part 2 ‘Data Visualisation’ project.

Craig Melvin from TDL London giving feedback to Part 2 Students
Craig Melvin from TDL London giving feedback to Part 2 Students

The Part 2 brief was to create an awareness-raising poster and short animation about some aspect of either ‘Climate Change’ or ‘The Refugee Crisis’. Students presented found data using a combination of graphs, charts, diagrams, tables, maps and infographics. The challenge was to tell a story and find ways of engaging interest whilst being accurate, factual and informative.

Craig graduated from our BA course in 2014 and went to work for TDL London, a design agency founded in 2005 by MA Information Design alumni, Oliver Tomlinson. TDL London specialise in using diagrams and design methods to transform information. They use a combination of Process Charts, Explanatory Diagrams, User Journeys, Illustrated Storyboards, Maps & Locations, Data Visualisation and Interactive Diagrams. Craig spent the day giving insightful feedback to small groups of students. He also showed some of his recent work for a refugee charity (pictured below), and told students about his experience of moving on from the Department into the world of work.

RDG101_Reading Presentation_090316 (Short)-18

Inclusive design workshops for print and digital design

This week our part 2 undergraduates participated in exciting inclusive design workshops as part of the Breaking down Barriers project. Students wore simulation gloves to discover how conditions such as arthritis may affect user experience across print and digital design. Read more about the inclusive workshops here.

Raj in gloves
Rajan Dole exploring how paper stock can influence inclusive design
Louise in gloves
Louise Lee wearing simulation gloves to experience the challenges people with arthritis experience when interacting with mobile devices

Enhancing employability: our partnership with DPS

DPS internship imageDesign & Print Studio (DPS) contributes significantly to our BA programme through modules in professional practice, more usually known as the ‘real jobs’ scheme. Students gain confidence through the proximity of a working design and production office, as this year’s degree show publications for Art and Typography demonstrate. And in a real vote of confidence in our current crop of students, DPS has just announced a paid-for internship for a graduating BA student starting this summer.

Part 3 branding project

Students present a brand proposal for Friends of Hlekweni, fundraising charity for training and education organisation in Hlekweni, Zimbabwe.
Students present a brand proposal for Friends of Hlekweni, fundraising charity for training and education organisation in Hlekweni, Zimbabwe.

Coinciding with a celebration of the work of Ken Garland and in the spirit of the First Things First manifesto, Part 3 students took on five not-for-profits and social enterprises to ‘brand’ as their last project of Part 3. Thirty-seven students worked for five clients: Charmian Allright from The Luton Hoo Childrens’ Book Festival, Don Rowe from Friends of Hlekweni — a charity fundraising for the Quaker Training Centre in Hlekweni, Zimbabwe, Nikandre Kopke from Mazímas — a roaming restaurant to showcase the cuisine of socially marginalised women, Lucy Colbeck and Owen Everett from Watford Food Revolution — a food coop campaigning for the benefits of local food, and Simon Chapman from Notmymum.com — a student accommodation swap.

The project lasts for four weeks, and brings together skills learned over three years. It is an opportunity to work on a relatively open brief from a real client, in any direction that students think appropriate, and plays to their particular interest or skill areas — for instance, the Childrens’ Book Festival inspired students to make their own illustrations, one of the Mazímas groups made a bespoke typeface, one of the Watford Food Revolution made their own video, and one of the Notmymum.com groups coded their own interfaces for a website and app. More images of their work here.

Students present branding proposal for Mazímas, together from scratch, roaming restaurant to showcase the cuisine of socially marginalised women.
Students present branding proposal for Mazímas, roaming restaurant to showcase the cuisine of socially marginalised wome