Adobe’s “Hidden Treasures” programme kicks off the typographic commemoration of the forthcoming centenary of the Bauhaus school by releasing four revivals based on lettering by Bauhaus staff. Drawing on original material in the archives of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, a group of current typeface design students were selected to work on digitising the original lettering, extrapolating the missing letterforms and characters to fill out the required character set, and adapt the designs for digital formats. The fast-paced project was led and supervised by Ferdinand Ulrich and Erik Spiekermann, and included in-person meetings in Berlin and Dessau, online collaboration, and a launch event in New York City.
Each of the four typefaces were revived by a student from a typeface design course: Hidetaka Yamasaki, a current MA Typeface Design student, worked on lettering by Carl Marx; Céline Hurka from the KABK on letters by Alfred Arndt; Luca Pellegrini from the ECAL on lettering by Xanti Schawinsky; Elia Preuss from HGB Leipzig worked on letters by Reinhold Rossig; and Flavia Zimbardi on letters by Joost Schmidt. The typefaces are released gradually through Typekit’s subscription service to professionals using Adobe’s dominant suite of applications, and are a superb example of archival material inspiring contemporary design.
The New York-based TDC announced that Professor Fiona Ross, a long-standing member of staff in the Department and Curator of the Non-Latin Collections, will be the thirty first person to receive the prestigious TDC Medal. Fiona joins an illustrious list of past recipients which include David Berlow, Colin Brignall, Matthew Carter, Adrian Frutiger, Gerrit Noordzij, Paula Scher, Erik Spiekermann, and last year our colleague Gerard Unger.
Fiona began her career in type in 1978 working at Linotype, where she rose to lead the non-Latin department as the company’s first female manager. She has been responsible for the design of many typefaces for South Asian scripts that have become the standards for reading matter, and sources for numerous imitations. Her work began with typefaces for newspapers, and nowadays extends to the full range of font resources for text typography, from typefaces for online documents to user interfaces, to webfonts. Notable recent projects include her contribution to the typefaces for the Murty Classical Library of India series by Harvard University Press, the Bengali typefaces for the Anandabazar Patrika (ABP), and the Arabic Markazi Text.
Central to Fiona’s contribution is her ongoing research, and her engagement in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication. Fiona is a key staff member for our MA Typeface Design programme and TDi summer course, a contributor to the MARes Typography & Graphic Communication and the MRes Typeface Design, and supervisor of many PhDs. She is a key proponent of Collections-based teaching, and in her role as Curator of the Department’s non-Latin Collections regularly leads sessions with archival material for students and researchers at all levels.
More details of the Medal ceremony can be found on the TDC site.
We’re pleased to announce the continuation of our exhibition, ‘Letterpress: possibilities & practice’, until Friday 20 July 2018. Stop by to see a range of innovative letterpress practices and possibilities. To tempt you, two practices in the exhibition are featured below. Read on!
Reconstructing historical typography
Letterpress printing practice encompasses scholarly investigations of historical typography in pursuit of new knowledge. The two examples on display here involve the reconstruction of fifteenth-century relief printing surfaces in an effort to better understand the production of well known incunable works. The type on the left (in the image, below) is a facsimile of that used in Gutenberg’s 42-line Bible, printed in 1455. It has been composed to replicate a page from that book. The type was produced as part a BBC Four documentary, ‘The machine that made us’, on the life and work of Johannes Gutenberg, featuring Alan May alongside Martin Andrews and Stephen Fry. On the right are type and decorated borders and initials that together comprise a speculative reconstruction of the relief surfaces used to print a multi-coloured page from the 1457 Mainz Psalter of Fust & Schoeffer. The reconstruction was part of a research project to investigate Fust & Schoeffer’s probable working methods.
Re-invention of historical technique
This work has been created by the Leipzig designer, Pierre Pané-Farré. It takes its inspiration from compound-plate printing, a nineteenth-century technique that exploited multiple interlocking printing surfaces. Inked separately (in different colours) and then combined, a single impression would be taken from the interlocking surfaces, resulting in precisely aligned multicolour printed images. Pané-Farré has revisited the technique using laser-cut MDF printing surfaces, which produced the various sets of interlocking components displayed here. Ink was applied to each component in the set, either as ‘flat’ colour or in graduated hues. The set was then printed in a single impression to produce the polychromatic prints. The project was accompanied by the publication of Die polychrome Druckerei (Leipzig: Institut für Buchkunst, 2014), which reproduces the prints in four-colour offset lithography. Pané-Farré cites Michael Twyman’s book, Printing 1770–1970 (1970), and Maureen Greenland’s doctoral thesis, ‘Compound-plate printing: a study of a nineteenth-century colour printing process’ (University of Reading, 1996), as starting points for his work.
‘Women in type: a social history of women’s role in type-drawing offices, 1910–90’ is a new three-year research project now underway in the Department, funded by the Leverhulme Trust and led by Professor Fiona Ross. The project team includes Dr Alice Savoie and Dr Helena Lekka. For more information about this exciting and timely project, see the Leverhulme Trust’s newsletter for January 2018 (p. 11).
An exhibition in the Department
Until 28 April 2018
Letterpress printing has never lacked dedicated practitioners since its decline as a mainstream commercial printing process. But its conspicuous use in recent years – in the UK, Germany, Italy, USA, Brazil and many other places – is evidence of a resurgent interest in letterpress as an engine for research, design and making. Driving this interest is in part a renewed valuation of the materiality of print as a counterweight to the disembodied digital form of much present-day typography and graphic communication.
Recent letterpress practices are renovating and expanding the process. This exhibition presents some of these practices, alongside complementary examples from the 1980s and 90s. They involve the exploration of print effects, the visual formation of language, the reconstruction or reinvention of historical technique, the reconfiguration of letterpress in ‘post-digital’ form, and more. Taken together, the work on display suggests that letterpress printing continues to offer many possibilities for scholarly, speculative and commercial endeavour.
Practices on display:
Reconstruction of historical typography: Gutenberg, Fust & Schoeffer
(Martin Andrews, Alan May)
Impressions of historical types: Louis John Pouchée
(Ian Mortimer, James Mosley)
Re-invention of historical technique: compound-plate printing
Independent workshop practice
(Alan Kitching / The Typography Workshop, London; p98a, Berlin)
Independent book production
(Juliet Shen, Bram de Does, Giulia Garbin and Stefano Riba)
This week, Part 2 Graphic Communication students completed the inclusive design component of their integrated design modules. Building on the series of workshops (see BdB blog) we did earlier in the term and relevant readings, on Monday, students presented seminar papers to their peers on particular aspects of inclusive design.
Students discussed and debated, aspects such as:
The principles of inclusive design and how designers can make these achievable in real life projects
How design briefs often tend to create segregation and how designers can develop more inclusive solutions to briefs
The clear print debate – what the guidelines are, who they are for and how implementing these can differ for professional designers and everyday communicators
The challenges and key considerations of inclusive design for screen – including the use of colour, images, sound and navigation
Key debates and typographic research for inclusive design for children’s reading, focusing on readers who may have dyslexia or visual impairments
Inclusive wayfinding – including challenges and innovative proposals for solutions in contemporary design practice.
Students commented that the inclusive design workshops, readings and seminars they have done have helped them become “more consciously aware” of how important it is to consider inclusive design in their own work and how designers may have to take responsibility for designing inclusively for a range of users. The highlighted how it is important to realise that the people they are designing for are probably “not the same as you (the designer)” and that inclusive design is “not just being aware” but about embedding inclusive practices in our industry. They also noted that these seminars had made them aware that there is “not enough research” about inclusive design within our discipline.
Calling small design practices, architects, information designers and pharmacists
Are you interested in how the design of space and information impacts on behavior and consumer choice? Do you want to work in public health and wellbeing? Do you want to develop research in practice? Are you up for the challenge of interdisciplinary work in the community?
About our research project
How can architectural and information design help in the fight against anti-microbial resistance (AMR)?
Using principles of user-centred design, we are working with pharmacists and pharmacy workers to consider how to ‘improve the knowledge and understanding of antimicrobial resistance’. The AHRC-funded project ‘Information Design and Architecture in Persuasive Pharmacy Space: combating AMR’ (IDAPPS) aims to stimulate ideas for an engaging, inspirational, didactic information space to raise awareness of the dangers of anti-microbial resistance in a community pharmacy.
One of our research outputs is a competition and this is where we’d like your help. Competition teams will begin designing in our Ideas Lab, supported by a team of academics from information design, architecture, pharmacy, and human factors, as well as design and pharmacy practitioners.
Our pharmacy partner is Day Lewis and the winning design will be installed in a Day Lewis pharmacy for evaluation. Interested?
Get more information and how to enter a team for the competition here.
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.
We were delighted to see alumna Coralie Bickford-Smith receive an Honorary doctorate at last week’s graduation.
When she left Reading, Coralie worked for publishers on a freelance basis, and after a short stint with Quadrille Publishing, she went on to join Penguin where she made a name for herself as a highly-respected, award-winning book cover designer.
In her work at Penguin, Coralie has shown particular skill in creating covers for series of books, such as Penguin Pocket Classics, the Cloth-bound Classics and the Gothic Horror. Her skill lies in combining distinctive use of images and patterns, colours, and production processes that derive from understanding of traditional printing techniques. Through her work she has revived the tradition of the decorated cloth-bound book, but such that it has a modern-day feel.
Coralie has said that William Morris and William Blake have been inspired her work. However, it is William Blake – with his immersive and integrative approach to book making – that is best reflected in Coralie’s wonderful book that she authored and illustrated: The Fox and the Star. This compelling story and remarkable illustrations is thoroughly engaging for the reader and demonstrates book design skill at the highest level. For this work has won numerous awards including Waterstones Book of the Year in 2015 and The Academy of British Book Design prize in 2016.
An exhibition in the Department 12 June – 14 July 2017
Emigre magazine, co-founded in California in 1984 by Rudy VanderLans, was a provocative and highly adventurous fusion of self-publishing, critical writing and experimental typography. This exhibition investigates a key period in the development of graphic design as a form of authorship and shows how Emigre’s page designs and typefaces embodied new thinking about the designer’s role in communication.
With an initial print run of 3,000–5,000 copies, the magazine was supported by a design studio, Emigre Graphics, and by a digital type foundry led by VanderLans’ partner Zuzana Licko. Emigre published 69 issues in a range of formats, from tabloid to paperback book, before closing in 2005, and it was probably the most admired, influential and criticised design magazine of its era.
In the 1990s, the idea that graphic design could be a form of authorship was the focus of intense debate among designers. VanderLans created a vital forum for discussion during a period of rapid change and Emigre’s design and content inspired an international network of visual communicators. The magazine was an era-defining example of entrepreneurial design authorship, which still has lessons for self-publishers today, and a platform where designers could explore the relationship of writing and design.
The exhibition, co-curated by MA Book Design student Francisca Monteiro and Prof. Rick Poynor, draws from the University of Reading’s Special Collections and Rick’s personal collection. The display is divided into sections that reflect the range of Emigre’s activities:
Rudy VanderLans as editor
The Emigre type foundry led by Zuzana Licko
VanderLans as a graphic author
The Emigre Music record label Emigre as a space for collaborative authorship for designers and writers Emigre considered in context