Category: publications

Design Issues: visual essays

Sue Walker joins Design Issues as Associate Editor, Archives to develop visual essays that derive from high quality collections and archives of design-related materials worldwide.

Design Issues, the first American academic journal to examine design history, theory, and criticism, provokes enquiry into the cultural and intellectual issues surrounding design. It is one of the world’s foremost research journals and a flagship product of MIT Press.

 Call for contributions

We are looking for visual essays that explain an important and interesting ‘design issue’, from any period, through images from a collection or archive. This might be

  • a set of related images that explains something, or tells a story, of cultural or social importance
  • a set of seemingly unrelated images that, when accompanied by verbal explanation, become linked together to tell something new
  • a series of single images that each represent a significant cultural or social issue

Each essay will be six black-and-white pages designed by MA Book Design students at the University of Reading, under the supervision of the Programme Director, Ruth Blacksell. The published material will have to be accompanied by copyright clearance on all the visual material.

Send proposals, or ideas for discussion, to:

Prof Sue Walker
Department of Typography & Graphic Communication
University of Reading
Reading RG6 2AU


Using collections in research







Just published in the Journal of Design History, a paper by Sue Walker based on material in the Otto and Marie Neurath Collection, discusses an iconic series of books for children. ‘Explaining history to children: Otto and Marie Neurath’s work on the Visual History of Mankind’ is part of the AHRC-funded ‘Isotype revisited’ project

Full Text:

Type in Europe

James Mosley and Alice Savoie are contributors to a new book published to coincide with the Congrès des Musées Européens de l’Imprimerie in Lyon. James Mosley contributes an inventory of ‘the materials of typefounding’, while Alice (who is an AHRC-funded research student) writes with Alan Marshall and Bernadette Moglia on ‘our typographic heritage’.

Copies are available from

La lettre en Europe

Whatever Next

Whatever Next

Founded by Camberwell Press‘ creative director, James Edgar, Whatever Next: a discourse in typography is an exhibition and book stemming from a series of conversations that took place in 2011. The discussions are prefaced by four essays, one of which is by Gerry Leonidas. The book will be launched at the Kemistry Gallery on 4 October, with a corresponding exhibition of visual responses to the discussions by contributors. The exhibition will run until 20 October, and is open daily 10:00–18:00, and 11:00–16:00 on Saturdays.

Reading types in Oxford English dictionaries

Parable type in the New Oxford Dictionary of English

Many of the various printed editions of Oxford dictionaries are now typeset principally in Parable, a typeface designed by Christopher Burke, Research Fellow in the Department. These include the Concise, Compact, Paperback, Pocket, Little, and Colour Oxford Dictionary as well as the Oxford Paperback Thesaurus. Parable is also used effectively in the Oxford Dictionary of English (pictured) – a hefty hardback representing contemporary usage – for the entry texts, alongside Frutiger and Argo (designed by our Visiting Professor, Gerard Unger).

Christopher designed Parable between 1996 and 2002, specifically for use at small typesizes in books such as dictionaries and bibles. It was introduced into the Oxford dictionary range in 2004 by OUP designer Michael Johnson (also an alumnus of the department) when he was redesigning the Concise Oxford Dictionary. At Michael’s request, Christopher designed an alternative italic ampersand especially for the entry ‘ampersand’, because the dictionary’s editors were uncomfortable with Parable’s Granjonesque one. (See more about this here.)