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Read about Reading

Baseline #55If you can find yourself a copy of the current issue of Baseline (number 55, Summer 2008) you'll find a nice little profile of the stuff that goes on at the Typography Department at Reading.

[Baseline's website doesn't seem to do permalinks, so here's the excerpt. Find the article, though: it has more stuff and pretty pictures, too.]

The department has the longest established record of any university devoted to research into typography and information design. The staff summarise their interests as ‘design for reading’. Approximately fifty percent of the department’s activity is devoted to research and post-graduate work, so it is not surprising therefore that it has been awarded the top rating for research quality on two occasions (1992 and 2001) in the British universities’ Research Assessment Exercise.

The range of taught masters courses includes MAs in Book Design (course tutor Paul Luna); Information Design (course tutors Paul Stiff and Rob Waller); and Typeface Design (course tutor Gerry Leonidas); and an MA (Res) in Typography and Graphic Communication (course tutor Mary Dyson).

Reading is unique in having rich collections of historic lettering, printing and design. These include the archive of the Otto and Marie Neurath Isotype Collection; a collection of more than 20,000 items of printed ephemera; and several archives of twentieth century designers.

Research centres

The department also has two research centres. The Centre for Ephemera Studies is based upon the collection of printed ephemera which reflect everyday life in the past. More recently, Rob Waller has joined the department after twenty years in practice, and established the Simplification Centre. The primary aim of this is to conduct research on information design and make this accessible to organisations which communicate with the public on complex matters. One of the department’s impressive range of recent and currently funded research projects are described below (see issue 55 for the full article).

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