Dr Michael Harkins publishes new Monograph

Leading publisher Routledge will soon release the ‘Contemporary Processes of Text Typeface Design’ monograph by Dr Michael Harkins, MA Graphic Design Course Leader at the University of Portsmouth.


The Graphic Design Senior Lecturer from the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries will have his book published on 2nd June 2020, as part of the ‘Routledge Research in Design Studies’ monographs and edited editions series, “a new series focusing on the study of design and its effects using analytical and practical methods of inquiry”. Dr Harkins’ academic monograph is based on his PhD thesis and is the first book of its kind to deal with studying expert knowledge in relation to text typeface design.

“This is based on my recent PhD Thesis undertaken at UAL: Central Saint Martins – London (2018), and the research presents developed theories, based upon analysis of knowledge in relation to specifically conducted interviews with world-leading text typeface design experts. I can say that it’s very exciting and a huge honour to have a world-leading publisher such as Routledge produce a monograph from my PhD thesis.”

This book addresses the paucity of published research specifically dealing with knowledge of text typeface design processes. Dr Michael Harkins uses a Grounded Theory Methodology (Glaser & Strauss 1967) to render a tripartite theory resulting in explanation and description of the processes of text typeface design based upon the evidence of subject-specific expert knowledge from world-leading practitioners, including Matthew Carter, Robin Nicholas, Erik Spiekermann, and Gerard Unger.


The monograph renders research that results in a developed Grounded Theory and resolves in three core categories: Trajectorizing, Homologizing and Attenuating. These identify and explain significant characteristics pertaining to the collective expert participants’ knowledge of practice.


A key motivation for this research was that it would benefit future research, practice, and teaching in the subject area by means of establishing a research-based view of the processes of text typeface design. It was anticipated that such an explication of the process would also help establish formal descriptions of knowledge in the area, which in turn, would help toward professionalising specialist subject knowledge.

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