Research-based practice in designing type for South Asian scripts

A discussion with Dr. Fiona Ross

Abstract:

Dr Fiona Ross will discuss a design methodology that advocates research-based practice to advance the possibilities for effective visual communication in writing systems beyond those that use the Latin script.
Amply illustrated by relevant examples from her extensive work with South Asian scripts, Fiona’s talk will consider how different kinds of resources can inform design practice in the field of type and typography­ – and thereby answer the current needs of diverse linguistic communities. It will highlight by means of specific case studies how the re-evaluation of past practices and critical engagement with current conventions underpins best practice. It will demonstrate how informed design decisions in conjunction with new technologies can offer better solutions for textual communication in writing systems which afford a visible voice to many millions of people.

Bio

Fiona Ross specializes in type design and typography primarily for Arabic, South Asian, and Thai scripts, having a background in languages with a PhD in Indian Palaeography (SOAS, London University). Fiona is a part-time faculty member of the Department of Typography and Graphic Communication at the University of Reading (UK), where she is Professor in Type Design.
Fiona works as a consultant, type designer, author, and lecturer; her recent design work has been in collaboration with Tim Holloway, John Hudson and Neelakash Kshetrimayum for clients such as Ananda Bazar Patrika, Adobe, Google, Microsoft, Monotype, and Harvard University Press for the Murty Classical Library of India.
Dr Ross is the recipient of the SoTA Typography Award (2014) and the Type Director’s Club Medal (2018) for her outstanding work in type design and education.

Abstract:

Dr Fiona Ross will discuss a design methodology that advocates research-based practice to advance the possibilities for effective visual communication in writing systems beyond those that use the Latin script.
Amply illustrated by relevant examples from her extensive work with South Asian scripts, Fiona’s talk will consider how different kinds of resources can inform design practice in the field of type and typography­ – and thereby answer the current needs of diverse linguistic communities. It will highlight by means of specific case studies how the re-evaluation of past practices and critical engagement with current conventions underpins best practice. It will demonstrate how informed design decisions in conjunction with new technologies can offer better solutions for textual communication in writing systems which afford a visible voice to many millions of people.

Bio

Fiona Ross specializes in type design and typography primarily for Arabic, South Asian, and Thai scripts, having a background in languages with a PhD in Indian Palaeography (SOAS, London University). Fiona is a part-time faculty member of the Department of Typography and Graphic Communication at the University of Reading (UK), where she is Professor in Type Design.
Fiona works as a consultant, type designer, author, and lecturer; her recent design work has been in collaboration with Tim Holloway, John Hudson and Neelakash Kshetrimayum for clients such as Ananda Bazar Patrika, Adobe, Google, Microsoft, Monotype, and Harvard University Press for the Murty Classical Library of India.
Dr Ross is the recipient of the SoTA Typography Award (2014) and the Type Director’s Club Medal (2018) for her outstanding work in type design and education.

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