Typeface design plays a fundamental role in visual communication: it is crucial to the textual representation of languages and to provide voices for diverse communities.
Yet design histories have largely overlooked the activities of those who contributed to the production of typefaces throughout the industrial era. It is frequently assumed that typefaces are the work of a single designer whereas, as most industrial objects, they result from a series of processes involving multiple skills often carried out by numerous people.
Type-manufacturers employed women as part of departments that were variously known as ‘drawing studios’, ‘type drawing offices’, or ‘departments of typographic development’. These women worked daily on developing and producing typefaces that were, eventually, almost always attributed to male designers. They merit attention as key contributors to the design process of many renowned typefaces that emerged throughout the twentieth century.
Women in Type is a research project highlighting the work of these women. It focuses on their roles and responsibilities between 1910 and 1990 within two major British companies: the Monotype Corporation and Linotype Limited (formerly Linotype-Paul Ltd and Linotype-Hell Ltd).
Women in Type is a three-year research project undertaken at the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication of the University of Reading between March 2018–November 2021. The project benefited from the support of the Leverhulme Trust as part of its Research Project Grants. The project is led by Prof. Fiona Ross with principal researcher Dr. Alice Savoie and post-doctoral assistant Dr. Helena Lekka.
This website was conceived by Alice Savoie (content and project management) and Mathieu Triay (design and code) as an accessible and interactive tool to share the project’s findings with the wider public. Please note that the resources shared on this platform are protected by copyright. You are not authorized to redistribute, reproduce, republish, store in any medium, re-transmit, modify or make public for commercial use of the information without the written authorization of the authors and copyright holders.
The images presented on the website are taken from the following collections:
Our team would like to thank:
If you have any question or would like to contribute to our research, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have worked in a Type Drawing Office or happen to know anyone who has, we would love to hear from you!
For further information on the Women in Type research project, you can visit our blog.