Academic Research Into Typographic Design at the Beginning of a New Era


  • Ann Bessemans


In Europe, academic studies in design and the arts were regulated by the Bologna declarations in 1999. As a side effect of these declarations, architecture and art programs were linked to a university partner and a new field of research was born—namely, “research in the Arts.” This was a logical consequence of the new European educational model, and means that a professional bachelor degree directly addresses the labor market, whereas an academic master has the ambition to offer students a broader horizon not only by means of practice, but also of theory. An academic master enables the students to further explore and innovate within their own field alongside reflective thinking, critical awareness, and creation. In addition, students with a master’s degree were now able to start a third cycle—namely, to aspire toward earning a PhD. In turn, this—given the social role of the Arts—necessitated the development of an active and sustainable research environment.

Author Biography

  • Ann Bessemans

    Ann Bessemans is a legibility expert and award-winning graphic and type designer. She founded the READSEARCH legibility research group at the PXL-MAD School of Arts and Hasselt University where she teaches typography and type design. Ann is the program director of the international Master program ‘Reading Type & Typography’. Ann received her PhD from Leiden University and Hasselt University under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Gerard Unger. She is a member of the Data Science Institute UHasselt, a member of the working group Art, Science and Technology at the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts and lecturer at the Plantin Institute of Typography.






Journal Article