Taught course

Communication Design: Book Design pathway

University of Reading · Department of Typography and Graphic Communication

Visit the institution website for COVID‑19 updates

Entry requirements

A first or 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent from a university outside of the UK) in a design related subject or, for exceptional candidates without such a degree, convincing evidence of relevant professional experience. Additionally, a practice portfolio and an example of academic writing are required.

Months of entry


Course content

MA Communication Design combines the development of practical skills with the study of historical and theoretical issues, in a world-class research-intensive environment.

This course integrates shared elements of study and pathway-specific elements. This Book Design pathway allows for specialisation and a deeper engagement with Communication Design.

The Book Design pathway combines practical design for printed books and digital publishing platforms with related theory and history of typographic design and visual culture. A lively studio environment is fostered through assignments for clients, practical projects set by practising designers, and through access to traditional and digital printing facilities.

In the practice of book design, you will develop your work through briefed and self-directed projects that engage with emerging experimental publishing strategies as well as the current demands of professional practice. You will develop both your design skills and your ability to write reports and evaluate designs in relation to audience/user needs and production practicalities.

A research-based approach

As well as working with our own extensive special collections, we make visits to archives and libraries in Oxford and elsewhere, ensuring a truly hands-on experience of book history. Through our collaboration with the London Centre for Book Arts, we also have excellent venues for London-based activities.

You will develop your knowledge and analytical skills through lectures, seminars, and directed reading. Supported by workshops on research-based writing, your dissertation will allow you to focus on a specific aspect of historical or contemporary book design, through consideration of both practice and critical discourse.

The pathway is led by Ruth Blacksell with contributions from Rick Poynor. Visiting academics, researchers and award-winning professional designers ensure that you are challenged by a wide range of genres and approaches. Whenever possible, you can join students on our other MA pathways for taught elements, enhancement activities and to hear visiting speakers.

Information for international students

IELTS: 7.0 overall with no element less than 6.0 (or equivalent).

Fees and funding

UK students
£7,735 per year (full-time)
International students
£16,450 per year (full-time)

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Global Recruitment Team