Information on research and publications from our Design Star students-

Click below to find out more about individual students and their research

Jocelyn Bailey, cohort 1, University of Brighton+

My research is an examination of a contemporary field of design practice, which could loosely be described as design in the service of government. On a global scale, we are seeing a kind of design increasingly bound up in the shaping of government policies, strategies, services, innovation, change etc., with a new set of practices derived from design being gradually absorbed and normalised by non-designers within government and the public sector. This has been accompanied by a growing field of public discourse and debate, research, and practice in the form of businesses offering this kind of design service. The examination and critique of this field has as yet been fairly minimal, and much of the research that does exist is closely aligned with the promotional interests of industry.

 The focus of my study is my experience over two and a bit years of practice in a design agency in London, working with clients across the public and third sector: a particular place at a particular moment in time – and a particular organisational culture and set of practices. Understanding design as a social practice (rather than, for example, simply a method), my intention in documenting and exploring this experience is to tease out the relationship between a certain political and governance context, and the related kinds of design practice that have arisen; and to develop ways of analysing contemporary social design/ design in government practice that is more critically aware of the conditions of production.




Research outputs

Journal articles and conference papers

Bailey, J., Lloyd, P. (2016). ‘The Introduction of Design to Policymaking: Policy Lab and the UK Government’ . Proceedings of DRS 2016, Design Research Society 50th Anniversary Conference. Brighton, UK, 27–30 June 2016. pdf.

Bailey, J., Lloyd, P. (2016). ‘A View from the Other Side: Perspectives on an Emergent Design Culture in Whitehall’. Proceedings of ServDes 2016, the Service Design and Innovation Conference. Copenhagen, Denmark, 24-26 May 2016. pdf.

Bailey, J., Lloyd, P. (2017). ‘A View from the Other Side: UK Policymaker Perspectives on Design’. Design Issues. (forthcoming).

Bailey, J. (2017). ‘Beyond Usefulness: Exploring the Implications of Design in Policymaking’. Proceedings of Nordes 2017; Design + Power, Oslo, Norway, 14-16 June 2017. pdf.

Bailey, J and L. Kimbell. ‘Prototyping and the New Spirit of Policymaking’. Co-Design. 13:3, 214-226.

Design Policy, Advocacy and Commentary

Bailey, J. and C. Drew. ‘From Skills to Mindsets: Grappling with Complex Public Problems’. Touchpoint 9 (1): 40-44 (pdf).

Bailey, J. (2017) ‘Elements of Novelty: Designer as Policymaker’. In Barbero, S. (ed.) RETRACE: Systemic Design Method Guide for Policymaking; A Circular Europe on the Way. Allemandi: Turin. (pdf).

Speaking engagements


Civic Design conference, Halle University of Art and Design, and the German Society for Design Theory and Research

‘On The Theory And Practice Of The Social And Political In Design’

Postgraduate Design Research Symposium, Kingston University

‘Here and there: interdisciplinarity in design’

Round table discussion, hosted by Policy Lab, Cabinet Office

‘Design research for policy’

Nordes 2017: Design + Power, Oslo

‘Beyond Usefulness: the Implications of Design in Policymaking’

DWP Journal Club

‘Design in policymaking’


Lab Connections, Brussels – Facilitator

Global Innovation Policy Accelerator programme, Nesta

‘Design for Policy’ presentation (with Policy Lab)

Symposium, Konstfack Stockholm

‘The Future of Design Education’

Hidden Women of Design, London

‘Perspectives on design’

ServDes 2016, Copenhagen

‘A view from the other side: policymaker perspectives on design’

Service Design in Government 2016, London

‘Doing co-design at scale’ (with Dr Matt Fogarty, NHS England)

transmediale, Berlin

‘(Re)positioning Maker Culture’

Marie Lefebvre, cohort 1, Loughborough University+

An investigation of the factors influencing repair propensity

To facilitate the transition towards the circular economy, design strategies have been put forward. Yet, they do not all respond appropriately to the need to support the consumer to change and evolve. Design for Sustainable Behaviour (DfSB) is one of the tool which through consumer behaviour and practice theory attempt to develop solutions which can support the consumer to redefine his role and associated pattern of behaviour. This thesis uses two behavioural frameworks – one fix, one cyclical – to explore the adoption of the repair of small electrical items by users. Repair was chosen as it is one of the strategies to facilitate the transition towards the circular economy that can be performed by the user. Small electrical items were chosen because every year an estimated 2 million tonnes of electrical items are discarded by householders and companies in the UK (HSE 2014). The research embrace pragmatic constructivism and use the combination of qualitative and quantitative methods.


Poster Presentations

Lefebvre M.,Lofthouse V., Stevenson N. (2015), ‘ Design for Sustainable Behaviour in a Circular economy– displayed at Goldsmith, Annual Postgraduate Poster Competition (winner)  and Lancaster, UK: Imagination Lancaster Design Ph.D Conference


Guest Lecture Design for sustainable Behaviour and Repair. In What Do I Need To Do To Make It OK? A symposium on damage and repair, at Farnham, UK : UCA Farnharm. (a.y. 2015-2016)

Guest Lecture SWOC analysis and connecting the dots backwards, at Loughborough London, London (a.y. 2014-2015, a.y. 2016-2017)

 Public Engagement

  • (Workshop organisation) associated repair events for the Green Festival of making and mending. Leicester UK : Footpaths – April 2015 – October 2015
  • (Workshop Participation) Lufbra Service Jam. Loughborough, UK: Loughborough University, February 2015.
  • (Festival Organisation) The Green Festival of Making and Mending. Leicester, UK : Footpaths Leicester – 31 October 2015
  • (Press) M.Lefebvre (2016) Restart Host Profile. In Restart. London, UK.
  • (Radio Interview), BBC Leicester, (2017) Repair events in Leicester.
  • (Radio Interview), 103 The Eye (2017), Melton Space.In 103 The Eye. Melton Mowbray, UK
  • (Radio Interview) Restart Radio (2017) Restarting in Leicester. In Restart. London, UK –
  • (Press) M.Lefebvre (2017) Why help is the best glue?. In Thoughtful. London, UK.
  • (Module participation), The Old Rectory Social Innovation UX Master Project, Loughborough UK: Loughborough University, March 2017- May 2017

 Follow these links if you want to find out more

Academic profile:



Leicester Fixers and the Restart Project:

Francesco Mazzarella cohort 1, Loughborough University+

“Crafting Situated Services: Meaningful Design for Social Innovation with Textile Artisan Communities”

We are witnessing an increased interest in artisanship as a more meaningful and sustainable approach to design, production, and consumption; yet, artisans often find themselves at the bottom of the pyramid of an unfair ecosystem. To alleviate this problem, a range of top-down policies and one-size-fits-all strategies have been deployed, but they have increasingly been recognised as ineffective to address the specific needs and aspirations of inherently diverse local communities. With this in mind, this PhD explores how service design can activate textile artisan communities to transition towards sustainable futures. A participatory case study methodology is adopted encompassing using multiple service design and co-design methods for the collection of qualitative data in Nottingham (UK) and Cape Town (South Africa). As an outcome, this PhD contributes an original anthropological framework for service design, which allows to better scope meaningful interventions within a context, elicit tacit knowledge and interweave compelling narratives, as a way to make sense of sustainable futures by co-designing situated services and activating legacies with local communities.

Keywords: service design, design anthropology, sustainable futures, social innovation, textile artisan communities


Hirscher, A-L., Mazzarella, F., & Fuad-Luke, A. (2017). Socialising Value Creation through Making Differently. Making Clothes in a Makershop with Diverse Locals. In: Fashion Practice: The Journal of Design, Creative Process & The Fashion Industry. Vol. 10, Fashion Localism. Abingdon: Taylor & Francis [submitted].

Mazzarella, F., Mitchell, V., & Escobar-Tello, C.  (2017). Crafting Sustainable Futures. The Value of the Service Designer in Activating Meaningful Social Innovation from within Textile Artisan Communities. In: Proceedings of EAD 12 – Rome: Design for Next. 12-14 April 2017, Rome Italy: Sapienza University of Rome.

Mazzarella, F., & Brass, C. (2017). Great Expectations for the O-Shaped Designer. In: IED Journal. Westbury, UK: IED.

Mazzarella, F., Escobar-Tello, C., & Mitchell, V. (2016). Moving Textile Artisans’ Communities towards a Sustainable Future – A Theoretical Framework. In: Proceedings of DRS2016: Design + Research + Society – Future-Focused Thinking. 27-30 June 2016, Brighton, UK: University of Brighton. Vol. 10, pp. 3961-3982.

Brass, C., & Mazzarella, F. (2015). Are we asking the right questions? Rethinking post-graduate design education towards sustainable visions for the future. In: Proceedings of 17th International Conference on Engineering & Product Design Education – Great Expectations: Design Teaching, Research & Enterprise. 3-4 September 2015, Loughborough, UK: Loughborough Design School.

Mazzarella, F., Escobar-Tello, C., & Mitchell, V. (2015). Service Ecosystem: Empowering Textile Artisans’ Communities Towards a Sustainable Future. In: Proceedings of Nordes 2015: Design Ecologies. 7-10 June 2015, Stockholm, Sweden: Konstfack University.

Mazzarella, F., & Engler, R. (2014). Self-production and Craft: Advanced Processes for Social Innovation. In: 5th International Forum of Design as a Process: The Shapes of the Future as the Front end of Design Driven Innovation. 18-20 September 2014, Guadalajara, Mexico: Tecnologico De Monterrey.

Mazzarella, F., & Peruccio, P. P. (2013). Self-production: A Human Centred Design Process. The Sustainable Future of Self-production through a Humanistic and Participatory Process. In: 4th International Forum of Design as a Process, Diversity: Design/ Humanities. 19-22 September 2013, Belo Horizonte, Brazil: Barbacena, pp. 266-276.

Follow these links if you want to find out more

Andrew McIlwraith, cohort 1, University of Reading+

Better museum maps: how can museums improve the design of their printed guide maps to improve the visitor experience?

Many, if not most museums, especially larger ones, produced printed guide maps for visitors. Even at a time of rapid and innovative developments in digital guide and navigations systems, printed maps remain a popular choice among museum visitors to help them make the most of their visit. 

This research considers first how and why museum visitors use museum maps: what do they want from them, and how they use them – and the reasons they have for not using them. It then considers how map designers and providers meet these needs, that is, the graphic devices and techniques they employ on maps to provide information that is clear and comprehensive.

 The research draws on existing research in related fields: wayfinding, museum and exhibition design, and museum visitor behaviour to consider the role of museum maps in the visitor experience.

 Using largely qualitative research techniques, museum visitors are interviewed about their use of, experiences of and attitudes towards museum maps they have used (or not used) when visiting museums. Similarly, their experiences of and attitudes towards digital alternatives (websites, apps and multimedia guides, for example) are investigated.

 The research then consists of two studies comparing prototypes of map for a museum. The first investigates the effect of map design on wayfinding performance in a museum, and then also investigates user preferences for the two different designs, with interviews in which study participants are asked to consider the relative clarity and usefulness of each design. A follow-up study to this considers two more prototype maps that include design features that appeared to be significant indicators of user preference from the first study.

 The aim of the research is to provide insight into what museums and designers should consider when producing guide maps for their museums, while recognising that individual museums have unique characteristics, and varying visitor demographics. It will also consider areas of further research that could contribute to the improvement of user maps; of wider applications of the research finding (maps and guides in environments other than museums); and the role of such printed information in an increasingly digital world.


Please read Andrew’s blog post about wayfinding at the V&A.

Matthew Plummer-Fernandez, cohort 1, Goldsmiths+


Making algorithms public: rendering visible the operations and politics of algorithmic systems through critical design.

Gionata Gatto, cohort 1, Loughborough University+

The research investigates the role of Design in the communication, data visualization and public engagement on Life Sciences. Focusing on the scientific branch of Plant Neurobiology as the main case study, the research probes novel Designer/Scientist interaction paths involving the use of specifically designed plant-inspired experiments. Aim of the research is to finally identify which Design tools and methods could be appropriate and useful to the development of Life Science inspired Design projects.

David Brezina, cohort 1, University of Reading+

Title: Structural analysis of text typefaces for selected world scripts: a systematic approach to stylistic consistency in multilingual environments

Letterform conventions often constitute a structure defined through similarity or distinctiveness of individual letterforms or their parts. For example, Latin-script letters ‘b’ and ‘p’ are conventionally designed to look similar – ‘b’ has a bowl similar to ‘p’ on the right side, but they differ on the left side. These kind of relationships among the letters seem to be intrinsic to each script. Furthermore, parts which are intrinsically similar are usually treated consistently by designers, particularly in text typefaces.

The aim of the proposed thesis is to determine whether there is a single structure behind the stylistic treatment of the selected world scripts (Latin, Greek, and Devanagari). This does not seem to be the case as, for example, some of the standard letter-parts from one script may not be present in another script at all. On the other hand, there may be a structural overlap between some scripts which borrowed forms from each other or used similar writing tools through their historical development.

Furthermore, there is an anticipation that different type styles will produce different structures, i.e. a script will be perceived as a set of styles defined by these structures.

Personal Profile:

David Březina is a Czech type designer and typographer, writer, lecturer, the impresario of the TypeTalks conference, and the managing director of Rosetta Type Foundry ( He holds master’s degrees in Informatics (Masaryk University, Brno) and Typeface Design (University of Reading, UK). While typographers may know him as the designer of the award-winning type family Skolar, David has also been actively involved in writing, presenting, and conducting workshops on type and typography around Europe (notably at the University of Reading). He has designed custom typefaces for Adobe and Microsoft (with Tiro Typeworks), and other clients. So far, he has designed typefaces for Cyrillic, Greek, Gujarati, Devanagari, and various extensions of Latin.

Helen McGilp, cohort 1, Open University+

Recording in the fashion design process

For my research, I am looking at methods adopted in the fashion design industry for recording, analysing and articulating the early stages of the design process. This builds on earlier work I have undertaken looking at recording the design process within an educational context on a design Masters Fashion programme.

Within Fashion, little is written or even spoken about the design process, with most publishing focusing on the final outcome.

As a driver for an industry that revolves around a constant cycle of change, it is perhaps surprising that Fashion Design does not have a culture of recording and evaluation to underpin future design development.

The design process in Fashion is a relative newcomer to academic publishing and, although this is an area addressed within other design fields such as architecture and product design, most coverage within Fashion is sparse and anecdotal.

I am looking to better understand and model the authentic design process within fashion. As part of this, I will be looking at the ways designers record and capture that process, and how they might use those recordings to enhance areas such as creativity, idea generation, re-use of design elements and process efficiency.

Tot Foster, cohort 2, Open University+

Grassroots video production in small charities.

My PhD research aims to bring aspects of design thinking to the problem of producing better videos at the grassroots in small UK charities. By ‘grassroots’ I mean production which involves non-professionals, and which happens from the bottom up.

So what is this problem with production? My initial research has shown that only few small charities actually make videos, and when they do they are often not of good technical quality, or do necessarily effectively serve their purpose. Sometimes production depends on an enthusiastic volunteer or staff member, and when they move on production skills are lost.

But being able to produce good videos could potentially make a huge difference to small charities. In the age of austerity, charities are suffering financially, particularly those who depend on income from local authorities. One way to promote their work, get noticed, and compete for resources is through effective digital communications. Academic sources and commentators agree its now high time for charities to engage more effectively with digital, and being able to produce your own content is a vital aspect of this.

This research focuses on just one aspect of content – the production of video. For small charities the cost of outsourcing production is too great, so developing their own capacity would be useful. This research aims to develop a model production process which can support small charities in making videos at the grassroots – either internally to the organisation, or with outside volunteers. The ultimate goal of this process is to help produce videos which are well suited to their needs and audiences, and for minimal resource.

The key principles from design to be adapted to this process are collaboration and iterationCollaboration involves stakeholders in a charity – this might be staff, service users, or volunteers – playing to their strengths, sharing a vision of what they are trying to achieve and keeping talking; articulating key factors such as message, audience, aim and style. Iteration is important so that the team can assess, review and re-work their ideas and the video – thereby creating a refined end product and developing knowledge and capacity within the organisation through that learning.

My research so far has focused on discovering what production is happening in small charities now, and where to focus attention to get the greatest improvement in production practice. Mixed methods are being used to examine data which has been gathered from a set of 15 interviews with charity managers, from YouTube channels, from existing training available online, and from my own practice as a producer. The next stage is developing a process to take into 3 charities as case study production projects, which I will facilitate. This process will have two aspects – firstly a series of team discussions at key moments. These will emphasise areas of production that have been shown by the discovery stage to be tricky. Secondly there will be a style reference guide which offers examples of charity videos to watch online to stimulate discussion and inform production decisions. After completing my PhD I would very much like to create a short training course, possibly a MOOC.

Elena Papassissa, cohort 2, University of Reading+

Armenian typefaces from 1840 to the present: traditionalism, Latinisation and the search for identity through changing technologies.

 Like many nations that have gained their independence fairly recently, Armenia struggled to preserve its cultural identity, particularly when split between Turkey and Russia. The same endeavour had to be pursued by the Diaspora, spread amid Western culture. This inevitably had consequences on the Armenian script, as Western typographic trends and changes in type making and typesetting technology were bound to influence the design of Armenian typefaces, both in Armenia and abroad.

The impact of Western influence and the beginning of Latinisation of the Armenian script have therefore initiated the scope of this research. A new Armenian typeface style, upright rather than slanted, with some lowercase letters integrating distinct features of the Latin script, made its first appearance in Paris in 1855. The scope extends to the twentieth century, as digital technology has increased the production of new typefaces and made   the design of new weights easier.

The paucity of secondary sources means that the main core of this study relies on the analysis of primary sources. The study thus aims to contribute to bridging the substantial gaps in existing literature, and to the correction of erroneous information. The research examines the effects that shift in the technology of type-­‐making and typesetting and the adaptation of established typographic norms for Armenian documents had on the design of Armenian typefaces. The dialogue between the Armenian script, its typographic implementation, and the type-­‐making and typesetting influences are critically assessed through selected case studies by comparing the artefacts at key points of the development of Armenian typography and by identifying letter-­‐level and typeface-­‐level characteristics. This study also evaluates the extent to which Western typographic trends have influenced the design of Armenian typefaces, and whether particular developments of letter shapes and composition of Armenian correlate with changing historical and political conditions.

As the core of the study relies on the analysis of primary sources, travelling and prolonged stays in places where specific items and documents might be found was essential. This would never have been possible on my personal budget as a PhD student. The Research Training Support Grant from AHCR Design Star – Student Development Fund (SDF) was what unlocked my opportunities of research.

Thanks to this grant, I was able to access unique materials at the Bibliothèque Nationale, and at the Nubarian Library and Archives in Paris – a non-­‐profit organisation which provides open access to researchers and public, and to visit the Viennese Mekhitarist Library and Archives – a collection held by a religious community, the Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek, and the Österreichischen Staatsarchiv in Vienna.

I have also visited the Smithsonian Archives in Washington DC, and the Museum of Printing in Haverhill, MA. Furthermore, a research trip to Armenia gave me the opportunity to discuss the early digital scene with Armenian type designers. This more recent history has been explored through interviews and access to personal archives of living designers.

Good progress in the research has enabled me to take part in international conferences, such as ATypI. The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation awarded me the ‘Short Term Grant for Armenian Studies’ to attend and to speak at this conference. My talk was on an important topic of my ongoing PhD research: ‘Armenian typefaces as expression of national identity: the introduction of a newly fashioned Bologir typeface in the second half of the nineteenth century’.

The PhD project is supervised by Mr Gerry Leonidas and Professor Fiona Ross.


Elena Papassissa is a PhD researcher and a type designer with expertise in Armenian script culture, based in London. Since 2012 she has been working as a type designer for various clients mainly from the USA and the UK, and she has been intern and consultant for the Monotype archives in Salfords for a couple of years, before being awarded a Design Star (AHRC) scholarship to take a PhD at the University of Reading.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design and Visual Communication and an MA in Communication and Design for Publishing from the ISIA Urbino, and an MA in Typeface Design from the University of Reading. Elena is a member of the ATypI and of the AGBU Young Professional (YP), a non-­‐profit organisation involved in promoting the Armenian identity and heritage around the world.

Public Engagement

Speaker at HWOD (Hidden women of Design), London, UK (November 2017)

Topic of the speech: ‘Designing Armenian typefaces: Researching the past to inspire the present’

Speaker at ATypI (Association Typographique Internationale), Montreal, Canada (October 2017)

Topic of the speech: ‘Armenian typefaces as expression of national identity: the introduction of a newly fashioned Bologir typeface in the second half of the nineteenth century’

Featured in The Monotype Recorder ‘No more Tofu’. The Monotype Studio, London, UK. Issue Five/Summer 2017, in pages 37-­‐50

Armenian workshop conducted at the MA type design course at the University of Reading, UK (2017)

Katarina Dimitrijevic, cohort 2, Goldsmiths+

Plastics with the living voice

Transposing values for plastic waste

This PhD project explores how HE Design communities in London/Kent/Surrey/Cornwall participated in creative reuse plastic waste activities and discussed how to meet the ocean pollution challenge. The research aim is to nurture new materiality values and induce social-emotional relations towards plastic waste, in promoting ecocentric design literacy and raising plastic ocean pollution awareness.





Giovanni Marmont, cohort 2, University of Brighton+

Politics of Use, Ethics of Reciprocity: Constructed Situations, Forms-of-life and the Technicity of Dispossession

Recent publications relating to Giovanni’s research are as follows:

  1. Book chapter (co-authored with Jonathan Chapman) in The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Design, edited by Rachel Beth Egenhoefer (link). Title: ‘The Temporal Fallacy: Design and Emotional Obsolescence’.
  2. Paper presented during the 6th STS Italia Conference – Sociotechnical Environments in Trento, Italy (24-26 November 2016), and published in a peer-reviewed book of proceedings (ISBN 978-88-940625-1-9 – link). Title: ‘Acts of Use from Gestell to Gelassenheit: Calculative Thinking and Exploratory Doing’.

Marije De Haas, cohort 3, Loughborough University+

Title: A dignified death for dementia patients.

Description: Euthanasia in dementia is a difficult request that is almost never adhered to. My research explores why this is the case, and how design can help to open up the debate and support decision-making for euthanasia in dementia.







Borna Izadpanah, cohort 3, University of Reading+

Borna Izadpanah is supervised by Gerry Leonidas and Professor Fiona Ross.

The typographic representation of the Persian language

This thesis explores the typographic development of the Persian language written in extended Arabic script, from the late 16th-century when the first attempts to print Persian with movable type occurred in Europe to the 1979 revolution in Iran, which for at least two decades suspended the typographical progress that had been initiated in the preceding years. It  investigates various circumstances that have affected the textual identity of the Persian language including the impact of printing technologies and the roles that the Persian language has played in different communities. During the period under investigation, Persian was cultivated as a scholarly subject for European orientalists, as the language of ruling minority in India and as the official language in Iran. Persian literature also played a significant role in the Ottoman lands, which instigated printing and publishing activities beyond these borders that persisted despite the political and social changes in the 20th-century. This thesis aims to combine the analysis of printed letterforms and knowledge of writing styles with considerations regarding the contexts in which Persian texts were published. The examination of the visual aspects of Persian publications is informed by important factors such as their intended audience and the often unconventional approach of European printers. The emergence of Persian studies in Europe during 16th-century coincided with a series of efforts mainly for missionary activities to print books to aid Europeans in learning the Persian language. It will be shown that European linguists and printers often introduced experimental methods for printing Persian to overcome the technical constraints of the movable type printing, and yet also to find a system that they considered to be a more comprehensible approach for the students of that ‘complex’ script.

In the first quarter of the 19th-century, the introduction of Persian printing to Iran marked the beginning of vernacular typography which resulted in some  of the major typographic  achievements in Persian printing. At the same time, other significant activities at the Bulaq Press in Cairo proved that the local craftsmen had the knowledge and ability of publishing books that successfully echoed the visual culture of various language communities that use the Arabic script. The introduction of lithographic printing in the 1830s – a printing method that enabled the scribes to reintroduce the scribal conventions that were held in a high regard – gradually ended the short-lived phase of typesetting in Iran.

In the 20th-century the visual identity of the Persian language was affected by hot-metal typesetting technologies which once more restored the European role in the production of Persian publications. The need for the rapid production of newspapers during the Iranian Constitutional Revolution (1905–11) left little room for native involvement in the design of Persian types and a simplified European type style of naskh defined the identity of modern Persian typesetting. Through the efforts of a few individuals – most importantly Ḥossein Haqīqī – Persian typography found a new identity which has ever since remained relevant.

The objective of this thesis to provide an original contribution to the field of Persian printing history by means of extensive archival research and a critical review of primary and secondary sources. It will explore hitherto insufficiently scrutinised archives and often overlooked primary material. It will therefore interrogate the established narrative to offer a more accurate account of the significant typographic development of the Persian language from 16th to the late 2oth centuries that has largely remained undocumented.

Rachel Warner, cohort 3, University of Reading+

The designs and design processes used for information materials aimed at facilitating planning ahead for housing in later life

The focus of this research is on the existing designs of, and the design processes for, information materials produced for the public about housing in later life. Many producers of these information materials are not-for-profit organisations (‘not-for-profits’). The not-for-profit sector concerned with housing in later life is of particular interest because one of the efforts of such organisations is to provide clear and impartial information to the public to assist with housing decisions. The information materials produced can play a significant role in this effort by imparting information with the potential to facilitate a person’s progress towards planning ahead for appropriate housing outcomes as they age.

The design process is a key factor contributing to the effectiveness of an information material. Existing literature on design within organisations emphasises the value of adopting ‘design’ throughout an  organisation’s culture, and often seeks to promote the idea of ‘design thinking’ to drive the organisation’s values, services, and activities. Alternatively, studies looking at design process as a practice to produce artefacts focus on  professional designers within organisations. What is relatively less explored are the design processes used by non-designers, including employees of not-for-profits, to produce information materials for use by the public.

This research, therefore, asks the questions: 1) ‘What are the designs of existing information materials for planning ahead for housing in later life?’ and 2) ‘What are the design processes used by not-for-profits who produce these information materials?’. An ‘information design lens’ will be established that acknowledges existing research on topics such as designing information materials for the public, design process theories, and information design processes used within design-led communities. This information design lens will then be used to explore the designs of existing information materials and the design processes that are used to produce them.

Joyce Chan, cohort 4, Loughborough University+

Wellness Building Information Modelling (WBim): Wellness as a building performance metric 

The aim of this research is to investigate the potential of using the level of ‘wellness/happiness’ of occupants to evaluate building performance along with other environmental factors. Wellness is thought to be a subjective feeling of health [4]. It considers individual’s general functioning as a whole, including the environmental but also social and physical aspect [5]. There are many tools on the market to assist designers on efficient Building Performance Simulation (BPS) and solutions [1], and yet, designers do not have enough information about how human behaviour and occupant satisfaction is influencing our building design and energy consumption.

There are increasing needs to bridge the knowledge gap of occupants and building operators by enabling the building management system (BMS) to consider occupancy profiles independently [2]. Smart technologies is transforming the future of cities and buildings. In 2008, there were officially more devices connected to the internet than there were human beings, it is predicted that our world will have 50 billion devices by 2020 [6]. These internet of things (IoT) will allow building operators to move away from reactive and preventative approach of building management towards a more predictive and proactive mindset [3].

Can we create a ‘Wellness information’ layer in the in-use stage to assist a more dynamic building automation solution? The occupancy data can then be used to inform a more realistic profile in our early stage of design?  Through BPS, how can we research, measure and predict wellness of occupants in our evidence-based design approach?



  1. Soebarto, V. 2015 Capturing the views of architects about building performance simulation to be used during design processes. Loughborough University Institutional Repository
  2. Robinson al, 2016. Performance gap analysis case study of a non-domestic building. Institute of Civil Engineers.
  3. Siemens, 2019.
  4. .S. Mackey, “Towards an ontological theory of wellness: a discussion of conceptual foundations and implications for nursing,” Nursing Philosophy, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 103–112, 2009.
  5. Oguz-Duran and E. Tezer, “Wellness and self-esteem among Turkish university students,” International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 32–44, 2009.
  6. Soebarto, V. 2015 Capturing the views of architects about building performance simulation to be used during design processes. Loughborough University Institutional Repository
  7. Robinson al, 2016. Performance gap analysis case study of a non-domestic building. Institute of Civil Engineers.
  8. Siemens, 2019.
  9. .S. Mackey, “Towards an ontological theory of wellness: a discussion of conceptual foundations and implications for nursing,” Nursing Philosophy, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 103–112, 2009.
  10. Oguz-Duran and E. Tezer, “Wellness and self-esteem among Turkish university students,” International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 32–44, 2009.

Joyce Chan Research Summary



Mo Dakak, cohort 4, University of Reading+

Towards understanding inconsistency in Arabic type design and its effect on Arab readership

On the contrary to the linear development of Arabic calligraphy, the development path for Arabic type was rather a disrupted and discontinuous one. Several technical and cultural factors created challenging circumstances for Arabic type through different periods.

Technical limitations imposed by early typesetting techniques and later by machine typesetting were among the main challenges to the development of Arabic type. Adapting Arabic to these technologies forced compromises on the visual representation of the script on multiple levels.

With the introduction of the digital technologies, many of the technical challenges were overtaken. This in many cases allowed a better representation of Arabic type. However previous models continue to be widely used.

Another approach also emerged and gained popularity more recently adding to the already complex status. The approach is inspired by the structure of Latin script and usually presented as a modern way to design Arabic. Examining the current cultural context in parts of the Arab world can give more explanation to such a perspective.

This research aims to study this complex status of Arabic type design in regard to its development, contexts, its influence on Arabic readership and finally the challenges that it still faces.

Tom Morton, cohort 4, Open University+

Tom Morton is undertaking PhD research with the Open University under the title ‘Gentrification and Community-led Design: An arts based exploration of grass-roots perspectives’.  This research seeks to explore community responses to regeneration and gentrification with the aim of understanding and documenting the practice and value of community-led  projects.

This project will employ arts-based methodologies developed by New Vic Borderlines and Keele University, usually referred to as cultural animation, in order to explore and evaluate the ability of community-led design initiatives to facilitate the building of a public’s capacity to tackle social/spatial issues associated with their built environment and services.

The findings of this project can contribute to design research and the advancement of knowledge about community-led design. The research can also contribute to the development of design research methods by its exploration of arts based perspectives (drawing on cultural animation). Finally, it is hoped that the research can also help co- create design solutions, by helping communities develop their capacity to respond to the negative aspects of gentrification.

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