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Technical papers

Our technical papers are not all technical in content – we call them that because they are working documents resulting from different projects we’ve done. They vary in style from basic guidelines to academic papers – the table tells you what to expect from each. If you’d like to be notified about new reports when they are published, please email us or follow us on Twitter.


1. Simplification: what is gained and what is lost

Rob Waller

A conference paper surveying a range of ways in which documents can be simplified, with guidelines and examples. (2MB)


2. What makes a good document? The criteria we use

Rob Waller

A report written for a general audience, explaining the research background to our evaluation criteria. (319kb)


3. A corpus for graphic analysis of texts

Martin Thomas, Judy Delin & Rob Waller

An academic conference paper, reporting on the building of a document corpus – a tagged database that can be used to study document design systematically. (Assumes some knowledge of applied linguistics). (725kb)


4. A pattern language for describing documents

Rob Waller & Judy Delin

A conference paper on design theory, based on Christopher Alexander’s pattern language approach – identifies and names common design solutions. (958kb)


5. Benchmarking everyday documents

Martin Evans

A report of our benchmarking evaluations for member organisations. (438kb)


6. Typographic voice: researching readers’ interpretations

Jeanne-Louise Moys
A research report of a study of what people notice in typographic design, and how it affects their perception of tone of voice, purpose and audience. (1.8mb)


7. What do people notice about their documents?

Karen Stanbridge

A report of a document diary study, showing what people think about the documents they pick up or receive in the mail. (1.1mb)


8. Criteria for clear documents: a survey

Martin Evans

A report comparing the criteria used to evaluate documents, from a range of organisations including our own. (242kb)


9. Choosing a typeface for reading

Rob Waller

Basic guidelines on typeface choice, answering questions we are sometimes asked. (778kb)


10. The Clear Print standard: arguments for a flexible approach

Rob Waller

A commentary piece, initiating a debate about the RNIB’s Clear Print standard. (721kb)


11. Improved letters about benefits

Rob Waller

A case study of document improvement. (766kb)


12. Professionalising functional communications: what professionals need to know

Jenny Waller

An account of our design training programme, in the context of the need for professionalisation among document designers. (373kb)


13. Our first two years: 2009-2010

A report about our origins and our first two years as part of Reading University. (3mb)


14. Information design: how the disciplines work together

Rob Waller

An unpublished conference paper from 1995 made available as a contribution to our discussions of the information design curriculum. (714kb)


15. Layout for legislation

Rob Waller

Exploring improved typographic structures and layered formats for legislation. (1.1mb)