Michael Harkins Portrait
Media ready expert

Dr Michael Harkins


Dr Michael Harkins is a Senior Lecturer in Graphic Design at the University of Portsmouth. His background in practice provided him with a broad range of experiences engaging with national and international clients and was a company director prior to returning to higher education to teach full-time in 2005. He was awarded his PhD on Contemporary processes of text typeface design in 2018. Mike has authored successful academic textbooks in relation to typography that have been translated into several language editions. As well as producing peer-reviewed conference papers and journal articles, he recently published an academic monograph commissioned by Routledge based upon his PhD thesis. 

Mike has peer-reviewed academic book proposals for Routledge, Pearson, Bloomsbury, Lawrence King and Vintage Press and is a peer reviewer for Art, Design & Communication in Higher Education (Journal) – Intellect. His own books are recognised nationally and internationally and has been called upon to offer expert advice for national press and broadcasting.  

Mike recently developed a research project as PI with Portsmouth NHS Trust involving the effects of visual language within software development and clinical practice environments. He has developed knowledge exchange exercises, most with Dyson UK, fostering greater understanding between education and industry in relation to design. He has participated in CHEAD events adding to the research culture in graphic design at a national level. 

Mike has served as external examiner and been internal and external validation panel member for numerous MA courses (national/international). He has also assessed for the University of Portsmouth’s APEX/HEA Fellowship programme. Mike has taught at various levels and has supervised and examined PhDs. As a previous MA course leader for over 13 years he was responsible for the full range of course management and delivery roles. His students have received numerous international awards over the years for their design work. 

Dr Harkins was previously Associate Professor at the University of Leeds before returning to teach at Portsmouth. He holds Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), alongside professional memberships – MISTD, MCSD and Wynkyn de Worde Society.

Research interests

Graphic Design/Visual Communication Design
Branding and Identity
Typeface Design
Information Design
Design Epistemology
Design Thinking
Design Process

Teaching responsibilities

Media availability

I am happy to take calls and emails from the media on my research and subject area. I can be contacted on 023 92 84 5683 or mike.harkins@port.ac.uk