Mike Harkin 'graphic communication' artwork

Graphic and communication design research

Explore our work in graphic and communication design, one of our areas of research expertise in Art and Design: History, Theory and Practice


Graphic design research covers the theories, practice and process in relation to solving problems through visual communication. This includes text – typically typography – and images, such as illustration, photography, and pictogram. The term is often used as an umbrella to cover visual communication and communication design generally.

Graphic designers create and combine symbols, images and text to form visual representations of concepts and messages. Forms of graphic design commonly include identity design, such as logos and branding, publication and editorial design, for example magazines. It also includes wayfinding or environmental design, advertising, web design, packaging, and signage.

In this emerging research field, we're looking at the history of design, ethnographic studies in relation to design, design usability, legibility studies, design knowledge, and epistemology.

We have presented at numerous conferences including ATypI – Association Typographique Internationale, Design Research Society, and the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST).

Our research covers the following topics

  • Graphic design
  • Communication design
  • Typographic design
  • Information design
  • Data visualisation
  • Branding and identity
  • Typeface design
  • Publication design
  • Wayfinding
  • Web design
  • Motion graphic design
  • User centred design
  • Design epistemology
  • Design thinking

Project and publication highlights

Our members

Image of Dr Michael Harkins

Dr Michael Harkins

  • Job Title Senior Lecturer
  • Email Address Mike.Harkins@port.ac.uk
  • Department School of Art Design and Performance
  • Faculty Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries

Discover our areas of expertise

Graphic and communication design is one of 6 areas of expertise within our Art and Design: History, Theory and Practice – explore the other 5 below.

Interested in a PhD in Art & Design?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Art & Design postgraduate research degrees page.


This site uses cookies. Click here to view our cookie policy message.

Accept and close