Message Research Cluster

Message, a communication arts research cluster, is dedicated to the development and discussion of contemporary visual communication messages through research, particularly, but not exclusively, within graphic design, typography, illustration, fine art and publishing.

The intention of the group is to support the development of creative practitioner and theorists’ research, enabling the exploration and expansion of critical activities and debates around visual language and the theme of the message.

Members undertake a varied range of practice-led and theoretical research methods and disseminate findings through the Message journal, stand-alone publications, papers, exhibitions, conferences, residencies, collaborative projects and through enterprise-based activity.

Message includes both established and emerging researchers.  Core members include: designers, illustrators, writers, artists.


Our aims:

  • Contribute to and lead dialogue, critical debate and knowledge of visual communication theory and practice.
  • Evaluate the shifting boundaries of visual communication.
  • Raise the academic and professional profiles of both individuals and the cluster nationally and internationally through the Message journal, exhibitions, publications, symposia and joint collaborations.
  • Develop visual communication postgraduate and research opportunities within the University.

Message - typography
Illustration student looking at work

Our research interests include:

  • The development and use of traditional and contemporary technologies in relation to visual communication.
  • Social ethical and sustainable values within visual communication practice.
  • The nature of drawing.
  • Illustration contexts.
  • Visual communication pedagogy.

Illustration image

Research opportunities

Message is currently inviting PhD applications within the following areas:

  • Visual communication – animation, drawing, illustration, graphic design, publishing and typography
  • History and contexts
  • Interdisciplinary practice
  • Traditional, contemporary and emerging media/technologies
  • Authorship, message, audience, markets and narrative
  • Narrative, editorial, identity and brand, information envisionment
  • Communication design for social and behavioural change
  • Ethics and sustainability
  • Communication design and curatorial practice
  • Archives and Community
  • The functions of illustration
  • The elucidation of meaning in children’s publishing through illustration
  • Web design as a form of graphic communication from critical, historical or aesthetic perspectives
  • Web typography and it’s implications – such as web/open fonts, typography in the age of content management, responsive web design, accessibility
  • The impact of digital interactivity on engagement with visual narrative
  • Visual communication, spirituality and contemplation
  • Pedagogy

Arts, humanities and business postgraduate research degrees

As a research degree student within the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business, you will become part of a scholarly community that proudly includes a wide range of approaches and disciplines.

Discover the options available to you
Arts and Humanities Doctoral Training Centre