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Professor Teal Triggs

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  • Professor Teal Triggs is an educator, historian and writer whose research focuses primarily on graphic design history, design research methods, self-publishing and feminism. She has led interdisciplinary research teams within the broader field of information and communication environments exploring the role of information in public spaces and community-based learning.

    At the Royal College of Art, Professor Triggs is Associate Dean in the School of Communication. She teaches on MA programmes and is also Academic Lead for research degrees within the School. She has extensive experience in supervising MPhil and PhD students in visual communication, design criticism, knowledge exchange and information experience design. 

  • Biography

  • Professor Teal Triggs studied Graphic Design and American Studies, receiving her BFA (Hons) in Graphic Design in 1979 and MA in Art History in 1983, both from the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas. She moved to London in the late 1980s to undertake an MA in Design History at Middlesex Polytechnic (1990), and later completed her PhD on the graphic language of British punk and riot grrrl fanzines in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication, University of Reading (2006).

    Prior to joining the Royal College of Art, Teal Triggs was research director of Information Environments (IE) as well as course director for MA Design Writing Criticism and MRes Information Environments, London College of Communication, University of the Arts London (UAL). Her contribution to innovative teaching practices led to receiving UAL’s first Teaching Development (Team Award) in 2012.

    Much of her writings are situated at the intersection of graphic design history and popular culture. Teal Triggs’ writings have appeared in the mainstream design press and in academic publications such as: Varoom, Journal of Design History, Eye: The International Review of Graphic Design, Poli: Politique de L’image, Design Issues, and Visual Communication. She has authored a number of books including The Typographic Experiment: Radical Innovation in Contemporary Type Design (Thames & Hudson, 2000) and Fanzines (Thames & Hudson, 2010). In 2001, she co-edited with Roger Sabin ‘Below Critical Radar’: Fanzines and Alternative Comics from 1976 to now (Hove) and in 2015, she published her first children’s book The School of Art (Wide Eyed Editions). Her most recent book is co-edited with Professor Leslie Atzmon titled, The Graphic Design Reader (Bloomsbury, 2016).

    Teal Triggs is also co-Editor of the academic interdisciplinary journal Visual Communication (Sage), Associate Editor, Design Issues (MIT Press); and Editor-in-Chief for Communication Design: Interdisciplinary and Graphic Design Research (Routledge/International Council of Design). She sits on a number of Editorial Boards including Estudos em Design (PUC-Rio, Brazil), Archives of Design Research (Korean Society of Design Science), International Journal of E-Planning Research (IGI), Shi-Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics and Innovation (Tongji University/Elsevier, China), Journal of Illustration (Intellect) and Message Journal (Plymouth University, UK).

    As a design researcher, she has contributed to knowledge exchange projects between the RCA and businesses including those with partners Hyundai and Thames & Hudson. She has been a recipient of AHRC and EPSRC funded awards including those under the schemes ‘Global Uncertainties’ (co-PI, 2007) and ‘Designing for the 21st Century’ (co-I, 2004). In addition, her research has included projects on ‘Thinking about Thinking: Information Visualisation’ in collaboration with the National Institute of Design, India, funded by Creative Connexions (2009–10); and, with partners Creation Trust, Inspire, and Media Citizens, ‘Kaleidoscope: Transformational Learning on the Aylesbury Estate’, funded by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (2009).

    Teal Triggs is currently an Adjunct Professor, School of Media and Communication, RMIT University, Australia and previously was Visiting Professor, Durban University of Technology, South Africa. In 2013, she was a Research Fellow at the Harry Ransom Centre, University of Texas at Austin, exploring the work of editor and journalist Fleur Cowles and Flair Magazine (1950–51).

    Teal Triggs is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts and Manufacture (FRSA), Fellow of the Royal College of Art (FRCA) and, of the International Society of Typographic Designers (FiSTD).

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  • Practice

  • In addition to her work as an educator and researcher, Teal Triggs co-founded the Women’s Design + Research Unit (WD+RU) in 1994, whose aim is to raise awareness for women working in visual communication while also addressing issues such as those affecting women in design education. WD+RU’s work ranges from the experimental typeface ‘Pussy Galore’ for Fuse 12: Propaganda (1994) to funded community engagement projects such as ‘Handing Down the Memory Cloth: An exploration into cultural identity and the role of women in craft and design history’ (2006) funded by the Royal Female School of Art Foundation. WD+RU has exhibited internationally in galleries and museums in the USA and more recently, in a group show ‘elles@centrepompidou’ – a major exhibition of women artists in the Collection of the National Modern Art Museum, Pompidou Centre, Paris (2009–10). WD+RU also contributed a visual essay to a co-edited book by John Bertram and Yuri Leving’s (eds., 2013) Lolita: Story of a Cover Girl Vladimir Nabokov’s Novel in Art and Design (New York: Print/F+W).

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  • External collaborations

  • Teal Triggs has led knowledge exchange projects for the School of Communication including those in partnership with Thames & Hudson and Hyundai Motor Company.

    Book Futures Lab launched in 2015 with an international symposium ‘Ecologies of Publishing Futures’ (2015) co-organised by Professor Teal Triggs (RCA), Professor Laurene Vaughan (RMIT) and Lucas Dietrich (Thames & Hudson). The event brought together academics, designers, storytellers, publishers and students, speculating in publishing futures including the role of writing, designing and the processes of mediating, distributing and reading.

    Read more: The Future of Book Publishing - Professor Teal Triggs in conversation with Octavia Reeve

    More than a conventional industry project, staff and students collaborated with Hyundai Motor Company in the research and exploration of ‘mobility’. The outcomes of the year-long project were presented in a book The Horse is Dead, Long Live the Horse, with the intent to engage the organisation’s internal staff in dialogue towards a broader perception or notion of the car from that of merely developing new marketing messages.

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  • Publications, exhibitions and other outcomes

  • Publications

    Triggs, T. and Leslie Atzmon, (eds) (2016) The Graphic Design Reader. London: Bloomsbury (forthcoming).

    Triggs, T. with Frost, D. (illustrations) (2015) The School of Art. London: Wide Eye Editions.

    Triggs, T. Shaughnessy, A. and, Gerber A. (2015) GraphicsRCA: Fifty Years and Beyond. London: Royal College of Art.

    Triggs, T. and Cook, S. (2013) ‘Passion and Possession: The Visual in the Portrayal of Lolita by Nabokov, Kubrick and Stern’, in: John Bertram Lolita: The Story of a Cover Girl. New York: Print/F+W

    Triggs, T. (2013) ‘Writing Design Criticism into History’ in Design and Culture 5(1) March, London: Bloomsbury, 33-38

    Triggs, T. (2013) ‘Fanzines’, in: Jacqueline Edmondson, (ed) Enclyopedia of American Music and Culture [four volumes] Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO

    Triggs, T. (2013) ‘A Fleeting Moment: Ephemerality and the Graphic Object’ in L. Morgan (ed) Impact 7: Intersections & Counterpoints: International Multi-disciplinary Printmaking Conference. Melbourne: Monash University, 20-28

    Triggs, T. (2012) ‘Ripped & Torn, But Never Thrown Away’, Poli: Politique de l’Image Numero 6 Paris: Poli-Revue, 66-72

    Triggs, T., McAndrew, C., Akama, Y and Choukeir, J. (2011) ‘Telling Your Story: People and the Aylesbury Estate’, in: Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Royal College of Art. Online Proceedings: www.include.rca.ac.uk

    Triggs, T. (2011) ‘Riot Grrrl Punk: A Case Study in the Personal Politics of British Riot Grrrl Fanzines’ in: Leslie Atzmon (ed) Visual Rhetoric and the Eloquence of Design. West Lafayette, Indiana: Parlor Press, 63-97

    Triggs, T. (2011) ‘Graphic Design and Critical Practices: Informing Curricula’ Icograda: The Future of Design Education Manifesto, Montreal: ICOGRADA

    Triggs, T. (2010) ‘Fanzines: New Directions for the DIY Revolution’, Ultrabold: The Journal of St Bride Library, London: St Bride Library, 10-17

    Triggs, T. (2010) ‘Mentoring Research Staff: A UK Perspective’. Netzwerken und Kunstwerken: Mentoring an Kunstlerischegestalterischen Hochschulen’, in: T. Wodiunig and U. Binggeli (eds) HKB, Switzerland

    Triggs, T. (ed) (2010) Forms of Inquiry. Special Issue: ‘History of Graphic Design’ Design Issues, Cambridge: MIT Press

    Triggs, T. (2010) Fanzines: The DIY Revolution (Thames & Hudson, UK) with co-pub: Fanzines: The DIY Revolution (Chronicle Books, USA) and La Revolution du DIY (Pyramyd, French Edition)

    Triggs, T. (2009) Professorial Platform: Do it Yourself Grrrl Revolution: Ladyfest, Performance and Fanzine Culture, London: University of the Arts London

    Triggs, T. (ed) (2009) Visual Communication. Special Issue: Information Environments, London: Sage Publishers (August)

    Triggs, T. (2009) ‘Designing Graphic Design History’, Journal of Design History 22, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 325-340

    Triggs, T. and McAndrew, C. (2009) ‘Transforming policy practice in transport: Is there a space for communication design?’ in: Include 2009: International Conference on Inclusive Design. Royal College of Art, London: Online Proceedings: www.include.rca.ac.uk

    Triggs, T. and McAndrew, C. (2009) ‘A three-tiered approach to knowledge production in design research’, in: J. Verbeke and A. Jakimowicz (eds.), Communicating (By) Design. Sint-Lucas, Belgium & Chalmers, Sweden, 319-326

    McAndrew, C. and Triggs, T. (2009) ‘Counter Terrorism: Risk perception and communication in naturalistic environments’, in: W. Wong and N. Stanton (eds), Naturalistic Decision Making and Computers. British Computer Society: Middlesex, 251-252

    ‘Great Women Typographers: Where Are They? An Interview with Sybille Hagmann’,
in: Nadine Mordem (ed), (2008)Font: The Sourcebook. London: Black Dog Publishing, 128-135


    Academic Papers

    Triggs, T. ‘Curating Graphic Design and its History’ (2016) in: Mapping Graphic Design History in Switzerland, Robert Lzicar and Davide Fornari (Eds), Zürich: Triste Verlag für Architektur, Design und Typografie

    Triggs, T. (2016 reprint) extracts from 'Typo-Anarchy: a New Look at the Fanzine Revolution', Emigre, no. 46 (San Francisco, Spring 1998) 15-16; 17; 18-19; 20; reprinted in The Magazine (Documents of Contemporary Art Series) edited by Gwen Allen London: Whitechapel Gallery

    Triggs, T. (2016) ‘Designing Education for Business’ in: Jürgen Faust and Sabine Junginger (eds) Designing Business Book, London: Bloomsbury

    Triggs, T. (2016) ‘Collaborative Learning’ in: Elizabeth Resnick (ed) Developing Citizen Designers, London: Bloomsbury.

    Triggs, T. (2015) ‘Mapping Futures for Graphic Design Education’ in: Barbara Predan and Petra Cerne Oven (eds) Design Education: What do you see? What do you think? What do you make of it? (bilingual English/Slovene) London: Ashgate, 92–110

    Dalton, B., Martin, K.. McAndrew, C., Nikoolopoulous, M. and Triggs, T. (2015) ‘Design Strategies for Visible Counter-Terrorism in Public Spaces.’ in: Alex Stedman and Glyn Lawson (Eds) Hostile Intent and Counter-Terrorism: Human Factors Theory and Application. London: Ashgate, 261–276

    Triggs, T. and Cook, S. (2013) ‘Passion and Possession: The Visual in the Portrayal of Lolita by Nabokov, Kubrick and Stern’ in: John Bertram and Yuri Leving (eds)  Lolita: The Story of a Cover Girl. New York: Print/F+W

    Triggs, T. (2013) ‘Writing Design Criticism into History’, Design and Culture 5(1) March, London: Bloomsbury, 33–38

    Triggs, T. (2013) ‘A Fleeting Moment: Ephemerality and the Graphic Object’ in L. Morgan (ed) Impact 7: Intersections & Counterpoints: International Multi-disciplinary Printmaking Conference. Melbourne: Monash University, 20–28

    Triggs, T. (2012) ‘Ripped & Torn, But Never Thrown Away’, Poli: Politique de l’Image Numero 6 Paris: Poli-Revue, 66-72

    Triggs, T., McAndrew, C., Akama, Y and Choukeir, J. (2011) ‘Telling Your Story: People and the Aylesbury Estate’, in: Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Royal College of Art. Online Proceedings: www.include.rca.ac.uk

    Triggs, T. (2011) ‘Riot Grrrl Punk: A Case Study in the Personal Politics of British Riot Grrrl Fanzines’ in: Leslie Atzmon (ed) Visual Rhetoric and the Eloquence of Design. West Lafayette, Indiana: Parlor Press, 63–97

    Triggs, T. (2011) ‘Graphic Design and Critical Practices: Informing Curricula’, Icograda: The Future of Design Education Manifesto, Montreal: ICOGRADA

    Triggs, T. (2010) ‘Fanzines: New Directions for the DIY Revolution’, Ultrabold: The Journal of St Bride Library, London: St Bride Library, 10–17

    Triggs, T. (2010) ‘Mentoring Research Staff: A UK Perspective’. Netzwerken und Kunstwerken: Mentoring an Kunstlerischegestalterischen Hochschulen’, in: T. Wodiunig and U. Binggeli (eds) HKB, Switzerland

    Triggs, T. (ed) (2010) Forms of Inquiry. Special Issue: ‘History of Graphic Design’ Design Issues, Cambridge: MIT Press

    Triggs, T. (2010) Fanzines: The DIY Revolution (Thames & Hudson, UK) with co-pub: Fanzines: The DIY Revolution (Chronicle Books, USA) and La Revolution du DIY (Pyramyd, French Edition)

    Triggs, T. (2009) Professorial Platform: Do it Yourself Grrrl Revolution: Ladyfest, Performance and Fanzine Culture, London: University of the Arts London

    Triggs, T. (ed) (2009) Visual Communication. Special Issue: Information Environments, London: Sage Publishers (August)

    Triggs, T. (2009) ‘Designing Graphic Design History’, Journal of Design History 22, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 325–340

    Triggs, T. and McAndrew, C. (2009) ‘Transforming policy practice in transport: Is there a space for communication design?’ in: Include 2009: International Conference on Inclusive Design. Royal College of Art, London: Online Proceedings: www.include.rca.ac.uk

    Triggs, T. and McAndrew, C. (2009) ‘A three-tiered approach to knowledge production in design research’, in: J. Verbeke and A. Jakimowicz (eds.), Communicating (By) Design. Sint-Lucas, Belgium & Chalmers, Sweden, 319–326

    McAndrew, C. and Triggs, T. (2009) ‘Counter Terrorism: Risk perception and communication in naturalistic environments’, in: W. Wong and N. Stanton (eds), Naturalistic Decision Making and Computers. British Computer Society: Middlesex, 251–252
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Selected work

Research

Research interests

Teal Triggs’ research covers graphic design writing, history and education. She is also involved in research in the emerging field of information environments, specifically that which explores the role of information in public spaces and community-based learning.


A New Kind of Reading: Flair Magazine (1950–51)

This research, which will result in a series of academic essays, is divided into two key aspects tracing the publishing impact of Flair magazine (1950–51, USA). Firstly, the influential design of Flair magazine and to critically examine its position as a lifestyle magazine in Post-War America. And, secondly, to explore the publication from an editorial ‘point of view’ and explore the significance of the role of Flair’s editor Fleur Cowles, and her editorial direction as it relates to the magazine’s fashion pages. The project is funded by: the RCA Research Development Fund; Harry Ransom Center Fellowship for the Humanities, University of Texas at Austin and, the Fleur Cowles Endowment Travel Fund (2013).


The Graphic Design Reader

In this forthcoming publication, The Graphic Design Reader (Bloomsbury), co-edited by Teal Triggs and Leslie Atzmon (East Michigan University), takes as its starting point an exploration of the ways in which theory and practice, canons and anti-canons, have operated within this discipline. The reader draws upon relevant primary texts from a broad range of sources as well as historical periods, cultures and from disparate points of view. The Reader also includes sections and newly commissioned essays that will consider current issues and contemplate future concerns in graphic design.


RCA Graphic Design: Defining Innovative Postgraduate Curricula

The recent paradigm shift concerning art school education has dominated conferences, scholarly discourse and academic publications. Yet, Graphic Design education has suffered from the lack of any significant body of published pedagogical research highlighting the changing nature of postgraduate curricula internationally. This research, co-authored with Jeff Willis (RCA), will develop a series of short case studies highlighting innovative curricula within the field of visual communication. The project is supported by the RCA Teaching Innovation Fund (2013/14).


Kaleidscope: Transformational Learning on the Aylesbury Estate

The ‘Kaleidoscope’ project was developed to increase the number of adult learners who could access learning through local facilities and progress further along the route to employment. The project, led by Creation Trust with partners Inspire, Media Citizens and Information Environments (UAL), was funded by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (2009). For the project, Teal Triggs co-developed and led on a series of inter-generational workshops for invited residents to tell some of their rich life histories and to share memorable photos, objects, recipes, food, celebrations and craft. In addition to the development of the project website and documentary films, a book was produced which published the results of the resident’s work. The project’s findings were also published in the proceedings of Include 2011.


Creative Connexions: Thinking about Thinking

This one-year project (2009–10) was funded by Creative Connexions as part of a knowledge exchange programme which explored the rich cultural contexts and educational practices of India; specifically the stories of staff and students at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. This work was undertaken at the University of the Arts London with Professor Teal Triggs, Patrick Roberts, Sam Winston, Dr Claire McAndrew, and Peter Maloney.

The project website may be found here.

Research

Research students