Adrian Shaughnessy


  • Adrian Shaughnessy is Senior Tutor on the Visual Communication programme at the Royal College of Art. As a member of the Senior Management Team, he is closely involved in Programme management. Shaughnessy also oversees the Eady Forum, a student-led graphic design discussion group, and runs a new professional practice initiative for all students within the Visual Communication programme. He is responsible for the new collaborative elective, Collaborate or Die!

  • Biography

  • Adrian Shaughnessy is a self-taught graphic designer. In 1989 he co-founded the design group Intro. Under his creative leadership the studio won numerous awards, and at the turn of century employed 40 people. Intro was an early adopter of digital technology and a pioneer of digital motion graphics.

    In 2004, Shaughnessy left Intro to pursue an interest in writing and lecturing, and to work as an independent design consultant. His book How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul has sold 80,000 copies to date, and has been translated into numerous languages including Mandarin, Korean and Japanese. Shaughnessy writes regularly for all the leading graphic design journals. He had a monthly column in Design Week, and is a contributing writer to Design Observer.

    In 2010 he was elected to Alliance Graphique Internationale, the invitation-only organisation comprising the world’s leading graphic designers. He hosts an occasional series of radio shows on ResonanceFM called Graphic Design on the Radio.

    Shaughnessy is co-founder of the publishing imprint Unit Editions. The company publishes a wide range of graphic design books. Shaughnessy is the author of monographs on Herb Lubalin, Ken Garland, FHK Henrion and most recently Lance Wyman. He has also edited, or co-edited: GraphicsRCA: Fifty Years and Beyond. (RCA); Manuals 2. Design and Identity Guidelines (Unit Editions); and Total Design 1963-73. Expanded edition (Unit Editions).

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  • External collaborations

  • Shaughnessy has been an external examiner at various UK and European universities, including Liverpool John Moores University, Sheffield Hallam, LCC and IADT in Ireland. In 2012 he received an Honorary Degree from University of the Creative Arts. In 2009, he was awarded a Visiting Professorship at the Royal College of Art, London. The following year he was appointed Senior Tutor on the College’s Visual Communication programme. In addition, Shaughnessy lectures around the world and has made numerous appearances on radio and television, discussing issues relating to design and visual communication, including an appearance as a “witness” on The Moral Maze in November 2014. 

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  • Publications, exhibitions and other outcomes

  • Shaughnessy has spoken at numerous design conferences, recent examples of which include: Brand New, Chicago; Visuelt, Oslo; Break Conference, Belfast; Design Observer Conference, London; Offset, Dublin; How Conference, Chicago; Typographics, New York; and London Design Festival, London.

    In 2014, Shaughnessy was a co-curator of GraphicsRCA: Fifty Years and Beyond, an exhibition celebrating half a century of graphic design at the RCA. In 2015, he curated a typography exhibition, wrote and designed a book for Typojanchi 2015 - the world’s only typography biennale – in Seoul, South Korea.

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