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READSEARCH: Case studies into experimental typography

In 2015, Prof. Dr. Ann Bessemans founded the READSEARCH legibility research group at PXL-MAD School of Arts and Hasselt University in Belgium. She also serves as program director of the school’s international Master program in reading type and typography. 

READSEARCH provides a unique environment bringing together design researchers, designers, scientists, students, and stakeholders through research, courses, and documentation. As a research group and educational program, READSEARCH focuses on reading research. The program aims to develop practical/typographic legibility and readability studies within a new conceptual framework surrounding micro-, meso-, and macro-typographic design research.

The READSEARCH sessions consist of short knowledge clips divided into the categories of typographic research (PhD and post-PhD) and education (international Master Reading Type and Typography projects). Select READSEARCH students and researchers each presented a specific subject, a particular concept, a basic principle or the main result, or a conclusion.

Knowledge clips are known for efficiency, support in a learning process, and focus. The track offers insights into some of READSEARCH’s core topics and emphasizes networking and discussion among students and other design researchers. These sessions do not focus on the institution or academic program, but rather on the specific topic of reading research.

Among other topics, moderated Q&A centers on the latest advances and pitfalls in the evolution of READSEARCH. Discussion, questions, and debate are encouraged in this environment.


Aline de Feyter


Ann Bessemans

Prof Dr. / Researcher + teacher READSEARCH

Prof. Dr. Ann Bessemans is a legibility expert and award-winning typographic and type designer. She founded the READSEARCH legibility research group at the PXL-MAD School of Arts and Hasselt University where she teaches typography and type design. Ann is the program director of the international Master program ‘Reading Type & Typography’. Ann received her PhD from Leiden University and Hasselt University under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Gerard Unger. She is a member of the Data Science Institute UHasselt, the Young Academy of Belgium and lecturer at the Plantin Institute of Typography.

Instagram @pxlmad (institution)


Céline van Bakel

MA student

What role can typographic communication play (be more effective in
awareness) in packaging, branding and ad campaigns as we continue to consume goods and services?


Deniz Kaya


Kevin Bormans

Researcher / Teacher READSEARCH / PXL-MAD School of Arts

Lieven Van Speybroeck

Researcher UHasselt / PXL MAD School of Arts

María Pérez Mena

Postdoctoral design researcher READSEARCH

Dr. María Pérez Mena is an award-winning graphic and type designer. She is a postdoctoral researcher at the legibility research group READSEARCH at PXL-MAD School of Arts and Hasselt University. María teaches typography and type design in the BA in Graphic Design at PXL-MAD and is a lecturer in the International Master program ‘Reading Type & Typography’ and the Master program ‘Graphic Design’ at the same institution. María received her PhD “with the highest distinction” from University of Basque Country and is a member of the Data Science Institute UHasselt.

Instagram @pxlmad (institution)


Milda Kuraityte

University of Lisbon

PhD student Belas Artes, University of Lisbon


Miss. Janneke Janssen


Walda Verbaenen


Fascinated by design in all its aspects, Walda Verbaenen graduated in 1990 from the Saint Luke Institute in Brussels, Graphic Design department. She combines her work as a graphic designer with her experience as a teacher. Verbaenen is an alumni of the Expert Class Type Design at the Plantin Institute in Antwerp, where she became, under the guidance of Dr. Frank E. Blokland, addicted to researching historical material as a starting point for designing new fonts. Verbaenen is always looking for the ultimate details in fonts, and is intrigued by the balance between different shapes and forms.