dr. Ann Bessemans (Postdoctoral Researcher)

Dr. Ann Bessemans is an award-winning graphic designer, working as a legibility specialist within her own founded research group READSEARCH at PXL-MAD and Hasselt University. At the same institute she also teaches typography and type design.

Her researches are an important contribution to legibility research and the international type design. It gives the practice of typeface design a better scientific foundation and provides interesting data, by which type designers can accommodate more to the wishes of the reader, both normal as well as impaired. In October 2012, she defended her PhD (Type Design for Children with Low Vision), under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Gerard Unger.

She was given multiple grants by Microsoft Advanced Reading Technologies (USA) for her innovative and pioneering projects, such as visual prosody. Dr. Bessemans was a finalist in in the ‘New Scientist Wetenschapstalent 2015’ and is an elected member of the Young Academy. Ann is also involved in European COST Action that studies the evolution of Reading in the age of Digitisation.

Ann is an international recognized lecturer at typographic and interdisciplinary conferences and gives workshops on several occasions both in Belgium and abroad.

Her research/design interests: typography, font design, legibility, reading, graphic design, book design, letter press and modular systems.

Her CV is downloadable here.

Dr. María Pérez Mena

Dr. María Pérez Mena holds a PhD with honours in Fine Arts from the University of Basque Country (UPV/EHU) entitled La creación tipográfica a través de la noción de proyecto. Proyecto de diseño de la tipografía EHU. Defended in July 2017, under the supervision of Dr. Eduardo Herrera and Dr. Leire Fernández, her research has focused on the creative process in a type design project. The typeface designed as part of this research was honoured in 2015 with a Clap Platinum as “best typeface for text” and is currently being used as corporate typeface in the University of Basque Country. She also holds an MA in Typography: Discipline and Uses (Universitat de Barcelona, UB) and an MA in Research and Creativity in Art (UPV/EHU).

She has presented and published several articles linked with her research in both conferences and scientific journals. Being a member of LETRAZ - Research Group of Typography and Graphic Design from the UPV/EHU, she is co-author of the books EHU Tipografia korporatiboa. Tipografía corporativa EHU (Eduardo Herrera, Leire Fernández, Daniel Rodríguez & María Pérez) and Zientzia Astea. Alfabetatze zientifikoa. Alfabetización científica (Eduardo Herrera, Leire Fernández & María Pérez).

Maarten Renckens (PhD student)

Maarten Renckens holds a BA in Architecture, a MA in Graphic Design and completed a teacher education.

During graphic design courses he discovered an excitement for typography and type design. His graduation project aimed at a more personal communication by studying and digitalizing different handwritings. The project dealt with the limits of digital font technology and in how much of a restriction these limitations impose on type design.

In the summer of 2014 Maarten was working as an intern under the supervision of dr. Ann Bessemans (founder of READSEARCH (PXL-MAD/Hasselt University)) who amplified his passion for typography, letters and legibility. Due to industriousness and achieved results, his internship was extended and resulted in a career as a PhD student. Continuing on dr. Bessemans’ work on Visual Prosody, Maarten was assigned to study prosodic type parameters for hearing impaired, in order to deliver the extra meaning of spoken sentences into reading text. Maarten is also involved in a European COST action on reading in the digital age.

His main design interests include typography, letter press, font design, legibility, reading, graphic design, book design and modular systems. He also has a strong tendency towards experimental font design trough reverse engineering technologies and searching for the limit of that technology.

Liesa Vanhoutteghem (internship)

Liesa Vanhoutteghem holds a BA in visual arts and is currently following her Master of Arts (MA) at the PXL MAD in Hasselt, Belgium.

Her interest in typography started in early graphic design classes in high school and expanded to the point of pursuing a college education, starting out with graphic design and illustration. Inspired by all sorts of handwriting, hand lettering & calligraphy in her first year, she signed up for a class in typography taught, by Dr. Ann Bessemans.

A curiosity for type design grew and slowly illustration muddled in with typography and a passion was born. Through the years she made several of her own lowercase type faces, under supervision of Dr. Ann Bessemans. As a part of her Master of Arts Liesa is working as an intern within READSEARCH in a project concerning visual prosody.

Janneke Janssen (Internship)

Janneke Janssen holds a bachelor degree in Visual Arts (Academy of Fine Arts Maastricht) and a bachelor degree in Graphic Design (University college PXL-MAD Hasselt).

After several years of work experience, she now wants to enlarge her knowledge about graphic design through the Master Reading Type and Typography at PXL-MAD and an internship at READSEARCH.

Her main interests include typography, book design, archives and collections, modular systems, legibility, the interrelation between image and word, narratives, digitization and graphic design.

Jong Hyeok Kim (Internship)

Jong-Hyeok Kim holds a bachelor’s degree from the Rhode Island School of Design in Graphic Design. Last year he also graduated with a visual/autonomous art work within the master Graphic Design course at KASK in Gent, Belgium.

In between these two degrees he worked as a graphic designer in South Korea, the United States and Belgium.

Now he’s challenging himself again to study the international master program 'Reading Type & Typography' at the University College PXL-MAD School of Arts in Hasselt, Belgium. He is eager to develop knowledge on typography in order understand better the core of graphic design. Also, he hopes that his study and internship – about visual prosody within the Korean Language — at READSEARCH would be a foothold to expand his (typographic) art and design projects in the future.


Prof. dr. Erik Nuyts (statistician)

Prof. dr. Erik Nuyts is researcher and lecturer at the University College PXL and associate professor at the University of Hasselt. He got a master degree in mathematics, and afterwards a PhD in biology. He has conducted scientific research for the last 30 years.

Since his specialty is research methodology and analysis, his working area is not limited to one specific field. His experiences in research, therefore, vary from mathematics to biology, traffic engineering and credit risks, health, physical education, (interior) architecture and typography.

His responsibilities both at the University College PXL as at the University of Hasselt involve preparation of research methodology, data collection and statistical analyses in many different projects. He is responsible for courses in research design, statistics and mathematics.

Since September 2015 Prof. dr. Nuyts is part of READSEARCH, founded by dr. Bessemans.