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Dr Ian Horton

Reader in Graphic Communication
London College of Communication
Email address
Researcher Research
Ian  Horton


Ian Horton is Reader in Graphic Communication at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. He has published work on: oral history and text-based public art; colonialist stereotypes in European and British comic books; the relationship between art history and comics studies; and public relations and comic books. He is co-editor of two forthcoming books Contexts of Violence in Comics (Routledge 2019) and Representing Acts of Violence in Comics (Routledge 2019), and is Associate Editor of the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics.

His present research is focused in three related areas: experimental typography, Dutch graphic design and comic books. He has presented conference papers on self-published comic books and creative freedom; experimental typography and curatorial practices; information design and graphic narratives. Hard Werken: One for All (Graphic Art & Design 1979-1994) [co-authored with Bettina Furnee] is the first academic study of this influential avant-garde Dutch graphic design studio, and was published by Valiz in 2018.

Since joining UAL in 2007 his research activity has expanded in the distinct but overlapping fields of comic studies, graphic design and illustration, addressing the intersection between these disciplines. His concern with information design and comic books has most recently found its realization in the formation of the Applied Comics Network which focuses on comic books that are designed to inform as much as they entertain. The inaugural event was held in May 2015 and co-organized with fellow founder members John Swogger (Archeological Illustrator and Comic Book Artist) and Lydia Wysocki (founder of Applied Comics Etc). We have organised further Applied Comic Network events as part of the annual Comics Forum conference and presented our findings at other comics studies conferences both in the UK and internationally.

Research Outputs




Current research students

  • Mark Hibbett, Doctor Doom In The Marvel Age: An Empirical Approach To Transmedia Character Coherence (Lead supervisor)
  • Paul Jackson, Do worlds have frames? Another narrative, another drawing: an ontology of the ‘unbounded’ story. (Lead supervisor)
  • Francisco Laranjo, Design as criticism: methods for a critical graphic design practice. (Lead supervisor)
  • Guy Lawley, Theorising ‘transformation’ in the paintings of Roy Lichtenstein (1961-1964) through an analysis of his relationship with comic art and his use of the so-called ‘Ben Day dot.’ (Lead supervisor)
  • Meichen April Lu, Memoirs of my Vulva:An exploration of female genitalia as characters within graphic narratives. (Lead supervisor)
  • Luise Schreuer, The contribution of illustration to socio-cultural and spatial discourses (Lead supervisor)
  • Louise Scovell, Design For Social Change (DFSC): using co-design, diagramming and geometry to understand and chart menstrual flow. (Lead supervisor)
  • Haiqi Yang, Can picture books help reduce anxiety in young adults? (Lead supervisor)
  • Tobias J Yu-Kiener, The Artist in Focus - Artists’ Biographies in the media of Comics and Graphic Novels. (Lead supervisor)
  • Yuqiao Zheng, In what ways can ironic counterpoint be applied in the adaptation of traditional female-led fairytales, using a creative combination of contrasting styles to create a picture book? (Lead supervisor)

Past research students

  • Klaus Birk, Building Experiences – A Reflective Design Process for Public Media Spaces. (Lead supervisor)
  • Gill Brown, Visual Elements and Visual Paradigms: re-thinking scientific conceptual figures through graphic design (Joint supervisor)
  • Joanna Choukier, Youth in Lebanon: Using collaborative and interdisciplinary communication design methods to improve social integration in post-conflict societies. (Joint supervisor)
  • Michael Connerty, Repositioning Jack B.Yeats as a Popular Comic Strip Artist. (Lead supervisor)
  • Maria Papadomanolaki, Sonic Perceptual Ecologies: Strategies for sound-based exploration, perception and composition in spaces of transient encounters. (Lead supervisor)