Jon Melton

Course Leader and Senior Lecturer, BA (Hons) Graphic Design

Faculty:Faculty of Arts, Law & Social Sciences

Department:Cambridge School of Art

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Graphic design and typography

Courses taught: Graphic Design

Jon is a graphic designer who specialises in type design. His practice-based research explores the empty spaces in typographic evolution, in order to develop new letterforms and speculative founts that further our understanding of display and ornamented types.

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Graduating from art school in 1984, Jon furthered his professional training in industry as an advertising art director and designer, working on major brands for clients including Tesco, Lotus Cars, Manchester United, Mirror Group Newspapers, Purdey Shotguns, UEA, Coventry University, Anglia Television.

Throughout his career, Jon has worked alongside or in collaboration with some of the more influential design groups of the 80's and 90s, such as Trickett and Webb, Negas+Negas, and Robinson Lambie-Nairn. 

Although specialising in graphic design Jon has, over the years, worked on a diverse range of design projects that also includes furniture, interior and architectural feature design. He headed his own design practice working for regional and London-based clients, and was appointed as a visiting lecturer at the Cambridge School of Art in 1996, before accepting his current post as Course Leader for BA (Hons) Graphic Design. Jon continues to contribute to the School's profile for typographic research, and leads a course with an ongoing reputation for high student satisfaction and excellence in commercial design practice.

Jon completed his Masters degree in Typographic Design in 2007, being awarded distinction for his postgraduate research into the categorising and contextualising of display and ornamented types of the 19th century. His typographic time travelling is particularly concerned with the late 18th and early 19th century periods and the Victorian age of exuberance in design tastes and mannerisms.

Through investigative practice he has generated a number of typefaces that explore the potential of historically inspired letterforms in contemporary contexts. Often this work seeks to revive traditional good practice in typography. Jon's font generation and historical research leads him to speak at conferences nationally, with papers published in industry magazines and journals. 

Currently, Jon is engaged in research that explores the origins of Christian glyphs and early gothic symbolism; he is completing a chapter for the 'Beauty of Letters' book to be published by Liverpool University Press next year; and he is investigating through practice-based research the diverse historical contexts of Sans Serif type - such as the inscriptional forms of Sir John Soane and the letterforms reproduced within the Cuban Afiches (poster genre) of the 1960s to 70s.

Research interests

  • Type design
  • Typographic and printing history
  • Graphic design ephemera
  • 18th- and 19th-century applied arts
  • Historical building period details

Areas of research supervision

  • Academic Panel: Subject Specialist for Graphic Design in PhD Confirmation of Candidature


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BA (Hons) Graphic Design


  • MA Typographic Design, Anglia Ruskin University
  • Cert Ed PCE, Anglia Ruskin University

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Type Directors Club, New York
  • St Bride Library, St Bride Foundation Institute, London
  • The Printing Historical Society, London
  • Design Research Group (Typography), Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge
  • The Typographic Hub, Birmingham City University

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • Type Design and Commercial Fonts
  • Freelance Graphic Design
  • Historical Buildings Period Detail – Drawings, Design and Consultancy

Selected recent publications

Melton, J., 2016. Revolting Sans. The Song of the Sans Serif Symposium, 30 September 2016, School of Visual Communication, Birmingham City University, Birmingham.

Melton, J., 2015. ‘A Man of Letters’ – Soane’s Typographic Vocabulary. Beauty of Letters Conference, 14-15 March 2015, University of Birmingham, Birmingham.

Melton, J., 2014. The Typographic Traveller. Landmarks in Printing Conference, 13-14 November 2014, Printing Historical Society, St Bride Library, St Bride Foundation Institute, London.

Melton, J. (exhibitor), 2012. Classic Soane. Type specimen. Types for the New Century Exhibition Hill, W. (Curator), The Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers, London, May 2012; travelling (2012-13) to: University of the West of England, Bristol; Northumbria University Newcastle; Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, Birmingham City University; Bauhaus University Wiemar; Museum for Druck-Kunst, Leipzig.

Melton, J., 2011. Sir John Soane: a Classical Architype. Ultrabold, 9, pp.4-10. St Bride Library, St Bride Foundation Institute, London.

Melton, J., 2010. Soane - a Classical Architype. Paper, DIY Design Conference, St Bride’s Library, St Bride Foundation Institute, London.

Typeface fonts used in publication

Arthur, B., 2011. How Britain Won the War of 1812. Empire Initials Font, front and back cover design Loxley, S. Boydell Press, Boydell & Brewer, Woodbridge, Suffolk.

Canning, H., 2010. Russian Baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky. BBC Music magazine, June issue, Russian Revolt Font, front cover and pp.30-35.

Hill, W., 2010. The Complete Typographer. Empire Initials specimen picture, pp.95. London: Thames and Hudson.