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The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation
PhD scholarship - ‘Visual impairment and signage legibility’
The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation
The school is one of the two Danish School of Architecture and one of the world’s oldest schools of architecture.
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Publiceret: 2 måneder
Ansøgningsfrist: sep. 15
Beliggenhed: Copenhagen K, Danmark
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PhD scholarship - ‘Visual impairment and signage legibility’

The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture, posts vacant PhD scholarship (KADK)  
The PhD scholarship is posted in the following project:  “Typeface Legibility for Visually Impaired Readers”  


The project Typeface Legibility for Visually Impaired Readers is a 4 year research project funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research. The research project assembles a highly cross disciplinary team of experienced researchers drawn from KADK (organiser), Rigshospitalet – Glostrup, CNRS & Aix-Marseille Université and Microsoft Seattle.

This call is for a 3 year PhD Scholarship that is fully integrated within the project.

The PhD student will be enrolled at the PhD School at KADK ( and affilitated with the Institute of Visual Design ( It is our ambition that the PhD will start in February 2018.

General Project Summary

The aim is to general improve the legibility and accessibility of information for the visually impaired in the context of the conventional print media, digital media and signage.

By combining psychophysical methods with research-by-design, the research group will identify the characteristics that can improve the legibility of typefaces for people suffering from visual impairment. The purpose of the project is to investigate which letter forms are optimal for reading signs, on screen and in print media. The problems are investigated from a multidisciplinary angle of researchers from the fields of design, psychology and clinical ophthalmology. The investigations will be carried out as a series of trials with different versions of typefaces as test material. The results of the studies are expected to generate new knowledge that can be implemented in the layout of written communication.

PhD Focus
The PhD scholarship is entitled ‘Visual impairment and signage legibility’

The purpose of signs, for instance safety signs, directional signs and identification signs, is to convey information, and thereby help readers understand a message or find their way. Well-designed and legible signs are therefore fundamental for people to function in modern society.

There are indications that a large x-height, wide letters, wide spacing and low stroke contrast might benefit distance legibility. Yet, what is the limit for these characteristics? How do you account for environmental as well as day and night differences for signage legibility? What is the effect of colour, the use of light, and of different surface material on signage? Can legibility be improved though the layout of signs alone? How does these aspects affect different target groups, such as young, old, normal vision and low vision?

The applicant is expected to frame a question within these focus areas and can take the outset in a specific case study.

PhD student will develop new designs that can be applied in the testing of the material through psychophysical test methods. PhD student will work directly and primarily with signage legibility together with the support of the other project members. There is also a reciprocal obligation to contribute to other work-packages for the project where necessary and to participate in the planned teaching activities. The PhD project will be supervised by associate professor Sofie Beier.

Researcher’s eligibility criteria

A master’s degree in design, architecture, or other degree of equivalent relevancy is required. Alternatively, you can document Master's level of competences through long-term education (4-5 years), knowledge, skills, competencies and professional experience within the field of design or architecture.

Mature skills in designing is expected and must be demonstrated in the application.

Terms of employment

Enrolment takes place with a view to obtain a PhD degree, and leads to salaried employment for a period of three years in accordance with the agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations, AC, protocol on graduate fellowships (annex 5). The salary consists of a seniority-based base salary and a non-pensionable allowance.

The PhD programme is structured under the provisions of Ministerial Order on the PhD Programme at the Universities and Certain Higher Artistic Educational Institutions (PhD Order) no. 1039 of 27 August 2013 issued by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education regarding PhD programmes and PhD degrees. This executive order is available on the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture’s website (

If you have completed a degree abroad, it will be assessed by the Danish Agency for International Education before employment can take place. Practical information can be found at

Application requirements

There are no application forms. Applications must be written in English.

Applications are submitted electronically and must include:

  • A reflection on the stated designerly aims of the project in the form of proposed theoretical orientations, comparison to existing research, preliminary syllabus and a proposal of the principle methods to be employed in project development (max. 5 regular standard pages).
  • CV.
  • Documentation of educational merits, other qualifications and previous activities.
  • A list of published papers/publications (if applicable).
  • A list of anticipated publications and dissemination venues for the project.
  • A portfolio of selected design works.

Please submit applications following the link below no later than 15.09.2017.

For further information about the application requirements, please contact Ditte Dahl by telephone at +45 4170 1532 or by e-mail at

Anyone who meets the requirement of an academic degree at a graduate level is encouraged to apply for the scholarship regardless of age, gender, race, religion or ethnicity.

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