Hannah Ellis

Hannah Ellis MA (RCA)

Senior Lecturer in Graphic Design


I am a graphic designer, writer, educator and researcher. My practice explores visual communication and graphic design and their role as symptoms of the wider contexts around them, and how these critical discussions can be made accessible through design writing and education. 



Having begun my career as a graphic designer, working predominantly in print and publication design, my practice shifted into critical writing while undertaking my MA at the Royal College of Art. During this time, I began to focus on examining the contexts, traditions, and consequences of both contemporary graphic design — particularly outputs that get overlooked by the design press — and graphic design education.

My interest in graphic design lies in its being a visual expression of the contexts that surround and inform its production (social, political, cultural, economical, etc.), and the cultural impact that this goes on to have. Through writing, I have been exploring what is or isn't considered to be ‘graphic design’, what these outputs tell us about the world we live in, and who is or isn’t able (or allowed) to be involved in questioning the discipline and holding it to account. Being able to critically examine practice is important not only for designers, but also non-designers, who have as much involvement with the discipline through everyday exposure, whilst having almost no control over its production. My writing looks to make these critical discussions accessible to both those who create and those who are impacted by design, providing familiar entry points into what might be seen as a specialist area of interest.

As an educator, this focus extends into my teaching practice. I’ve worked across a range of visual communication courses at both BA and MA level, and developed practice and theory based curricula. I currently run ‘Graphic Design in Context’, a module that looks at how practice and theory combine to result in meaningful and sustainable studio work that considers the conditions it is created in, its objectives, as well as the unintended impact it may have as it is made, rather than retrospectively.


Senior Lecturer


Department of Art and Design

College of Social Sciences and Arts


Graphic Design


Journal articles

Ellis, H. (2018). The Inescapable Weirdness of the West. Eye, 24 (94).

Ellis, H. (2018). Everyday Bias in Everyday Algorithms. Creative Review. https://www.creativereview.co.uk/everyday-bias-in-everyday-algorithms/

Ellis, H. (2018). Design for Distraction, and Addiction? Creative Review. https://www.creativereview.co.uk/design-for-distraction-and-addiction/

Ellis, H. (2017). The Rise of the Memoir-ograph. Creative Review, 37 (5), 29-31.

Ellis, H. (2017). The Politics of Political Design. Creative Review, 37 (6), 88-91. https://www.creativereview.co.uk/politics-political-design/

Book chapters

Ellis, H. (2020). Education at 400bpm. In Laranjo, F. (Ed.) Modes of Criticism 4: Radical Pedagogy Investigating the Use of the Word 'Radical' in Design Discourse and Practice. (pp. 78-96). Onomatopee

Ellis, H. (2020). Education at 400bpm. In Laranjo, F. (Ed.) Modes of Criticism 4: Radical Pedagogy Investigating the Use of the Word 'Radical' in Design Discourse and Practice. (pp. 78-96). Onomatopee


Laranjo, F. (Ed.). (2022). Design Capital 1: The Circuit. Eindhoven, The Netherlands: Onomatopee. https://www.onomatopee.net/exhibition/design-capital/#publication_16829

Other publications

Fuller, J. (2017). Scratching the Surface 43. Hannah Ellis. https://scratchingthesurface.fm/post/165033906700/43-hannah-ellis

Other activities

External Examiner, BA (Hons) Graphic Communication, Cardiff Metropolitan University



Art and design

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