Zoë Bather


I am a Senior Lecturer and the Acting Course Leader on MA Sustainable Design at KSA, with over 10 years' experience in HE, and over 20 years as a practicing designer. My teaching practice explores intersections between sustainability and graphic design; and connects students with local communities and industry. Cross-disciplinary collaboration runs through both my teaching and design practices, which are very much intertwined.

In my former role on BA Graphic Design I ran a cross-year curriculum pathway exploring how graphic design can contribute narratives, critiques and innovations to societal questions and challenges.

I also led the department's Green Impact team – developing, supporting, and identifying best practice in Education for Sustainable Development – for which we hold a Gold Award. My on-going collaborations with colleagues across the University are exploring how to embed sustainability within HE curriculum and community in a way that is appropriate and meaningful.

In 2022 I conceived and delivered HATCH within the Graphic Design department – a L4–L7 programme concerned with building skills for, and awareness of, potential future career paths. HATCH been developed in response to findings from a 2021 SADRAS research project I undertook; and continues to be informed by my professional design experience and network.

I started my career in 2002 at internationally renowned Frost Design London, before co-founding Studio8 Design – a critically acclaimed graphic design studio – which I ran until 2012, when deciding to pursue my practice independently, alongside teaching. My design work has gained national and international awards.

Academic responsibilities

Acting Head of Department, Course Leader


  • BA Graphic Design
  • SOS-UK Green Impact Gold Award (Academic)
  • FHEA Fellow, Higher Education Academy

Teaching and learning

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Through my teaching in Graphic Design I look to facilitate projects that connect students with local communities, creative organisations, and professional contexts.

In 2017, I launched a Graphic Design Incubator within the BA course at Kingston, which helped realise the environmental, social, and economic potential of students' projects. Essentially getting ideas inside KSA out into the world and kickstarting creative businesses. It led to considerable student successes, including RSA and Creative Conscience Awards; a number of student start-ups; and perhaps most notably Chip[s] Labs – a start-up dedicated to finding value in waste.

As an evolution of Incubator, and in response to my 2021 SADRAS research project and the University's Future Skill's agenda, I have developed HATCH – a programme of professional practice insights, workshops and guidance, that is accessed by L4–L7 Graphic Design students, and prepares them for their future career.

I currently design and deliver the News from Nowhere Strand within the course (a cross-year curriculum pathway) that explores how graphic design practice can contribute to societal questions and challenges. Empathy and a care towards others – both in objectives and in design methods – underpins the Strand's approach and positioning. Recently this community of practice has been investigating notions of Sustainability, through a programme of curated research opportunities and?design workshops. Outcomes from this work are contributing to the KU's strategy for how to embed Sustainability within the curriculum across the University.

I lead the SoS Green Impact team for the Department of Graphic Design. Green Impact is a United Nations award-winning programme designed to support environmentally and socially sustainable practice in organisations. My role is concerned with developing, supporting, and identifying best practice in Education for Sustainable Development within the staff team. We currently hold a Gold Award accreditation and 3 individual project awards. In 2021 I was awarded Kingston University ‘Sustainability Hero' and was runner-up in the Green Impact national award.

Qualifications and expertise

  • FHEA Fellow, Higher Education Academy
  • SOS-UK Green Impact Gold Award (Academic)

Postgraduate courses taught

Professional practice, knowledge exchange and impact

As a creative director and editorial designer specialising in book design, I work with many publishers and clients to conceive rich, compelling, and informative narratives for both complex subjects and challenging content. I believe developing fruitful relationships between experts [within the publishing process] leads to rich [editorial] design experiences. This attitude to cross-disciplinary collaboration informs my teaching practice.

My professional practice has gained awards from The Society of Publication Designers, The Type Directors Club New York, the International Society of Typographic Designers, Design Week, Creative Review, and D&AD.

My teaching practice has been shared at Staff Development and Festival of Learning events, and contributed to the University's strategic development of embedding Sustainability within the curriculum. As part of a small team, I developed and ran a workshop focussed on exploring Education for Sustainable Development at CHEAD's 2023 conference.

Qualifications and expertise

  • Select Design Awards:
  • Type Directors Club – Citation for Typographic Excellence – 2010
  • D&AD Awards – Typography; Magazines & Newspapers – 2010
  • International Society of Type Directors Awards (ISTD) – Premier Award – 2009
  • Society of Publication Designers (SPD) – Medal Finalist – 2009
  • Design Week Awards – Editorial Design Category Winner – 2008
  • Art Directors Club Awards (ADC) – Corporate & Promotional Design – 2007

Social media