James March

Meditations on the Connections Between Memory and Graphic Design

Meditations on the Connections Between Memory and Graphic Design

Since the adoption of memory an an investigative area within the social sciences in the twentieth century, the act og the memorization has been examined largely within categorical, rationalized expressions. Central issues currently exist in memory research: 1) the difficulty of visually depicting the active process of memorizing; and 2) the limitation of assessing memory as a categorized entity rather than a multidimensional, polarized system. In simplifying highly complex imagery, graphic design has made significant contributions to contemporary visual aesthetics, positioning itself as a mediator between a wide a variety of comparable disciplines. This thesis examines the active process of memory through graphic design practices. By applying design principles and composing visual metaphors of sorting information alongside techniques dating from the ancient and medieval ages, graphic design as a methodological practice endeavours to bridge the disconnect between contemporary memory models by generating a visual lexicon of an abstract mental process.

Paul Sych, Supervisor
Angela Iarocci, Advisor


Kaila Jacques

Addressing Executive Functioning Concerns in Individuals with Asperger's Syndrome Through Graphic Design Practice

Addressing Executive Functioning Concerns in Individuals with Asperger's Syndrome Through Graphic Design Practice

This study demonstrates how graphic design can be utilized to facilitate communication in the development of tangible aids through participatory approach that targets adults with Asperger's syndrome (AS). It served to investigate and develop visual design strategies that might support executive functioning. The specific executive functions that were addressed include: planning, attention, initiation, multi-tasking, flexibility and working memory.

The study involved expert interviews with healthcare professionals, participant interviews, camera documentation by the participants, and participatory design sessions. Participants were recruited via flyers posted at The Redpath Centre in Toronto. All those who responded were previously diagnosed with AS and ranged in age from 20 to 50 years old. Each stage of the study demonstrated that individuals with AS have issues with executive functioning tasks. These issues impact emotions and their ability to function independently in society. Although these individuals shared to common diagnosis, Asperger's syndrome, the study indicated clearly that each was unique and needed to be respected as such. Using visual materials in a ll stages of the process enhanced communication.

An iPhone application was designed to address issues from previous research and as voiced by participants in this study. It includes features that assist with facilitating executive functioning to address the specific need of individuals with AS. A participatory design approach enriched the process of developing this application by exploring the unique challenges experienced by individuals with AS.

Sandra Gabriele, Supervisor
Michael Longford, Advisor
Adrienne Perry, Advisor


Monika Krupa

Secrets of Magic School: Emergent Learning Through the Design Process in a Kindergarten Classroom

Secrets of Magic School: Emergent Learning Through the Design Process in a Kindergarten Classroom

The thesis asks how do kindergarten children engage with the design process? The thesis looks at community, collaboration and creativity in relation to the design process. It is rooted in ideas from design-based learning approaches and Regio Emilia- inspired pedagogical documentation. The study introduced kindergarten children at a public school in Toronto to the design process. the design process is a creative process, where concepts and insights are researched, developed and clarified. The final design artifact- a book- is a collection of shared operation that made the community collaboration and creativity in the class room evident. However, the complex interdependece among these factors mad them impossible to separate. the focus on the process allowed children to build upon existing strengths and knowledge and to engage the project in ways that they found meaningful.

Angela Norwood & Carol Anne Wien, Co-Supervisors


Angela Noussis

The Mechaics of Gaming & Learning: Intersecting Paradigms Through Design

The well-supported claim that play makes a significant contribution to social and intellectual development has led to a shift in pedagogical approaches which increasingly have been adapted to include many of the principles that are found within  good games. the goal of this thesis is to understand the role of design in these merging paradigms, and to design tools in order to direct the kind of learning that research tell us is happening in games.

Three approaches were utilized to extend the use of games as educational tools. A design-based challenge involving the 'gamification' of a learning module examined students' ability to extend their understanding of academic concepts. The creation of a digital, physics-based game prototype works works to introduce specific scientific concepts into academic curriculum and the design of an interactive website maps connection between gameplay mechanics and academic curricula.

Angela Norwood, Supervisor
Jennifer Jenson, Advisor