Nancy Snow

Listen to Your Body: Designing For Type 2 Diabetes Management

Food Tracker App

This study informed the design of several components of a digital application to support education and strategies for the management of type 2 diabetes. This tool allows individuals to track food intake, activities, and blood glucose readings, creating visual representations of the relationship among individual's actions, choices, and their body’s response. The study helped identify the needs of those with diabetes and their healthcare providers through expert interviews. Scenarios and Requirements were used to generate key components for a prototype digital application. A usability study was conducted with healthcare providers to evaluate content and design, with results informing recommendations for the next iteration to be tested with those living with diabetes. This study revealed the value of designing for information need. Further studies could include user testing with individuals with type 2 diabetes to collect their perceptions and needs in the context of using a digital interface and self-care strategies.

Sandra Gabriele, Supervisor
David Gelb, Advisor


Michael Fan

Wanderland:Exploring Experimentation in Design Theory to Find New Ways of Working, Understanding and Interpreting Process and Outcomes

Wanderland Wanderland Cards

This project examines the nature of experimentation in graphic design in order to understand how a designer might uncover new ways of working apart from the conventional solution-based approach in professional practice. It is informed by practices in graphic design, animated films, and art. Particular attention is focused on alternative design experimentation. The thesis opens up a debate about the relationship of process and professionalism in design practice. ! In contemporary practice, designers learn to embrace the mistakes which occur during the design process. These mistakes or ‘failures’ have guided designers to definite solutions using effective and efficient strategies and techniques, and have also offered spaces for alternative approaches to emerge when a designer emphasizes his own creative purposes. The paper proposes failure and an adaptation of ideas by theorist Judith Halberstam, for designers to consider as a new approach to creative design that provides not only a new methodology, but also a new way of understanding how experimentation works. Halberstam’s treatise, The Queer Art of Failure, examines the traditional concept of failure as a way to explore, detour, and ‘lose oneself’ in order to offer more creative ways of being in the world.

Sandra Gabriele, Supervisor
David Gelb, Advisor

Marie-Noëlle Hébert

Re-envisioning Graphic Design as a Dialogic Practice: An Investigation into the Constructive Potential of Disruption within Aesthetic Practices

Fashion Poster Fashion Poster

The aesthetic dimension of graphic design is often considered an “added-value” to the content, which determines the importance of the piece. As a result, the critical potential of form is often overlooked and involvement in content production and selection serves as the primary way to engage in critical discourse. This thesis however highlights the dialogic dimension of aesthetics and the craft of design by focusing on disruption as a constructive tool for critical disciplinary enquiry. More precisely, it uses disruptions to the conventional norms of professional practice as a way to reconcile design’s critical potential and its commercial reality. Form-making is considered a form of disciplinary research as well as a form of écriture with the capability to initiate both disciplinary and socio-cultural discourse. Semiotic theory is used as a framework for investigation. As such, the thesis includes an analysis of the effect of disruption to the pragmatic, syntactic and semantic dimensions of design works, including discussions of examples from the field as well as the results of personal visual exploration.

Sandra Gabriele, Supervisor
David Cabianca, Advisor

Bahar Nasirzadeh

Negotiations in the Third Space: Visualization of the Complexity of an Iranian Woman’s Identity

Visual Autobiography Visual Autobiography

Iranian female identity is typically represented as static and fixed, either portraying women as ‘modern’ or ‘victims’ (from the Western perspective) or ‘Westoxified’ or ‘modest’ (from the Islamic state’s perspective). Utilizing Foucault’s theorization of subjectivity and disciplinary power and Bhabha’s Third Space theory, I draw attention to the disciplinary institutions, such as family, school, urban space, government, and national and foreign media, and the ways that Iranian women resist and challenge these regimes of ‘regularization.’ I propose that through these contestations, ‘hybrid’ forms of Iranian gendered identity emerge as a result of creative borrowing and blending of Islamic, Iranian, and Western paradigms as the three dominant paradigms of modern Iran. My thesis project is a visual autobiography, titled Bahar's Story: Negotiations in the Third Space, which examines my experiences of being a female during my growing up in Iran, in order to visualize the complexity of Iranian women's gendered identities.

Jan Hadlaw, Supervisor
Elizabeth Hobart, Advisor

Malika Soin

Seeking the Magic in Design:  An inquiry into defamiliarizing the everyday

Exhibition Book

This thesis project explores the application of the artistic and literary genre of magical realism to graphic design. The goal is to use the genre’s ability to defamiliarize everyday Indian cultural objects in order to reveal the magical in the mundane. Apart from a discourse on design and its role in the everyday, the research also focuses on making an audience conscious of their habitual responses to quotidian life through graphic design. Using magical realist graphic design, everyday Indian cultural objects are morphed into objects worthy of notice and appreciation. These transformed objects challenge an audience to recognize the ideologies perpetuated in a culture through everyday objects. The objects are chosen as a result of the author’s nostalgia experienced due to a displaced cultural context from India to Canada. The projects made during this thesis, “Pigment,” “Paper Cones” and “Clay” constitute an away- from-home “survival kit.”

David Cabianca, Supervisor
Angela Norwood, Advisor

Saskia Van Kampen

Handcraft as a Rhetorical Prop:  An investigation into What Handcraft Techniques Offer the Discipline of Graphic Design

Handcraft Poster Book

This thesis paper examines how handcraft (making an item by analog means using specific materials) can be a compelling rhetorical tool for graphic designers to harness. Contrasting handcraft techniques with computer graphics software “unsettles” rote graphic design practices. The meaning that lies in the physical act of making, the materials that are used and the contexts with which particular handcrafts are associated can support, as well as carry, visual rhetoric in design works.

An analysis of the unconventional handcraft work produced by Stefan Sagmeister (USA), Mathias Augustyniak and Michaël Amzalag of M/M (Paris) (France), Marian Bantjes (Canada), and by this author (specifically, a design book produced in tandem with this paper) is used to demonstrate how complex meanings contained within handcrafts can be revealed and used in graphic design. The combination of handcraft and digital techniques enables designers to interweave the disparate social, physical and material qualities of the two processes into their work. In this way the work engages in disciplinary and societal discourse.

David Cabianca, Supervisor
Sandra Gabriele, Advisor