Krishna Balakrishnan

Strange Encounters: An Investigation of Graphic Design-produced Artifacts that Discuss Hybrid Embodiment of Indo-Canadian Identity


Postmodernism has been important in acknowledging the many forms of “otherness” that emerge from differences in subjectivity, gender, race, class, temporal and spatial geographic location and dislocation. This has become a topic of interest among graphic designers as they explore design’s relationship with culture. This thesis explores the use of graphic design to produce visual artifacts that discuss hybrid embodiment of Indo-Canadian identity. Cultural identities are represented as competing against one another, which results in recognizing one another as strangers. Multiculturalism and the migrant perspective are always constructed by proximity between strangers. Using hybridity, Homi Bhabha’s (1994) concept of a “third space” identifies a metaphor for the space in which cultures meet. Where communication, negotiation, and translation bridge societies, a new space emerges. This thesis employs the interventions of “the third space” to negotiate a meeting space with strangers. The project prepared during this thesis, The Avatars, represents an alternative way of seeing migrant perceptions of displacement, temporality and belonging.

David Cabianca, Supervisor
Wendy Wong, Advisor

Nicole Beno

Exploring Materiality in Graphic Design Through Creative Play


Graphic design can be investigated through the process of creative play where thinking and making are connected through materiality. This thesis explores three different methods of creative play that can be used by designers to generate concepts and challenge established ways of working. A research study on materiality and affect was conducted in the first phase of the thesis in order to locate a starting point for the visual explorations.From here, the process was divided into three different categories: improvisational, structured, and interactive play. Improvisational play can foster an understanding of materials and involves an intuitive way of working, without having a specific content in mind. Structured play focuses on how materiality can be manipulated to reflect content where materiality is used as a rhetorical device. Interactive play involves eliciting tactile engagement, where physical materials are implemented into the final design artifact and encourage engagement through touch. The process helps us to explore the visceral nature of different materials and their meaning within the context of everyday life. Creative play allows the designer to develop an understanding of how materials can engage audiences by tapping into the physical world..

David Gelb, Supervisor
Angela Iarocci, Advisor

Philippe Jean

Design Constraints and the Graphic Design Process: An Investigation into Creativity and How Self-imposed Design constraints can Affect Banal Information


The discipline of graphic design has an important role to play in developing how information is conveyed and consumed. This thesis has focused on uncovering how including self-imposed conceptual constraints in the design process can encourage creativity. Using weather data, I explored how such constraints can be used to liberate banal information from its structured, restrictive and mass consumed context, and ultimately participate in developing alternative meanings. Thus, through an exploratory approach to design practice, this investigation examined how conceptual constraints under three "creative operations" (combination, analogy, mutation) structured my work to allow for richer visual interpretations of banal information. Furthermore, by juxtaposing conceptual constraints with the "creative operations," I generated different visual propositions in order to disrupt routine processes in design and promote new and different designs. This research demonstrated how rules and conceptual constraints are viewed inside the context of graphic design. It also demonstrated how this framework for exploration can contribute to my own practice by allowing me to develop alternative design processes, and, ultimately, richer visual propositions for a given design problem.

Sandra Gabriele, Supervisor
David Gelb, Advisor

Emmie Tsumura

Pedal Off The Metal: An Investigation into Global Design and the Politics of Consumption


The research presented in this thesis is an investigation into global design and the politics of consumption. The aim of the research is to provide a survey of seventy-nine key global design events held in 2014 and review the key components witnessed in the staging of a global design event. The second aim of the study is to discuss the role that global design events play in perpetuating global inequalities as cities are further shaped by creative economic policy. The written research component of this thesis is used to inform my creative projects and communication design practice.

Wendy Wong, Supervisor
Elizabeth Hobart, Advisor