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Full Time Faculty

David Cabianca

Associate Professor
MArch Princeton University, USA
MFA Design, Cranbrook Academy of Art, USA
MA Typeface Design, University of Reading, UK
MA Design Writing Criticism London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, UK

David Cabianca joined the department in 2005. He has taught typography, history and theory at California Institute of the Arts, Cranbrook Academy of Art, OCAD and both architecture studio and theory and criticism at the University of Manitoba and the University of Michigan. At Michigan he was the 1997–98 William Muschenheim Fellow and received the Donna M. Salzer Award for excellence in teaching. His research and scholarship interests have to date focused on typeface design, contemporary graphic design, issues of representation and disciplinary conflict.

Initially designed while attending the University of Reading, his typeface Cardea was released by the Emigre Font Foundry in 2014, www.emigre.com/Fonts/Cardea. In 2012, he was one of the organizers of the AIGA Design Educators Conference, “Blunt: Explicit and Graphic Design Criticism Now.” His writing has appeared in Emigre, Idea, Design & Culture, Journal of Design History and Design Observer. He is currently working on a book about Ed Fella’s image archive (Unit Editions, forthcoming) funded in part by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. web: yorku.academia.edu/DavidCabianca

email: David Cabianca

Shital Desai

Assistant Professor
PhD, Queensland University of Technology, Australia

Shital Desai joins the School of the Arts Media Performance & Design with research interests in inclusive design solutions in assistive adaptive technologies for children and people with accessibility needs including older adults and persons with cognitive impairments. She is Interaction designer, Human Centred Designer and an Engineer with experience working in Robotics, Health industry, Communications technology and non-destructive testing since 1995. She has experience commercialising products, having released four products to the market.

She uses human centred design methods and engineering techniques to develop interventions for children and older adults with and without impairments. She develops novel participatory human-centred design methodologies and techniques for working with extreme ends of demographics scale such as children and older adults. She is interested in how people interact with new and emerging technologies such as Mixed reality technologies. She investigates how people especially with cognitive impairments use new modalities such as gestural interactions and various sensory cues.

Prior to joining York University, Shital was an AGE-WELL (Toronto) research fellow from 2017 to 2019 where her research focussed on developing technology-based interventions for older adults and people with dementia. She was awarded her PhD in Interaction Design from Queensland University of Technology and has taught courses in the areas of Interaction design, Culture and Design, Capstone Studio, and Research methods at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia. She is a recipient of several awards and grants including AGE-WELL Innovator of the Future, AGE-WELL Catalyst Grant, Design Research Society (DRS) Bursary, Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) and QUT Excellence Award.

She is currently affiliated to Inclusive Media and Design Centre (IMDC) at Ryerson University and Dementia Ageing Technology Engagement lab (DATE) at TRI UHN where she collaborates on various inclusive and accessible design research projects. She is a co-investigator in the AGE-WELL Catalyst grant “Investigating feasibility of Mixed Reality technologies for people with dementia”. She is a member of the WHO Dementia Knowledge Exchange peer review network where she shares her expert knowledge on dementia and technology in strengthening policies, service planning and health and social care systems for dementia.

web:  www.researchgate.net/profile/Shital_Desai3


Sandra Gabriele

Graduate Program Director
MDes University of Alberta, Canada

Sandra Gabriele is an Associate Professor and the Director of the Master of Design Program. She attended Ontario College of Art in Toronto; School of Design (Schule für Gestaltung) in Basel and holds a MDes in Visual Communication Design from the University of Alberta and a MASc in Human Computer Interaction from Carleton University. In professional practice, she designed communications materials for a variety of clients: government organizations, corporations, small businesses and non-profit organizations in both print and digital media. Her research has a user-centred focus within the fields of human-computer interaction, patient safety, security and privacy and legibility in typography.

email: Sandra Gabriele

David Gelb

Chair Department of Design
MEd University of Toronto, Canada

David Gelb explores the potential of technology and pedagogical experimentation with a focus on ethical interfaces, artifact collaboration, and building design knowledge. David is co-leader of Interactive Art + Design Learning Modules which is supported through the Shared Ontario Course Fund and includes 10 researchers, artists and designers from across the province.  He also co-leads Looking to the Future: Building State-of-the-Art eLearning in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design, a multi-year project focused on technology and pedagogical experimentation for arts-based teaching and learning.

David was one of the organizers for  Edge Effects: Digitally Engaged Learning conference held in fall 2018 at York University. He recently co-authored  The Design Process is a Research Process: Students and the Ethics of Inquiry, Bloomsbury Academic (2020). David teaches across the graduate and undergraduate spectrum with a focus on digital product design, user-centred research methods, and interaction design history and theory.

email: David Gelb

Jan Hadlaw

Associate Professor
PhD Simon Fraser University, Canada
MA Concordia University, Canada

Jan Hadlaw is an Associate Professor in the Department of Design and cross-appointed to the Communication & Culture, Science & Technology Studies, and Interdisciplinary Studies graduate programs. Prior to completing her PhD in media history, she was a graphic designer in Montréal and worked with a diverse range of clients, including Alcan, the National Film Board, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, and independent galleries and artists across Canada.

Her research focuses on design and everyday life, especially the design of 20th century technologies, their representation in popular culture, and their roles in advancing modern conceptions of time, space, and identity. Her book Communicating Modernity: Design, Representation, and the Making of the American Telephone (Johns Hopkins University Press, forthcoming) is a cultural and business history that examines how the telephone was conceived, promoted, and ultimately integrated into modern imaginaries and practices of everyday life. A new research project examines practices of repair and maintenance in the telephone industry that influenced the design of the telephone and management of its ‘afterlife.’

She is presently co-editing Connecting Canada, an interdisciplinary collection of essays that examine the roles of communication, transportation, culture, politics, and the economy in constructing Canadian national identity. She also co-edited the collection Theories of the Mobile Internet: Materialities and Imaginairies (Routledge, 2014).

Recent publications include: “Design Nationalism, Technological Pragmatism, and the Performance of Canadian-ness: The Case of the Contempra Telephone,” Journal of Design History (October 2019); “‘Mysteries of the New Phone Explained’: Introducing Dial Telephones and Automatic Service to Bell Canada Subscribers in the 1920s,” in Imhotep-Jones and Adcock (eds.), Made Modern: Science and Technology in Canadian History (UBC Press, 2018); and “The Modern American Telephone as a Contested Technological Thing,” in Atzmon and Boradkar (eds.), Encountering Things: Design and Thing Theory (Bloomsbury, 2017). She has published articles in such journals as Design Issues, Space & Culture, Technology & Culture, Material Culture Review, and Objet et Communication.

Dr. Hadlaw is the member of executive committee of the International Committee on the History of Technology (ICHOTEC), and sits on the editorial board of ICON: International Journal of the History of Technology.

email: Jan Hadlaw

Angela Norwood

MGD North Carolina State University, USA

Angela Norwood explores design as a practice for demonstrating knowledge and reflecting values. She is most interested in the potential for traditional knowledge systems to inform contemporary design practice and is currently co-developing such an approach to designing called Reciprocal Design, a mindset grounded in designers’ increased accountability in the pursuit of just and sustainable solutions. This approach has informed her career as an award-winning designer, educator, and researcher. Having designed systems-based corporate communications, ease of access for US voters abroad, and taught visual literacy to scientists, data analysts, and indigenous community groups, Norwood believes design is essential for addressing 21st century challenges, and has much to learn from traditional knowledge in order to do so most effectively. Her work has been published in a range of scholarly and  industry publications and is included in the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) National Design Archives.

Email: Angela Norwood

Gabriel Schaffzin

Ph.D. (University of California, San Diego)

Gabi Schaffzin is an artist, educator, and researcher based in San Diego. He recently completed his Ph.D. in Art History, Theory, and Criticism, Art Practice Concentration at University of California, San Diego. He holds a BS in Business Administration from Babson College in Wellesley and an MFA from the Massachusetts College of Art & Design’s Dynamic Media Institute. His dissertation project combines design history, disability studies, and a history of computing to trace the history of designed pain scales in the United States throughout the 20th century. He was a 2018–19 recipient of the Andrew V. and Florence W. White Dissertation Scholarship from the UC Humanities Research Institute and his writing has appeared in the Review of Disability Studies and PUBLIC. He is on the organizing committee for Theorizing the Web, an annual conference and non-profit organization focused on facilitating discourse on tech between scholars, activists, artists, and more.

Email: Gabriel Schaffzin

Paul Sych

Associate Professor

Creating a new visual literacy fuels professor, designer, and typographer Paul Sych’s identity. His work spans over two decades of graphic expression, innovation, and exploration. Paul’s creative design agency  Faith was founded as a chrysalis of design discovery producing prolific works in both digital and print spectrums.

Led by a penchant for distinctive typography and hand illustration, Paul’s unique approach to language and imagery has forged brand identities of compelling visual character and bold presence – manipulating the retention of concepts, ideas, and words, as well as refining the vocabulary of design in a company, piece, or publication.

Paul’s work has been published in over 100+ books and publications internationally. Highlights from his career include: winning 100+ design awards since 2010, selected by the New York Type Directors Club to judge the world’s most prestigious typography competition and being featuring by the design journal Graphis which named him one of the Ten Masters of Typography. In 2016, Paul’s work was featured in the book  The Typography Idea Book, Inspiration from 50 Masters by the renowned graphic design journalist, author, and critic Steven Heller. Most recently, Paul was inducted to the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) and was honoured as a fellow for his contributions to research in design, art direction, and typography.

email: Paul Sych

Wendy Wong

Director, Graduate Program in Design
PhD & MA  Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Professor Wendy S Wong has established an international reputation as an expert in Chinese graphic design history and Chinese comic art history. She served as Director of the Graduate Program in Design from 2015 to 2018, Chair of the Department of Design from 2006 to 2009, and as Associate Director of the York Centre for Asian Research from 2005 to 2009 at York University in Toronto, Canada. Dr. Wong was a visiting scholar at Harvard University from 1999 to 2000 and the 2000 Lubalin Curatorial Fellow at the Cooper Union School of Art, New York, USA. In 2009 and 2010, she was a visiting research fellow at the Department of Design History, Royal College of Art, and she served as a scholar-in-residence at the Kyoto International Manga Museum.

She is the author of Hong Kong Comics: A History of Manhua, published by Princeton Architectural Press, a contributor to the Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Design, and acts as a regional editor of the Greater China region for Bloomsbury Publishing’s Encyclopedia of East Asian Design. Her latest book, The Disappearance of Hong Kong in Comics, Advertising, and Graphic Design, was published by Palgrave Macmillan (2018). In addition, Dr. Wong has served as an Editorial Board member of the Journal of Design History from 2012 to 2017. Currently, she is serving as an associate editor for Design and Culture: The Journal of the Design Studies Forum since 2019.


email: Wendy Wong

Part Time / Affiliate Faculty

Michael Longford

Associate Professor, York University
MFA Rutgers University, USA

Professor Longford's creative work and research activities reside at the intersection of photography, graphic design and digital media. Currently, he is a co-principal investigator for the Mobile Digital Commons Network (MDCN), a national research network developing technology and media-rich content for mobile devices. The MDCN is a joint research project launched by Concordia University and the Banff New Media Institute. He is a founding member of Hexagram: Institute for Research and Creation in Media Arts and Technologies and served for three years as the Director for the Advanced Digital Imaging and 3D Rapid Prototyping Group. He has exhibited and presented his work at national and international exhibitions and conferences.


email: Micheal Longford

Borzu Talaie

MDes OCAD University, Canada

Borzu Talaie is an award-winning designer and educator who has worked in the field since 1993. His area of practice ranges from branding and print design to interaction design, information design and interactive installations. He received his Master of Design degree in data visualization and visual analytics in 2014 from the Digital Futures program at OCAD University.

Borzu is the founder of Borxu Design, a multi-disciplinary studio where entrepreneurs, designers and programmers constantly examine the intersection of business and communication design to deliver distinctive solutions to their data-driven projects. Borxu Design clientele include large-scale construction companies, media companies and startups based in the Greater Toronto Area.

email: Borzu Talaie

Faculty Emeritus

Wojtek E. Janczak

Chair, Department of Design, 2009 to 2012
Graduate Program Director, 2006 to 2008
MFA Academy of Fine Arts, Poznan, Poland

Professor Janczak's multidisciplinary professional practice, research and teaching include interactive media, exhibitions and signage systems design. Since the inception of the Internet he has specialized in developing and evaluating interaction design, information architecture, interface design and interactive information technologies in online education. His current research focuses on investigating the theories, practices and technologies involving intelligent physical environments, information spaces, interface design and time-based visual communication.


Don Newgren

PhD Syracuse University, USA
MA University of Illinois, USA

Don Newgren's research interests focus upon user participation, either active or passive, during the inventory and planning part of the design process. These interests emerged from his development and implementation of unobtrusive data collection methodology for planning exhibitions while being the Director of Design at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. His professional design work in graphic design and exhibition design for firms such as IBM, US Steel, Eastman Kodak, Union Carbide, Bell Labs, United Airlines, General Motors, and Shell Oil has won numerous awards in North America. He has over 30 years of teaching experience, and has lectured in Japan, Europe, and the United States. In addition, he has 16 years of administrative experience at York University

David Scadding

MVA University of Alberta, Canada

Professor Scadding is a professional Registered Graphic Designer who, by love & training, focuses his teaching & research in the field of typography - its history, development and contemporary practices. He has over 30 years of experience in print-oriented and new media visual communication design. His professional work has been exhibited and published in Canada, the United States, France, China, and England. He has been an invited speaker, seminar/workshop leader at numerous national and international conferences on design, new media and typography. He has received over 30 awards for his professional work and for his teaching - the most recent being the Dean's Teaching Award from York University.

Andrew M. Tomcik

MFA Design, Yale University, USA

Professor Tomcik has worked as a designer in Canada and the US. His work has been published or exhibited in Canada, USA, Great Britain, Switzerland, Poland, Czech Republic, Finland and China. As well he has participated in numerous conferences on design education and design history. He also received the Ontario Federation of University Faculty Associations award for excellence in teaching.