Fourth-year ID student Dani Massee, under the supervision of Associate Professor Milena Radzikowska, created a design installation that explores our emotions around controversial topics in an interactive way. The project was part of a senior Directed Reading course on creating physical data displays. The installation helps make data more tangible by putting a topic directly in the hands of the viewer. Rather than staring at a computer screen filled with words, observers instead experience other people’s emotions running through their fingers. Check out this Calgary Journal piece on the wheel by Rayane Sabbagh.  Or watch Dani’s video on the project:Read More →

A Semester-Long Project for COMM 3611 Visual Communication for Information Designers II This project is meant to provide our 3rd-year students with the experience of tackling an advanced-level interface design task. Their job was to propose an interactive data visualization, through which users can explore an emotionally compelling, engaging, and immersive story that makes use of a collection. They were asked to present their final interfaces through short pitch videos.  Check out the interface (video below) by Cooper Holmes: The Calgary Public Art Data Centre. Project Theme: Belief (n)  A state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing:Read More →

“The urge to design—to consider a situation, imagine a better situation, and act to create that improved situation—goes back to our prehuman ancestors. Making tools helped us to become what we are, and design helped to make us human.” Carl DiSalvo, Adversarial Design. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012. Print. In September 2016, ID launched the Critical Design coursefor its 4th year students. In their semester-long group projects, students are asked to critically interrogate an issues of their choice, then speculate / imagine possible alternatives for an intervention. In 2017, one group decided to tackle Body Positivity by imagining diversity in clothing mannequins and a Body Positive Mecolouring book. They involvedRead More →

A large component of the design learning in the 3rd year is idea generation and concept development. In COMM 3610, we combine that with advanced-level typography and layout. Students focus on designing two, connected parts: a new typographic system and grid design for an article; and a visual pull that dominates the first spread. The design has to be based on a unique, well-written, appropriate, and defendable concept. The concept must demonstrate tension – it must be compelling and “exciting” in both idea and execution.Read More →

For this 1st project in ARTS 398 Data Visualization (at U. Nebraska), students were asked to consider the last few decades of their life with a view of answering the following question: How did I get here? As they thought through this question, they considered the following: not everything that appears important is important in the context of this question some things that might, on first thought, appear inconsequential might actually have been important aspects of your journey your objective is not to tell us your entire biography, nor to simply highlight key life events. Instead, your goals are (1) to consider what is a data set; and (2) to exploreRead More →

For this project the COMM 3610 Visual Communication for Information Designers I students worked  with one of the data sets available through the Government of Canada web site. They were asked to find an interesting, unique, and compelling story within the data sets. Their objectives were to explore the use of a variety of information graphics to communicate data; construct a cohesive, well structured, information and visually-rich design; focus on clear communication, strong typography, and graphical (not photographic) content; and communicate the multidimensionality of the topic.Read More →

In Winter 2013, Piotr Michura and I co-taught COMM 3611 Visual Communication for Information Design II course at MRU. This is a third-year course, where we focus on interface design. Every year I attempt to collaborate with not-for-profit agency as the guest client for the course. This year the client was HIV Edmonton. Laura Keegan and Dylan Richards worked with us to create a new web site design for the agency. In addition, as the last project of the semester, we asked students to envision, design, then pitch an experimental interface on the topic of HIV / AIDS. Project Requirements: Interactivity – the final resultRead More →