Students design data for future airport installation

Students in the Graphic Design and Web Design and Interactive Media programs had one day to design a physical installation for airports across Canada.

The project is part of the Global Affairs Canada division of the Federal Government and aims to highlight the support Consular Services offer to Canadian travellers.

The hackathon event took place in the Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation and started with an introduction to the design challenge and a briefing call with the client where students were provided the information, materials and inspiration they needed to start their projects.

Students design data for future airport installation

“When a client is involved, the experience is holistic and involves every aspect of working in the field,” says Bianca DiPietro, program coordinator of the Graphic Design program. “The dynamic between client and student is much more professional and holds a certain level of recognition.”

DiPietro and David Neumann, program coordinator of the Web Design and Interactive Media program say the opportunity for their students to work with real-life clients is great exposure—allowing students to communicate effectively, problem solve and work collaboratively with others.

The students gathered in small groups to design a concept while working with their faculty and advisors to complete their project proposals by the end of the day. Faculty will review the submissions and select up to eight concepts based on uniqueness, creativity and execution. The selected submissions will be shared with Global Affairs Canada to consider the concepts further.  

For one group, their concept is a three-dimensional, hollow hemisphere that resembles a globe and features data and information within it. User-friendly to all ages, the globe can be tilted or spun around to allow users to see inside the globe and learn about Consular Services. 

Students design data for future airport installation

“Projects like this give validation to the program and show trust in us as working professionals by allowing us to have our work showcased and potentially have our work attached to the Government of Canada,” says Gizaham Jones, third-year Graphic Design student.

Using different skills and methods, a Web Design and Interactive Media group’s concept includes movable Plexiglass panels. With infographics and data printed or engraved onto the materials, the installation will allow natural light in airports like Toronto Pearson Airport to reflect onto it. The concept also features QR codes and Near-field communication (NFC) codes, which lead users to find more information on the government’s website using their smartphones.

Students design data for future airport installation

“Being able to have clients give you an open-ended project to work with is a great way to get your creativity and development moving and apply what we’ve learned so far,” says Paul Cudmore, second-year Web Design and Interactive Media student.

The hackathon is part of Humber’s Data storyLAB, which is an innovative hub for data-driven storytelling. Based out of the North Campus, the storyLAB will produce year-round research and partnership opportunities for student learning and engagement.

“StoryLAB is an opportunity for students to pair with reporters, developers and coders to discuss the influence data can create in different journalistic settings. The lab demonstrates how data can transform and impact politics, social justice, and the day-to-day lives of Canadians,” says DiPietro.

Humber’s storyLAB and The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting recently created a storyLAB Data Journalism Grant to support independent data-driven journalism. 

For the inaugural grant, Humber and The Pulitzer Center are accepting proposals for stories related to Indigenous lands and property rights. The grant will provide up to $10,000 for a freelance journalist or team of journalists to explore a related story from a data-driven perspective.

For more information about project-driven collaborations, visit the Faculty of Media & Creative Arts.