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charmaine farber

day time

designer + professor, Cal Poly


My main talent is the ability to ideate for visual and interactive projects by weaving typography, textures, interesting interactions and stories within a group atmoshpere. This has translated well to the discipline of interaction design, illustration, and creative direction/teaching and helps me form collaborations in order to span mediums and solve problems. I lead students (as well as designers, developers, and writers) through all phases of product development — always concentrating on creating flow and delight.

I started my career as a traditional graphic designer more than 15 years ago, and then fell in love with whimsical interactive experiences and figuring out how code relates to narrative and visual. My work spans the corporate and academic realms yet always focuses on storytelling for the end user whether it is software and web design, illustration or animation. I am happiest when I'm creating useful and beautiful things to make everyday life better for others.

Working with a dedicated group of people that have a zest for life is something I highly value. I work through an iterative process that thrives on feedback and input because I feel that the design process is one of experimentation. I love the feeling of sharing a completed project and seeing how it grows and changes to form even more ideas.


Farber’ s research tends towards community and user engagement and storytelling through exploring ux and ui design and was recently awarded a Fellowship through Cal Poly's Center for Innovation through the School of Business. Farber was also the recipient of the New Haven Arts Council Fellowship, New Haven CT, she worked with two colleagues and a team of students to create a project with a featured presentation at Yale’ s British Museum of Art at the International Festival of Arts and Ideas.

She recently published a transmedia project, entitled Art Courage Program, which is a book and olfactory system. Also recently developed a piece commissioned by the San Diego Art Institute titled Scentwalk: Balboa Park which explores Balboa Park in San Diego through an interactive sensory map and olfaction component. She has presented at the International Design Principles and Practices conference in Chiba, Japan exploring the connection of online reviews and visual design and has published this work with Common Grounds Publishing.

Throughout Charmaine Farber’ s years of professional experience in the design industry, she has worked as a ux/ui designer, illustrator, graphic designer, animator and educator, both nationally and internationally, for CIVCO International, MacArthur Foundation, Congressman Loebsack of Iowa, Stamats, Lipman Hearne, SMC Marketing Hong Kong, and Benson & Hepkar Design Group, and have spoke at events everywhere from Yale University to Chiba, Japan. She has recently served as "Education Director – Student Initiatives", and "Membership Director" on the Connecticut Executive Board of Directors of AIGA and also served on the Pittsburgh board of Directors of AIGA.

Farber currently holds a tenure-track position at Cal Poly in the Graphic Communications Dept. teaching undergraduate interactive design and user experience for mobile applications. She also currently holds an appointment in Department of Medical Sciences of the Frank H. Netter School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University as a graduate student mentor. From 2012–2015 she was a tenure-track professor at Quinnipiac teaching undergraduate interactive design. Prior to 2012 she was a tenure-track professor at Youngstown State University and an Instructor of Record at the University of Iowa, teaching web design and graphic design courses. Farber’ s M.F.A. (with honors) is in Design from the University of Iowa. She also attended the Savannah College of Art and Design with an Artistic Scholarship and earned my M.A. in Interactive Media Design and Game Development.


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    M.F.A. Degree in Art Emphasis is Design, May, 2010
    M.A. in Interactive Media Design & Game Development with a minor emphasis in Broadcast Media, May, 2008
    B.F.A Degree in Art Emphasis is Design, May 1999

teaching experience

  • QUINNIPIAC UNIVERSITY, Hamden, CT Tenure-Track Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Sciences of the Frank H. Netter, MD, School of Medicine, 01/15 – 06/18
  • QUINNIPIAC UNIVERSITY, Hamden, CT Tenure-Track Assistant Professor of Interactive Digital Design, 08/12 – Current
  • QUINNIPIAC UNIVERSITY, Hamden, CT Adjunct Professor in the Masters of Science Interactive Media program, 05/13 – Current
  • YOUNGSTOWN UNIVERSITY, Youngstown, OH Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Graphic and Interactive Design, 8/10 – 8/12
  • UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, Iowa City, IA Instructor of Design, 8/9 – 5/10
  • THE ART INSTITUTE ONLINE, Pittsburgh, PA Adjunct Professor of Graphic Design, 2/09 – 2/10
  • UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, Iowa City, IA Teaching and Research Assistant, 08/08 – 05/10
  • UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, Iowa City, IA Web Clinic Instructor, Media Consultant, 1/9 – 8/10

professional design experience

  • UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, Iowa City, IA, Continuing education program, 10/08 – 5/10
  • UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, Iowa City, IA, Research Assistant, X-Wing, 08/09 – 12/08
  • SELF EMPLOYED, Coralville, IA, Interactive Media Designer, Graphic Designer and Consultant, 4/02 – 8/08
  • BENSON & HEPKER DESIGN, Iowa City, IA, Interactive Media Designer, 01/03 – 08/04
  • STAMATS COMMUNICATIONS, Cedar Rapids, IA, Interactive Media Designer, 02/00 – 04/02
  • TELESIS DESIGN GROUP, Lombard, IL, Branding Specialist Intern, 06/99 – 08/99
  • UNIVERSITY OF IOWA IOWA MEMORIAL UNION, Iowa City, IA, Graphic Designer, 6/96 – 5/99

grants and funding

  • $4,000 INVESTIGATOR STIPEND, College of Arts and Sciences, Quinnipiac University, Hamden, CT, 4/14
  • $1,040.00 GRANT IN AID, College of Arts and Sciences, Quinnipiac University, Hamden, CT, 4/14
  • $1,200 STUDENT FIELD TRIP College of Arts and Sciences, Quinnipiac University, Hamden, CT, 1/14
  • $10,000 REINTEGRATE GRANT AWARDED, Arts Council of New Haven, New Haven CT, 11/12 - 6/13
  • $2,800 STUDENT RESEARCH College of Arts and Sciences, Quinnipiac University, Hamden, CT, 1/13
  • $5,000 INVESTIGATOR STIPEND, College of Arts and Sciences, Quinnipiac University, Hamden, CT, 4/13
  • $5,000 INVESTIGATOR STIPEND, College of Arts and Sciences, Quinnipiac University, Hamden, CT, 8/12

peer-reviewed publications

  • THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF DESIGN IN SOCIETY, volume, 7, issue 2, Charmaine Banach, "Exploring Misinformation in Visual Design Echoed in the Social Web", 7/14
  • INTERACTIVE MEDIA EXPLORING DIGITAL ENGAGEMENT, Charmaine Banach, "Blended Classrooms a Must for Learning UI and UX Design", 10/13
  • REINTEGRATE: ENHANCING COLLABORATIONS IN THE ARTS & SCIENCES, Published by The New Haven Arts Council and Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts, Charmaine Banach, "Cross Discipline Learning" Short Chapter, 7/13
    Charmaine Banach, Co-Author, "Changing Conditions: Emerging Practices", 10/2010
    Charmaine Banach, Author
    • "Reintegrate: Learning to be Flexible", June 26, 2013
    • "Reintegrate: Up and Running! Kind of!", June 6, 2013
    • "Reintegrate Video: Cross-Discipline Learning", April 19, 2013
    • "Reintegrate: The Great Shift", February 13, 2013
    • "Reintegrate: Getting to work. . . and gearing up for some fun!" February 15, 2013


  • SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY LYMAN ART GALLERY, New Haven CT, "State of Occupation", Solo Exhibition, 08/13 - 10/13
  • ANDOVER NEWTON GALLERY, Boston MA, "Invited Dress", Group Exhibition, Invitational, 04/13
  • SPRING GALLERY, Chester CT, "Orange", Group Exhibition, Invitational, 04/13
  • EAST BALL ROOM, HILTON, New York City NY, "ArtExchange", Peer-Reviewed, National Juried Group Exhibition, 02/13
  • SPACEWOMB GALLERY, Long Island, NY, "Postcards" Peer-Reviewed, National Juried Group Exhibition, 12/12 - 01/13
  • UNION STREET GALLERY, Chicago Heights, IL, "Mad World" Peer-Reviewed, National Juried Group Exhibition, 03/13 - 04/14
  • MCDONOUGH MUSEUM OF ART, Youngstown OH, "The Biennial Faculty Exhibition", Invitational Artist Exhibition, 02/12
  • 1078 GALLERY, Chico, CA, "Summer Stock", Peer-Reviewed, Invitational Three Artist Exhibition, 07/10
  • KENDAL GALLERY, Iowa City, IA, "Stories are Important", Peer-Reviewed, Juried Solo Exhibition, 05/10
  • DREWLOW GALLERY, SCHOOL OF ART, UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, Iowa City, IA "State of Occupation", Solo Exhibition, 04/10
  • GALLERY ON DUBUQUE, Iowa City, IA, Peer-Reviewed, Juried Group Exhibition, 03/10
  • PUNIVERSITY OF IOWA HOSPITALS AND CLINICS, Iowa City, IA "Project Art", Juried Group Exhibition, 11/09
  • STUDIOLO, Iowa City, IA, "Boxes", Group Exhibition, 07/00
  • ROBERT A. PECK ARTS EXHIBITION, Riverton, WY, Peer-Reviewed, Juried Group Exhibition, 04/99

    presentations, lectures and panels

  • WOMEN IN TECHNOLOGY PANEL DISCUSSION, QUNNIPIAC UNIVERSITY Hamden, CT, Panelist, moderated by Elizabeth M. Brown, 10/15/14
  • ASSOCIATED WRITING CONFERENCE, Seattle, WA "Design Process", 02/14-03/14
  • 2014 ANNUAL COLLEGE ARTS ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE, Hilton, Chicago, IL "What makes a button a button? Shifting visual vocabulary makes it difficult to design for usability", 01/14
  • THE FIFTH ANNUAL ASSOCIATION FOR CONTEMPLATIVE MIND IN HIGHER EDUCATION CONFERENCE, AMHERST COLLEGE, Amhurst, MA Co-Presenter, "Avoiding the ‘Dying Bird of Authentic Humanness‘: Combining meditation and technology to enhance curricular integrity", 11/13
  • INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF ARTS & IDEAS, YALE CENTER FOR BRITISH ART, New Haven, CT Presenter, "Reintegrate: Enhancing Collaborations in the Arts and Sciences", 06/13
  • INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF ARTS & IDEAS REINTEGRATE PANEL, YALE CENTER FOR BRITISH ART, New Haven, CT Panelist, "Ideas Talk", moderated by Carl Zimmer, 06/13
  • SYMPOSIUM AT WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY, Middletown, CT Discussion Leader, "Innovations: Intersection of Art and Science" 02/2013
  • DESIGN PRINCIPLES & PRACTICES 7TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE, CHIBA UNIVERSITY, Chiba Prefect, Japan  Presenter, "A Closer Look at the New Phenomena of Mob Hack Reviewing", 03/13
  • SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY EDWARDSVILLE, Edwardsville, IL Presenter, "Design Process", 04/12
  • YOUNGSTOWN STATE UNIVERSITY, Youngstown, OH Presentation, Senior Seminar, "Portfolio People" 11/11
  • YOUNGSTOWN STATE UNIVERSITY, Youngstown, OH Presentation, "Portfolio People", 04/10
  • 1078 GALLERY, Chico, CA Design Lecture of Work, 07/11
  • AIGA NATIONAL DESIGN EDUCATORS, NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY, Raleigh, NC Panel Participant, New Contexts/New Practices, 10/10

    awards and honors

  • UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, Graduated with Honors, May 2010
  • SAVANNAH COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN, Artistic Scholarship, 2006 - 2008
  • AMERICAN ADVERTISING FEDERATION, Cedar Rapids, IA, Silver Addy Award for Presbytery of Easter Iowa Website (, January 2003
  • AMERICAN ADVERTISING FEDERATION, Cedar Rapids, IA, Gold Addy Award for Jason Jones Photography Website (, January 2003
  • AMERICAN ADVERTISING FEDERATION, Cedar Rapids, IA, Addy Award and Best of Category for Mid-American Nazarene University Website (, January 2001
  • AMERICAN ADVERTISING FEDERATION, Cedar Rapids, IA, Addy Award for Kansas City Art Institute Website (, January 2001

    selected clients

  • Leepfrog Technologies
  • Civco International
  • SMC Marketing Hong Kong
  • Congressman Loebsack of Iowa
  • The University of Iowa
  • Littlefuse Technology (via Telesis Design Group)
  • Eastland Shoes (via Telesis Design Group)
  • Kansas City Art Institute (via Stamats)
  • Coca-Cola (via Mechie Taylor)
  • Global Trecker (via Dan Eldon Group)
  • MacArthur Foundation (via Lipman Herne)

    professional membership and service

  • Member of Connecticut User Experience Professionals Organization, 2014 - current
  • AIGA Connecticut, Board of Directors, Education Director, 2014 - current (2 year term)
  • AIGA Connecticut, Board of Directors, Membership Director, 2012-2014
  • AIGA Pittsburgh, Board of Directors, 2011-12
  • Member of New Haven Arts Council, New Haven CT, 2012-2014
  • Curator of Flipboard Design Magazine, "Design Love ", 2013-current
  • Referee for The International Journal of Science in Society, "Social Intelligence Technologies ", 2014
  • Member of College Arts Association, 2010-2014



research statement

in a nutshell

I consider myself a socially focused designer. I want to lead people, through design, to re-think bold topics. My experiences as a first generation American from Polish immigrants and refugees are central themes in my work – whether directly or indirectly. I draw on years of graphic and user design background and tackle issues relating to war, domesticity, and mindfullness & technology.

"Design thinking" is a term for something that always been central to my work — user focused designs that create better systems, visuals and behaviors. I apply design thinking to complex projects such as with the user interface of CloudBlox software, for the critical art piece, "Art Courage" book and book on tape, and to the three–block long urban revitalization mural in Youngstown, OH. I am interested in leading the user through new or strange experiences, ones that might even be educational such as the digital game focusing on birth control awareness that I am currently collaborating, working as the illustrator and designer. From book covers or urban, vinyl murals to complex web interfaces, I systematically dissect a process, exposing the system itself to better serve its purpose.

Through the years I have seen my design process change from being one focused on the end medium to one that explores "designer as catalyst" –with more emphasis on the research phase. My end goes is always to create something that is intentionally accessible and democratic. From my State of Occupation website and prints to working with Congressman Loebsack or the Rape Victim Advocacy Program of Iowa, helping people experience flow, where the design falls aways to allow participation flawlessly, is my goal.

My end creations often interrelate through web, print, motion and mobile mediums and embody a sense of whimsy, even when tackling darker subject matters. Common elements throughout my work are illustrations, hand-made typography, and playful interfaces.Textures, ink drawings, and saturated colors, each with a different production style, are evident in all of my work; both commercial and non-commercial. I aim for a sense of "finger print" with my digital work so that it embodies human elements that challenge the perfection possible with purely digital mediums.

I am inspired by older Dutch designs and the often irreverent designs of the Type Director's Club. I am keenly interested in what Jessica Helfand, Jarod Spool, Paola Antonelli and Carla Diana have to say.