is a principal designer in Pittsburgh who currently leads design for Skale, a social network for food. He has overseen concept, research, and design for the company. He curates The Interactive News, co-founded Classroom Salon, and co-founded the Interaction Design Association’s first Middle East chapter, IxDA Doha. He also co-founded Macromicro, a data visualization company in Boston which received the SAP Pinnacle Award for product development in 2016.

For ten years, Alex has taught design and led research initiatives at Carnegie Mellon University, where he is an alumnus of the School of Design and Department of English. His graduate thesis examined new applications of design at The New York Times during their transformation to digital platforms. From 2009 to 2016, he was a faculty member in the School of Design and Department of Information Systems and in 2017 stepped down and took a position as adjunct faculty at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute.

As a professor, his research has centered around the design of products, services, and environments through human-centered methods. He has taught studio courses in these domains as well as design theory courses in the context of systems and human experience. His grant-funded research has been supported by Google, The National Science Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Heinz Endowments, Innovation Works, and Qatar Foundation.

Alex’s work has appeared in Change Ahead, The New Yorker, New York Times T-Magazine, The New York Post, Creative Review, Visual Complexity, Strange Maps, and on KQED Public Television.


Notable Work

Skale, Co-Founder and Chief Design Officer (2015 – Present)
Macromicro, Co-Founder and Chief Design Officer (2010 – Present)
The Interactive News, Founder and Curator (2015 – Present)
Classroom Salon, Co-Founder, Lead Design Researcher, Information and Interaction Designer (2007 – 2016)
Shaping the 21st Century Library through Design Research, Primary Investigator (2015 – 2016)
Design / Writing Curriculum Alignment and Learning Transfer Study, Primary Investigator (2012 – 2016)
Al Khor Migrant Labor Research, Collaborator (2014 – 2015)
Office of Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Researcher and Design Lead (2010 – 2011)
Pink* Service Design, Co-Founder (2008 – 2009)

Venn Diagram

Select Clients & Collaborations

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Center for Strategic and International Studies
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
ThoughtForm Design
Highmark BlueCross BlueShield

Grant Funding

National Science Foundation
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
The Heinz Endowments
Innovation Works
Carnegie Mellon University
Qatar Foundation

Select Speaking Engagements

Interaction 16 (IxDA) Helsinki
Vignelli Center for Design Studies at RIT
Virginia Commonwealth University
Washington University St. Louis
University of Rochester
University of Minnesota
Texas A&M University
University of Louisville
Cambridge Center for Adult Education
IxDA Pittsburgh
Boston Service Jam
mathaf: arab museum of modern art

Interviews & Featured Work

SAP Sapphire Now Keynote 2017
Change Ahead: How Research and Design are Transforming Business Strategy
The New Yorker
New York Times T-Magazine
The New York Post
Creative Review
Al Jazeera English
Visual Complexity
Strange Maps
Table Magazine

Academic Career

Carnegie Mellon University, School of Computer Science
Adjunct Faculty in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute introducing interaction design to masters-level students. (Fall 2017)

Carnegie Mellon University, College of Humanities & Social Sciences
Assistant Teaching Professor of Information Systems (AY 2014 – 2016)
Appointment at Carnegie Mellon University, Qatar. Courses taught in both the Information Systems program and the School of Design fulfilling requirements in the I.S. major and minors in Architecture and Design. Courses blended design theory, history, criticism, and application. This position also included grant-funded research, project development, extensive student advising, independent studies, external client partnerships, cross-department collaboration, community outreach, and professional practice.

Carnegie Mellon University, School of Design
Assistant Professor in the Practice of Design (AY 2012 – 2013)
Visiting Assistant Teaching Professor of Design (AY 2009 – 2012)
Appointment at Carnegie Mellon University, Qatar. Served undergraduates in information systems, computer science, business, and biological sciences. Expanded the design presence at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar integrating design courses into an existing multidisciplinary curriculum. Position included grant-funded research, project development, external client partnerships, and professional practice.

Carnegie Mellon University, School of Design
Graduate Student Instructor (teacher of record) of Communication Design for Masters of Professional Writing, Masters of Human-Computer Interaction, and interdisciplinary undergraduates. (AY 2007 – 2009)

Rochester Institute of Technology, School of Design
Adjunct Faculty for junior and senior advanced typography and information design courses. Co-taught with Professor Heinz Klinkon. (AY 2006 – 2007)

Select Honors

Winner, 2016 SAP Sapphire Award for Product Development (Macromicro)

Nominee, HR Tech’s 2013 Most Innovative Startup in Europe (Macromicro)

Finalist, 2017 Pittsburgh Create Festival, Best New Interactive Product (Skale)


Interaction Design Association (2007 – Present)
IxDA Doha, Co-Founder & Local Leader (2014 – 2016)
IxDA Pittsburgh, Planning Committee (2017 – Present)
Association for Computing Machinery (2014 – 2016)
Service Design Network (2012 – 2016)
Design Management Institute (2010 – 2013)

Advisory Roles

Problemia (2016) (2015 – 2016)
Hamad International Airport (2012 – 2015)
Qatar Air Quality Project (2011 – 2013)
Keystone Global Consulting Group (2011 – 2012)


Carnegie Mellon University
School of Design & Department of English
M.Des., CPID, with studies in Interaction Design, Rhetoric, and Computer Science

Graduate Student Assembly; Peer Advisor; Phi Kappa Phi Honors; President’s Student Advisory Council; Graduate Class Essayist

Advisors: David Kaufer (English), Ananda Gunawardena (Computer Science)

Rochester Institute of Technology
School of Design
College of Imaging Arts & Sciences
BFA in Design with High Honors

Minor, Sociology and Anthropology
School of Design Chairperson's Award

Centre College
Letters and Sciences

Alexander R. Wilcox Cheek
Copyright 2017