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Ash Thorp

Freelance Creative Director

Primary design concentration:

Art Directing

Most preferred tools for designing:

Literally anything and everything, computers, sketchbooks, napkins—everything

How and why did you choose to become a designer?

I think it more or less chose me at an early age. I would like to think I have some sort of a relationship with design. I can always remember asking why things were the way they were, and this curiosity led me to figure out how do rebuild things myself, dissect what was given to me as a consumer, and create my own reality. I think it was just mere curiosity that some how manifested itself into a word we commonly use as “design.”

I feel there are so many facets and channels to apply your mind to design, and I love the idea of a never ending the relationship with creation. To me, design is life. It is being in a moment, or an emotion, a thought, and expressing it in a way that others can embrace. It’s a very powerful way of communicating to others.

What are some of the challenges you encounter as a designer and how do you deal with them?

Where to start with this one? In the beginning, my challenges were about pleasing my own wants, desires, needs from my work—my level of output, the quality and originality in which I create. That is still a challenge, as it always should be for any designer, who is hungry and always strives for the best. For me, my current internal battle is time: managing my time, so that my wife and daughter get enough attention, and so that I can still develop myself as a person internally and create, design ideas that I can stand behind and feel confident in. There never really seems to be enough time in the day for me to get everything I want out. I suppose that this results from raw curiosity and the hunger to learn and grow.

What is your definition of an “elegant solution,” that is, good design?

Good design is all about a good idea. You can sit and make things look pretty all day, and most design is just that, but art/design, with honesty and integrity is always going to be timeless. To me, that is the elegant solution, creating design that spawns from original thought and building upon that to solve a problem or to provoke ideas. After all, we are visual communicators.

From skills to values, what makes a designer successful?

I think the most important thing that brings myself value is my hunger, desire to learn, grow, fail, throw myself into adverse situations and see what I make of them, accepting change, never settling, always pushing and the honest raw desire to simply grow as a person.

How do you stay motivated and grow personally and professionally as a designer?

How could I not? The world around me is simply FILLED with things that amaze me: science, math, literature, space, everything. I feel the only times that I burn out is when I haven’t opened my eyes. Motivation to me comes from everyone/everything, both good and bad, around me.

For those aspiring to become a designer, whatever the discipline, what is your advice?

Open your mind, think for yourself, just because someone says something is good… explore that, question it. Find your own voice, build your own values, soul search. Only spend the time in your life doing what you feel is important. Never waste your time on ANYTHING else. Your life/time is a blessing—honor that by doing amazing things and helping others.

What is your quest in design, from a professional practice, education or evolution standpoint?

My quest will probably always be a bit broad and open. I try not to ever put boundaries on myself as a creative person. To me, the path is wide open and I feel that the quest is all about how far I can take my curiosity. Where that leads me I will never know. It’s never about the destination but rather the journey. This is the fun part.

Ash Thorp is a Freelance Designer, Art Director, Illustrator, and Creative Director, in California. He worked at Prologue Films where he participated in the concept phase of Prometheus for UI concepts. His design work also consists of the movies Sherlock Holmes, The Amazing Spider-Man, Total Recall, and more.

Image of interface design for movie Prometheus courtesy of Ash Thorp.

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