Joshua Thorson


Joshua Thorson
Academy of Art University
2019 West District Graduate Student Merit Award Winner
Instagram: @JoshyThorson


Joshua Thorson was born in Minnesota, surrounded by the extremes of weather and a culture that embraces adversity. There's an old Minnesota adage; there's no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothing. Joshua’s mother says that he ran before I walked. His memory isn't so clear of that moment, but Joshua does know that his focus has always been looking to the future in a perpetual pursuit of what's next. Joshua is an industrial designer, runner, lover of sci-fi, learner, maker, and proud Minnesotan.


How will you use design to change the world?

I can’t change the world without changing the people within it. I can’t change the people within it without changing the grey matter within them. And the best way to change that wrinkly grey matter is to deliver knowledge. As a designer I hope to work in situations that allow me to publish my discoveries and share them with my peers so that they can not only use my solutions, but push them to their limit or take them into an area I hadn’t thought of.

By sharing our design solutions to the public, we begin to tap into the massive generative design engine that is the human race. Seven billion minds is a lot of processing power, and I want to use that to begin to address our world’s issues.

Imagine if we enabled young minds to truly understand their products, and we created these products with alterations and upgrades in mind. Design, engineering, art, experimentation in its purest form would begin to enter a new generation’s minds at a young age so that they can finally use the creativity that so many of us our born with, but so few feel confident enough to use.

I will change the world not by creating the hottest speed form or the perfect user experience; I will change the world by inserting the design process into non-designers’ lives. Teaching the world that they can create a solution through a few hours of tinkering or a few days of experimentation won’t only give these people a newfound sense of confidence in their mental capabilities, the sharing of these solutions will create an ocean of design experiments.


Joshua's presentation at the International Design Conference 2019 in Chicago, IL.