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Paul Thurston

London, United Kingdom

Head of Design at Thinkpublic

Member since March 07, 2008

  • 2012 Olympic ‘Education Logo’ Design Competition

    Communication, Communication Design


    Designing for any large public event always sparks debate and the 2012 London Olympic Games logo was no exception, personally I have grown to really love this design. The fact that everyone knows what it's for has achieved most of what a logo is supposed to do but it's also got people talking about the olympics whether that's in a positive or negative way which can only be a good thing. It also fits perfectly with the web and has been used very well with interactive graphics which will be much more prominent than print come 2012.

    Anyway I think enough has been written about the logo!...So, how would you like your logo design to sit alongside it at the vast number of community and education events surrounding the games? Well if your aged between 16 and 21 you can enter an Olympic committee competition to design a "special version of the logo that will sit alongside the London 2012 Paralympic logo and be known as the London 2012 ‘education logo’. It will be seen in communities across the UK!"

    My advice is to involve the people at schools and community centre's that will use the logo and find out how it would fit within their work and what would they want to see. Full details of how you can enter can be downloaded here

  • The Experienced Based Design Approach goes national

    Communication, Communication Design


    The experience based design approach toolkit we developed in partnership with the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement has been rolled out nationally. We’re so pleased that the lessons we learnt working with patients and staff at Luton and Dunstable Hospital will be shared with NHS Trusts across the country.

    A patient-led NHS is easy to say but hard to do. At thinkpublic, we’re proud to be doers as well as thinkers, and we’re even prouder of the lasting, productive and collaborative relationships we helped to build between patients and frontline staff at Luton and Dunstable and other NHS Trust whilst developing the EBD Approach. Now we’re looking forward to helping NHS Trusts everywhere harness the power of their most valuable asset – their service users.

    Download the case study here (PDF)

  • The story of co-design animation

    Communication, Environmental Design

    At thinkpublic we use a process called co-design, we often get asked what this really means. So we made a short animation to explain the story of co-design.

  • My letter has been published!

    Communication, Communication Design


    I recently responded to an article in Design Week about procurement in the public sector. Although the article was factual I felt it missed the point about why public services and social innovation is so great. Anyway, my letter was published and I now look forward to a life of fame and fortune!

    You can read the full article and letter here

  • Thinkpublic In India

    Community, Communication Design


    Deborah Szebeko, the founder and director of thinkpublic, returned this week from a British Council sponsored research trip to explore the design industry in India. The trip was part of Szebeko’s prize for winning the UK Young Design Entrepreneur Award last September.

    The research included visits to: • India Institute for Management Bangalore • National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad • Industrial Design Centre Mumbai

    Professor Ravi Pooviah of the Industrial Design Centre Mumbai provided a insightful presentation about the design education in India, highlighting “If we were to put all the design schools together, we would only produce around 1,000 designers a year”, which is shocking for a country the size of India. Szebeko now plans to explore how thinkpublic’s Real Work Experience Programme can help design schools and the informal design-enablers across India.

    Szebeko reflections “The trip provided me with inspiration not just for what the Western design world could teach the Indian design industry, but more about what India can teach the Western world particularly around social sustenance?”

  • Public service design on the high street

    Communication, Communication Design


    How can we use high street service experiences to help design better public services? At thinkpublic we regularly use other examples from outside the public sector to explain elements that make up a service. It’s often useful to use examples of well-known services and break them down into simple touchpoints. Shops are particularly useful for activities like this and for asking questions like “what is your service like…?” or “if your service was a shop what type would it be…?” can stimulate new and interesting thinking about existing services.

    Yesterday, I ran a number of workshops with NHS trusts, who are currently engaged in Experience Based Design projects. To help explain some of the issues around mapping experiences I used the high-street store Argos as an example. Visiting our local Old Street branch for our own journey mapping exercise.

    This was particularly useful with healthcare professionals and created a great deal of debate about customer/patient interaction with services.

  • what do students think about public service design?

    Education, Communication Design

    Last Friday myself and Alice Osborne from the thinkpublic design team spoke at the London College of Communication (LCC) about our experiences of working outside of traditional design environments.

    We were invited by Anna Gerber from LCC to speak to 150 second year design students from across a variety of disciplines to ‘ give them a flavour of what thinkpublic do without showing lots of pretty pictures’. A great brief as it gave us an opportunity to show ‘a week in the life of a designer at thinkpublic’.

    We also ran a ’stand up sit down’ question activity, that got students to apply their minds to some questions we have been discussing recently, these were:

    1: Should designers work in hospitals? 2: Can the general public be designers? 3: Would you prefer to work for public or private clients?

    After calling on a few individuals and asking them to share their thoughts on their answers, a lively debate followed that generated some very interesting views. The biggest surprise outcome for us was that roughly 75% said they would prefer to work on private projects, comments included “I want to do good, public projects but want to work with private clients to pay for it” and “Working for the public is better because your aims outcomes for the benefit of everyone”.

    It was exciting to hear the students approacing these questions with original views, I found the session really energising!

    If your interested in someone from thinkpublic speaking at your universi...

  • mydex: designing user-centered service pilots

    Communication, Communication Design

    Mydex is an innovative community interest company that helps you manage your personal data and share it with organisations in ways you feel comfortable with. thinkpublic have been working with the Mydex over the past few months, helping to design and brand their service offerings. Last week we hosted a planning session with the mydex team, were also joined by Drummond Reed and John Bradley from Parity Inc. and Richard Adams, who gave their perspective on things. The feeling was of great excitement at the upcoming service pilot and we were on hand to lend our user-centered approach and insights to the pilot.

    If you are interested in joining the pilot, and helping to shape this new platform, please register your interest here:

  • Sdn_177_

    Paul Thurston and Ivo Gormley from thinkpublic are running a session at the Service Design Conference in Amsterdam this November. The workshop will be run in partnership with the Kuopio Academy of Design, Finland and aims to provide participants with an “Understanding of the complex issues to be considered when designing for the health service. Getting participants designing innovative solutions to meet individual’s needs outside existing health services and encouraging the design of imaginative new solutions to key social challenges”

    The interactive “Get well soon” workshop is one of 9 taking place on the 26th November covering service design approaches to a wide range of issues including; health, social innovation, transport and finance.

    If you are attending and would like to meet with either Paul or Ivo at the event please email:

  • British Council Thinks Public!

    Arts & Culture, Communication Design


    Deborah Szebeko, the founder and Director of thinkpublic, walked away with the prestigious British Council’s UK Young Design Entrepreneur Award on Friday evening. The award was presented by Sebastian Conran at the 100% Design exhibition in London’s Earls Court.

    Sebastian Conran, Managing Director of Studio Conran, added “Deborah gave an impressive, compelling and prodigiously clear-sighted presentation on how to integrate design with the public realm. Tenacious about translating design to a wider range of clients, she has succeeded in combining both enthusiasm and common sense to gain the confidence of people who are usually sceptical about design. The judges commend her unique achievements in marrying design with the public sector in a tremendously valuable, straightforward and no-nonsense way.”

    Download the press release

My Interests

  • Industrial Design
  • Environmental Design
  • Communication Design
  • Fashion Design
  • Audio/Visual Design