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InterviewApr 01, 2024

Volunteer of the Month: Ashley Tomlinson Provisional RGD

Interview with Ashley Tomlinson Provisional RGD, Self Employed

This April, the RGD thanks Ashley Tomlinson Provisional RGD for her contributions to the RGD community.

“Ashley Tomlinson is a ball of energy—we're so lucky she's chosen to direct some of it towards RGD initiatives. Her enthusiasm, warmth and willingness to do the work makes her an invaluable part of our community. I'm so grateful for her support behind the scenes on the forthcoming DesignThinkers Podcast too.”
Nicola Hamilton RGD

How long have you been volunteering with the RGD and in what capacity?

I joined the RGD's Education Committee in January 2020 and now serve on the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. In the fall of 2020, I assisted in organizing the international virtual studio tours that were screened at the DesignThinkers Conference in Toronto. More recently, I am working on producing and branding for the DesignThinkers podcast with RGD President Nicola Hamilton.

What experience stands out for you?

At the end of this month, the RGD is releasing a podcast celebrating 25 years of the DesignThinkers conference; I’ve been behind the scenes the past couple of months—it’s been a wild ride of interviews, developing the branding and editing episodes! I’ve gotten to listen in on some really amazing conversations reflecting on the conference and seeing where many past speakers are right now. A particularly stand-out moment was listening in to Paula Scher’s recording—she’s so lovely and humble and will forever be a woman I admire. Also, any excuse to work with Nicola, she’s the best!!

What is the most surprising thing to come out of volunteering with the RGD?

I wouldn’t say it’s surprising, but it's lovely to connect in-person with fellow volunteers at DesignThinkers—It never gets old to chat and catch up in-person after having met mostly online throughout the year.

What have you learned about the industry since volunteering for the RGD?

Just how interconnected the design community is and how central the RGD is in that community. The RGD really is a hub that can connects so many people and provides helpful resources throughout your career. Whether you’ve just started design school, freshly graduated or are years into your career, the RGD is there to support you.

Based on your experience volunteering with the RGD, how would you describe the role of the organization in the industry?

The RGD connects individual designers to a larger community, it sets the standard for design and work practices and it also provides designers with resources to help expand their careers. Most importantly though, it’s been a warm and welcoming community of fellow designers that you can turn to when you need support, guidance or just to stay connected with the design community.

What have you gained from being an RGD volunteer and why would you recommend it to other members who might be thinking of getting involved?

I’ve gained a welcoming community of fellow designers that have been kind and supportive during my career so far. I’d recommend getting involved if you want to feel a stronger connection to a larger community and have the desire to help support the many initiatives that the RGD is working on.

Do you have thoughts on what you might like to do as a volunteer with the RGD in the future?

I’d like to continue volunteering on the Diversity & Inclusion Committee, create/run a virtual webinar and hopefully one day grace the DesignThinkers stage either introducing a speaker, moderating a panel or giving a talk myself.

Ashley Tomlinson

Self Employed

Ashley is a multidisciplinary graphic designer based in Toronto, Canada. So far her career has focused on editorial design at Studio Wyse and Clean Eating Magazine. A big lover of magazines and books (she loves storytelling), you can sometimes find her hanging out at Issues Magazine Shop or checking out books at the library. In her spare time she also co-writes a newsletter on pop culture called Shaping the Narrative which is just an excuse to write about all the books she’s reading. Always up for a conversation; her favourite topics include books, dogs and The Real Housewives.


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