Draft:Andrew Ashton (graphic designer)

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Andrew Ashton[1][2] (born 1969, Sydney, NSW, Australia) is an Australian graphic designer, writer, artist and educator in design. He grew up between the North Western suburbs of Sydney and a farm backing onto the Kanangra Boyd National Park and Jenolan Caves.

Ashton is the principal of Work Art Life Studios[3] in Melbourne, established in 2012. His practice is inspired by Australian life, artefact, environment, and custom.[4]  

Ashton has developed brand identities and communication design for multinational financial corporations, local food, cultural and community icons, and in 2004 initiated a dedicated design market in Melbourne[5] for the inaugural State of Design Festival.[6]

Ashton is a member of Alliance Graphique Internationale.[7]

Ashton shares a studio in Balaclava with the artist, curator, and DJ Geoff Nees.[8]

Ashton with Optimism Poster developed for the 2009 ICOGRADA Beijing Conference


Ashton studied at the Randwick School of Design, in Randwick, (now Enmore Design Centre,[9] Enmore) New South Wales and earned a Diploma of Graphic Design in 1990.

Career and creative practice[edit]

Ashton was a designer at established Sydney based graphic design studios Lam-Po-Tang & Co, headed by Andrew Lam-po-tang[10][11] and Gallaher + Associates, headed by Alan Gallaher and Andrew Gadsby from 1990 to 1993.

In 1994 he co-founded Sydney based graphic design studio Nelmes Smith Ashton with entrepreneur Rick Nelmes and designer Graeme Smith.[12] In 1998 the partnership was renamed Precinct Design[13] and opened offices in Melbourne and Hong Kong. Ashton relocated from Sydney to Melbourne in 1999 as Creative Director.

Ashton's designs for renowned clients Australian Chamber OrchestraAustralian Paper, Australia Post, Country Road, and Computershare helped establish Ashton's reputation for producing quality brands, campaigns, posters, and publications. In 2001 Precinct Design[14] was acquired by publicly listed communication and media company The Photon Group.[15]

In 2003 Ashton established Independent, creative and market-focused creative practice Studio Pip and Co, renamed Work Art Life Studios, in 2012. Ashton continued developing quality work in the cultural, manufacturing and hospitality sectors for Alliance Française French Film Festival, Australian National Academy of Music, Australian Cultural Fund,[16] Australian Paper, Circus Oz, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, Chamber Music Australia,[17] Jardan Furniture, Kere Kere, Melbourne Fringe, Moonlight Cinema,[18] Monash University, So Frenchy So Chic,[19] South Melbourne Market, Red Stitch Actors Theatre, Pearl Restaurant and Spicers Paper.

Creative industry projects[edit]

Exploring creative diversity, raising public awareness[20][21] and collaboration with designers and creatives are fundamental to Ashton's creative practice.

Ashton has volunteered in several capacities for the Australian Graphic Design Association[22] (AGDA). He has volunteered for State councils in New South Wales and Victoria from 1996 to 2010.

North Plaza super interactive graphic developed for Monash University Campus, Clayton, Melbourne in 2016

In 2002 Ashton was appointed the creative director for AGDA Biennale Awards hosted in Melbourne, presented at the Myer Music Bowl. He developed the theme ‘Outside in / Inside Out’ and collaborated with over twenty Victorian designers to create an energetic campaign that explored image-making, exhibitions, posters and publications and experience design. An eight-minute VOX POP film, featuring AFL footballer Mark ‘Jacko’ Jackson, that asked the public ‘What is graphic design?’[23] was premiered at the awards event.

In 2004 Ashton was appointed communication designer of ‘The State of Design Festival’[24] funded by the Victorian State government. Ashton collaborated with Victorian multidisciplinary designers to create a campaign that explored image-making, exhibitions, posters and publications, an event presented over fourteen days. Ashton initiated Australia's first design centered public market event – ‘Ready Made Market’[25] presented on a Sunday undercover at the Federation Square carpark attended by ten thousand members of the public.

In 2005 and 2006 Ashton was appointed communication designer for the Melbourne Design Festival[26] funded by the National Design Centre.[27] Ashton initiated the first Australian Poster Annual[28] in partnership with AGDA. The Melbourne Design Market[29][30][31] continued to grow in awareness and attendance.

Ashton curated the 'Forty-Eight’[32] lecture series from 2006 to 2010 with AGDA Victoria. Over 50 local creatives where allocated six minutes to present an idea, process or project.

Ashton conceived and made an Australian graphic design studio newsprint 72-page survey called Read Me First[33] with designer David Pidgeon,[34] conceived and printed in two weeks, launched in April 2007 at AGIdeas.

Andrew Ashton's surprise entry as a koala, at the 2009 ICOGRADA Conference Beijing, China

In 2009 Ashton collaborated with designer Kate Hannaford, Moth Design, and events producer Corrina Baldwin to create ‘This is not a design market’,[35][36][37] held at temporary venue, a disused metal foundry ‘The Factory’, 500 Latrobe Street, Melbourne, developed by Moth Design, and Corrina Baldwin. The market offered everything from lighting, furniture, fashion, homewares to graphic design.

In 2011 Ashton was invited to guest edit Desktop Magazine's[38] 25th Anniversary Issue 275.[39] Conceived as ‘Time Capsule’ Ashton with the Desktop team created a portrait of Australian design practice which explored a vast array of work, studio spaces, designers, opinions, reading lists, student views, even the contents of their pockets as of 2011.

In 2011 Ashton initiated ‘Diamonds in the Rough’ an exhibition running for 3 weeks of free print ephemera from 1990, at Lamington Drive, Collingwood, curated by Ashton. Works featured including Garry Emery, Tin & Ed, South South West, Fabio Ongarato, Studio Anybody, Famous VS, Something Splendid, People Collective, Pidgeon, PSS, Studio Round, David Lancashire, 3 Deep, Vice Mag and back.[40][41]

In 2012 Ashton was appointed Chair of the AGDA Biennale Awards[42][43][44][45] hosted in Melbourne, collaborating with designers Ryan Guppy (Creative Director), Dom Bartolo, Dominic Hofstede, Dom Forde, Pete Salmon-Lomas, Che Douglas, Amanda Watts, Simon Mundy, and Monash Design students. The team explored ‘Start Again’ across brand, award categories, print, digital, event, exhibition, catalogue and experience. A call for entries poster stating – Melbourne Designers are Wankers – set the scene. The award programme was launched at a public display of work celebrating 20 years of AGDA Pinnacle Award Winners[46][47][48] in the Campbell Arcade off Flinders Street Station. The Awards night was held at the Forum Theatre. Attendees entered via the bowels of the Theatre; it featured student projection works, a volunteer uniform modeled on first-time host Sydney based designer Christopher Doyle, innovative motion graphics,[49] a documentary about the judging process in Adelaide,[50] a projection wall made of 200 packing cartons, to a tote bag stating it was – Another Crappy Tote Bag.

In 2013 Nite Art[51][52] was born, a Melbourne public art event. Founder Deb Stahle heads a programme that is a simultaneous open night of galleries, artist, art, and lectures.[53] Ashton named, created the brand and created the communications, along with serving on Nite Art's board with design strategist Andrea Nixon[54] and creative Jason McQuoid.[55]

Exhibitions and products[edit]

Ashton periodically develops products, exhibits, and experiences, including print/poster publication ‘Two Pools’, ‘A Magazine for Now’,[56] ‘For love for money / Ink chasing down light’,[57] and a greeting card range under the banner of ‘Card Party’. ‘Twenty Dollars only’ was a black and white print show, ‘3168’ was graphic works inspired by the colours of Melbourne Bayside Brighton. The ‘Balance’ poster show in Carlton was a range of graphic posters inspired by working with Circus Oz.  

‘Powerhouse’ is a new training and mentoring programme devised to help in-house teams get in touch with their making side, launching in 2019.

Teaching and lecturing[edit]

Ashton has lectured in design practice at Swinburne University, Prahran focusing on publication design from 2004 to 2008.

From 2010 Ashton joined the sessional lecturer team at Monash University Art and Design Faculty,[58] Caulfield, exploring brand, digital provocation, live briefs for projects with Desktop Magazine,[59] Nite Art and the Australian Design Biennale.

Personal life[edit]

Ashton is married to Pip Jones, an Intensive Care Unit nurse. They met at North Sydney Olympic Pool, North Sydney. They have two sons.

Publication listing[edit]

Area 2, Volume 2, Phaidon Press, 26 Mar 2008[60]

Design Evolution: Theory Into Practice : a Handbook of Basic Design ... By Timothy Samara[61]

Communication Arts Magazine[62]

No Rules! Logos by John Stones[63]

AGI – New Voice by Hesign Internat., 2006[64]

AGI: Graphic Design Since 1950, Ben Bos, Elly Bos, Thames & Hudson, 2007[65]

Small Studios, Jianping He, Page One, 2009[66]

The Casual Cyclist by Matt Hurst[67]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Ashton's practice has attracted numerous industry awards,[68][69][70][71] award jury appointments,[72][73] and speaking invitations, in Australia,[74] Beijing,[75][76][77] New Zealand,[78] Hong Kong,[79][80] Paris,[81][82] San Francisco,[83] and Seoul.

In 2004 Ashton[7] was inducted as a member of the prestigious Alliance Graphique Internationale.


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External links[edit]