Graphic and communication designer Sophie Thomas has been working in the fields of sustainable design and material process for over 15 years. She is the Founding Director for Thomas Matthews and Director of Circular Economy at the RSA. Her long term interest in sustainability and materials has led her to share her experience of closed loop thinking with other designers, and in 2012 she founded The Great Recovery, a programme to build capacity and understanding of circular design in the materials supply chain through practical exploration.
What are you working on at the moment?
I have gone back into my communication design practice and am beginning to work with businesses who want to ‘be circular’ but are unsure how to start and what it actually means.
I am also developing ideas around how designers can develop Ocean Friendly Design, specifically tackling marine plastic through active programmes. Both these pieces are continuing my conviction that seeing is believing and the way to lean this stuff can be kicked off through kinaesthetic learning. As Great Recovery participant Rich Gilbert said: You can read blogs and reports all you like, but you will never forget the smell of a landfill site.
What will you share at the conference that people haven’t heard before?
I will be sharing the developed methodology of how you can design a circular business and how to understand which of the circular design models you should be designing to. We have been developing the circular economy edition of the double diamond.
Tell us about what you are excited to bring back from the conference?
For me it’s all about people, their projects and research and networking. When I meet a bright spark with a ‘crazy but it might just work’ idea I get very excited and go through my mental rotadex to see who I can connect them with.