Life is a LEMON

For Timothy Fulton at least—life is a LEMON.

Timothy Fulton is one of 5 speakers from 5 disciplines who will each share 5 minutes talking about what makes them tick at an upcoming event hosted by the Design Institute of Australia (DIA).

Tim FultonA young graphic designer with Canberra’s award winning Swell Group, Timothy hasn’t always had it easy. In 2016, he was diagnosed with Still’s, a rare auto-immune disease that affects 1 in 500,000.

“I went from having a game plan mapped out in my head on how my career would unfold, to being in hospital lying on my back and unable to move,” says Timothy. “I quickly worked out that life isn’t linear and wasn’t going to play out as planned. I knew the quality of my life for the foreseeable future was going to be challenging and painful but believed deeply that I had control over my attitude and how I was going to respond to the shattering situation.”

Timothy is back on track, having been in remission for six months. As a young graduate, he now works at Swell, which has been breathing life into brands, digital experiences and environments for close to two decades. Timothy’s been awarded a Chancellor’s Commendation and the student prize for Best Graduating Undergraduate, Faculty of Arts and Design, University of Canberra.

Fulton_XO_09“The art of listening and being empathetic is the most powerful tool a designer can have,” says Timothy. “It’s exciting that we get to step into other people’s worlds, see another perspective and then use our design expertise to make meaningful change and help people bring to life their goals and aspirations.”

At the 5×5 ACT Speaker Series, Timothy will also talk about the challenges of designing in a fast-paced world and the difference between good and bad design and effective and ineffective design. “We need to educate people that there is a difference. Computer literacy is increasing. Design is more than being able to work and computer. It’s a problem-solving process that needs to be carefully developed,” says Timothy.


One of Tim’s award-winning student assignments—to design a cover for the annual anthology ‘First’. The cover explores the process of formulation.

So why is life a lemon for Timothy? L means life isn’t linear, E is for empathy, M for meaning, O for opening eyes to new possibilities and N is for learning to say no so you protect yourself and be able to do your best.

This is the DIA’s 70th year in being the voice of professional design in Australia. The upcoming 5×5 ACT Speaker Series will also feature Dr Sabine Pagan, a Swiss-born Australian contemporary jeweller, gemologist and academic who is working on a collection of pieces celebrating Canberra. Philip Quartly, who works in exhibition design at Designcraft will speak as will Jeremy Lepisto, a glass artist from studio Workshop Level and Rolf Barfoed, a nationally awarded fine furniture maker.

“The 5×5 ACT Speakers Series is designed to be a stimulating evening exploring experiences, projects, successes and failures,” says Lisa Biddiscombe, President of the ACT Branch.  “And it’s about inspiring people to value design, promote Australian design and connect designers with others.”

Fulton SWL_Office_02

5×5 ACT Speakers Series is on 24 May at 6pm at 12 Pirie Street Fyshwick. Non-members $25; Members $20; Students $15. Refreshments and beverages provided. Register here

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