Thornton joined the MIAD Product Design Department in 2012. He received his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design from the University of Cincinnati and his MFA from The Ohio State University. Since 1993 his professional career has been primarily in consulting, leading award-winning programs for clients such as Crown Equipment, Evenflo, GE, Midmark, Nike, Proctor & Gamble, The Ohio State University, and Whirlpool.
At MIAD, Thornton teaches design process, design thinking, and visualization. His pedagogic research has examined visual perception and literacy in form and drawing skill development. A paper he wrote and presented, entitled “The Integrated Visualization System”, advances the importance of hand drawing skills to the designer and how the primary language of sketching is an essential and necessary tool in the on-going design process.
Thornton holds more than two-dozen design and utility patents as well as a variety of awards for his work, including several IDEA Gold Awards, an IDEA Bronze Award, and an ID Magazine Design Distinction award. He also received two prestigious Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design Good Design Awards given to cutting-edge industrial, product and graphic designs produced worldwide.