Qualified in Industrial Design Engineering at Central School, London, in 1986. James moved to the US in '90 in search of a wider design expertise.
He joined top design offices in New York, Silicon Valley, and San Francisco for a 10 year period - maintaining a continual search for a wider knowledge and expertise in design craft. During this period he was a senior designer in the early years of IDEO, partnered with Bob Brunner to develop a Product Design Group at Pentagram SF , and regularly lectured at Stanford and CCAC.
Back in Europe James joined Seymour Powell, then Therefore Design in London, before setting up his own studio - James Toleman Innovation Design in 2000 in France, to push a re-focusing on the experiential process of making - providing clients with specialised knowledge on a unique collaborative level.
During a 3 year hiatus from '05, he conceived, developed and art directed the construction of one of the most dynamic new brands at Decathlon : co-conceived the award winning innovative “brand launch” product : Oxelo Diabolo: the inline skate with brakes which work.
In '09 James founded Industrial Design Innovation Studio, marking a new era of collaboration between innovation specialists.
James is a regular visiting lecturer at Euromed Management Design School in Marseille / Toulon where he develops workshop, brainstorming and innovation techniques with masters students in both Design and Business Programs.
James is an expert at making things to put in the hands of users: design by investigation and experimentation - create, test, refine. He calls this biotic (human centered) design. The workshop is the centre of creative activity. This capability accompanied by honed brainstorming, workshop and user scenario development techniques enables the development of virtually transparent MMI’s and the use of the object becomes a simple pleasure.
James work reflects a broad range of capabilities and interests and has consistently won international recognition.