Fostering the future of design: UAL Chelsea visits the DixonBaxi studio.
Design Directors Jed and Tassia spoke with Graphic Design Communication students from UAL Chelsea College of Arts last week about life at DixonBaxi, from studio culture, to project life cycles and our role within the creative industry.
After two years of remote study, students around the world are returning to classrooms and lecture halls – and design studios. Our studio is an important part of our culture. It inspires the flow of ideas and gives us the space we need to make great work together. We were thrilled to share the inner workings of DixonBaxi with the Graphic Design Communication students from UAL Chelsea last week, with a tour of the studio and a design talk led by Jed and Tassia.
Against the current.
“We discussed the importance of surrounding yourselves with design for trend-free creative inspiration,” Jed explains. If you rely too much on design for creative fuel, you will never come up with anything new. It’s a dangerous cycle to slip into, and part of why we make such an effort to find inspiration outside of the design world. Ideas can come from anywhere, from museums to books, or a concert, or a photo, or even the underside of a mug.
Designing for real people.
The other reason we look outward is that design is rarely for designers; it’s for whoever is going to use it on a daily basis. That’s why designing for real people is so important. And the only way to do that successfully is to venture out into the world and immerse yourself in the context of what and who you’re designing for.
The brand engine.
Inspiration, ideas, and immersion all come together in the design process. The UAL students had some brilliant questions about the different roles at DB and their responsibilities in the creative process. Designers, writers, and producers are often the first roles to come to mind. But there are so many more avenues into a creative industry, each one equally important. From motion and experience design, to operations and growth, there is a lot more to branding than the final design that the public gets to see.
“University is a fantastic time to explore creative practice, develop ambition and learn craft. We love being able to share our own experiences (and dare I say a little accumulated wisdom) with the students as they enter the industry.”
- Jed Carter, Design Director
The top candidate.
Skill is important. So is having a solid portfolio. But many students asked us what we look for when hiring people and our answer is this: have a perspective and be articulate. These are skills that are hard to teach but infinitely valuable, so being able to express yourself clearly and craft a strong opinion will make you an incredible asset to any team and help you pack a punch in your work.
Start at uncomfortable.
We also shed light on how our team produces great work, and it’s by being passionate, collaborative, and unconventional. "We talked through our creative process at DB, how we approach projects and our methods of keeping the creative energy high so that we are able to get to something original,” Tassia explains. There are a lot of different ways to do this, from trying new things or working with new people, to putting yourself forward and not being afraid of asking questions or seeking feedback. When you’re stuck, step back and take a look at the bigger picture. Good design starts at uncomfortable, so it makes sense that the process can get uncomfortable too. When it does, remember that it’s okay to take time to reset.
Designing for tomorrow.
The talk was a great opportunity to be radically transparent about life at a branding agency, and we previewed The DixonBaxi Way Season 2 to help bring that to life. Connecting with the students of UAL is essential to our values; we aim to foster an ambitious new generation of creatives who will change the industry for the better. Bravery sits at the heart of everything we do, and we want young creatives to be just as unapologetic.
Jed reflects, “University is a fantastic time to explore creative practice, develop ambition and learn craft. We love being able to share our own experiences (and dare I say a little accumulated wisdom) with the students as they enter the industry.”
We’d like to thank Peter Chadwick for organising this event and allowing us to share our ideas and processes with the incredible students of UAL Chelsea.