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Simon Dixon, DixonBaxi and Plymouth Design Forum

Pete Clayton is Made in Plymouth’s Creative Columnist; an illustrator, animator and graphic designer based in Plymouth. Not a born native to the city and region, but a fully bred Plymouthian who’s lived here most of his 41 years. This month he went along for his regular dose of creative inspiration, to Plymouth Design Forum, and came out buzzing! He tell us why.

Admittedly, I didn’t know too much about the latest guest speaker at the most recent PDF event in January 2024. I knew DixonBaxi as a global branding agency but as for their work I was very much unsure. I took a little sneak peek at their website before Simon Dixon went on stage at the Plymouth Barbican Theatre, I saw a very impressive roster of clients and work. From bank holding companies to entertainment brands and even the well known Italian football club, AC Millan.

The beautiful work aside, what inspired and impressed me the most were the core values and principles that they adhere to as an agency. DixonBaxi’s team embodies human and work values steeped in insight.

DixonBaxi started life 23 years ago with just two people, Simon Dixon and Aporva Baxi. In just over two decades they are now 50 people strong forming a whole host of nationalities and disciplines. What struck me was how important the team is to Simon, citing that they think about people first, design second and worry about money last. Indeed, part of their process is that everyone works together from the beginning of a project, all the way through. This rang true with me and my process also. I’ve always felt the earlier I get involved in the brief process, the better. This is just so I can be fully immersed in the project at hand.

I love the fact that DixonBaxi isn’t money centric either. Success looks different to them. People are “success” and so is culture, working better, passion and authenticity. Originality rang out so much to me over Simon’s talk. As he put it, he likes to “reject convention and stay true to you” and “without mediocracy”. That’s what it seems he wants from his clients and from his team and himself. “Be brave” is the company’s strapline and they also state “Brave brands change the world. We help create them”. A bold and brave statement in itself. But they do “design with optimism” and believe “Creativity is the super power to make the world a better place”… amen to that!

But DixonBaxi doesn’t just spew out exciting and beautiful work willy-nilly. It’s led by insight and without that insight there is no creative process. I love this! Insight is to be cherished and honed in on. By doing this is to truly produce work which is not only highly creative but also purposeful to the client, audience and brief.

As I have written Simon spoke very candidly about everything he and his company does. He spoke briefly about doubt as a creative and how this is something to embrace as it is at times part of the process. Often riddled with self doubt at the best of times myself this was so comforting to hear!

Suffice to say Simon’s talk has been for me one of the best talk events Plymouth Design Forum has put on to date and I left the Barbican theater that night buzzing with excitement for the future in my own creative practice. Some real creative food for thought.

If you haven’t heard of PDF and would like to know more about what they do and about exciting future events then you can check them out here via plymouthdesignforum.co.uk.

Thanks for reading Pete 🙂

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