A day of inspiration and solving some challenging, ambitious problems.
Last week the DixonBaxi team had a ‘Make Creative Work’ day – no emails, no laptops, no ordinary routine. The day is about the thrill of creativity with everyone – not just the designers – thinking, making, creating.
The day started with each of the team putting forward an inspiring, challenging, ambitious creative problem to solve. We have 20 amazing problems – everything from ‘Humanising the streets for cyclists and road users’ to ‘Inspiring people to do small but extraordinary things’. We voted on 4 and 4 teams did a half day concept sprint and presentation – complete with prototypes and a bit of role-playing to illustrate their ideas. We’ll be taking forward one or two of them as part of a non-commercial studio project in 2016.
Something that inspires you
Before we began though, we kicked the day off by sharing things that have inspired or influenced us creatively, and here’s what the team had to share. Maybe you share some of the same inspirations?
The Octavo Journals: The Octavo journals by legendary design team 8vo was the first design project I saw that was technically and aesthetically pure but disrupted convention in typography. It pre-dates digital technology and is a masterpiece of the detail craft of design and production techniques.
The Elder Scrolls – Skyrim: My first PS3 game. It completely blew my mind in terms of technical and creative abilities, attention to detail, art direction, music composition. I spent many, many hours enjoying every element of this game and feel inspired by the achievement the team behind this game has accomplished.
My beer label collection: I drove 5,682 miles across America – collecting beer along the way. Apart from the nice, intricate, sometime bizarre, local designs of each label, the part that influences and inspires me the most is the memories of that trip and those places where we bought a beer in particular.
New York Postcard: I was inspired as a little girl by a postcard that my dad sent to my mum in 1978. It is a very precious object. The Empire State is so iconic and represents everything ground breaking and romantic about NY. It made me want to go there and I was lucky enough to live there for a couple of years. Everything he wrote on the postcard is still relevant today – anyone who visits the city for the first time could write the same card even today. Timeless!
‘Extraordinary’ by John Bevere: ‘Extraordinary’ is a book that has inspired me to live extraordinarily, the way we are all meant to live. It exposed areas in my life where I was playing it safe, and helped me to start making more powerful and purposeful choices every day.
Jurassic Park Tyrannosaurus Rex: This little guy has sat on my desk since I first saw Jurassic Park in 1993. She’s a constant reminder of my first overwhelming cinematic experience, and the joyful sense of wonder the film – and movies in general – provide me with.
Munster Rugby Ball: I chose a rugby ball represent the underdog stories and graphic design that came out of the RWC. I also don’t have a lot of items in my flat, so this is the best I can do!
Philippe Starck Fluocaril Toothbrush: For me this toothbrush represents all of Starcks output. As a young design student I was introduced to his work and greatly admired his unwavering application of form and beauty coupled with an alluring arrogance to the actual functionality of the pieces. I was also hugely inspired by the breadth and range of the design fields he was [and still is] working in, from this super stylish and graceful toothbrush, to entire building designs such as the Asahi Beer Hall in Tokyo. And everything in between: stools, chairs, motorbikes, kettle, the infamous lemon squeezer. He’s a designer who sees no restrictions in where he works or who may come into contact with the objects he creates.
Bea: I chose a picture of my niece Beatrice because she inspires me daily. Bea has Downs Syndrome, and having not had much previous experience with disabilities she has opened up my eyes to entirely different perspectives. At just aged 3 her love, acceptance and curiosity is unparalleled, her perception and zest for everyday life challenges me often, and the best part is – she doesn’t even realise she’s doing it.
‘The Islanders’ by Roland Pertwee: It was a book that my father gave me when I was 10. I had finished all the Secret Sevens and Famous Fives and was looking for my next new adventure. My father suggested this book. Having been used to reading a story in a certain way, this told a better story. Bigger, more interesting, more mature. Well, that’s what I thought when I was ten anyway. I couldn’t put it down. I read it every second I could and was disappointed when I’d finished it. I’ve read it many times since and still enjoy the story very much, but I’ll never feel like I did when I first read it.
I now have kids of my own, my hope is that I can give it to one of them some day and see the same excitement in their faces as I had. I’m looking forward to them telling me the story.
Olafur Elliason’s Little Sun: Olafur Elliason’s Little Sun solar powered light is a perfect example of ‘creativity that works’. It has been designed to bring light to off-grid communities, whilst informing everyone about sustainability issues. Not art for arts sake but beautiful design and a creative business model to transform how light is perceived and consumed the world over.
My Sheffield Scarf: My scarf represents those occasions when I’m at a game and the atmosphere is buzzing, the crowd is bouncing, the action is gripping and the result never goes the way you expected. Going to the football is a release and the scarf is a nice reminder of those occasions.
My First Zines: These are the first ever Zines I bought, which are now 12 years old! Even though I didn’t know it at the time, these Zines represent what would become my main interest in life, design! Especially Print! I now look at them and feel a sense of satisfaction as I realise that even at a young age I had an interest in something I am now making my life!”
Tron : My uncle took me to see Tron when I was 10 and that was definitely a moment when I realised this was something special. At that age I didn’t quite understand the ‘inside the video game’ concept, but it looked awesome and it set me on my creative path. Since then, it’s always been a formative film I look to from a design point of view. The pure vector linework, the reductive 3D worlds [a revolutionary approach for its time] and amazing concept art by Syd Mead. Take another look at it – who can resist the light cycle sequence? but check out the geometric typography on the walls too.
I don’t get attached to things…I get attached to people, like my beloved Idris and the lovely people who gave me this frame!
Graduation Photo: I shared my graduation picture to show how far I had come. I was 15 when I found out I was pregnant. Everyone thought that I would amount to being a ‘benefit’ mum. I wanted to show my story from being a young mum – going back to school to sit my GSCEs, then to college and finally University where I graduated with a 2:1. Most of all I wanted to give back to my mum who quit her job to look after my son while I studied.
My journey and future success is due to my mother who gave up her life to be the best mother she could be and to everyone who doubted me.
Ai Wei Wei, Tate Exhibition Book: My object was a book by the artist Ai WeiWei, a reference to his sunflower seed piece for the Tate’s unileiver series. It represents my first job at 16, working in a peer led organisation at the Tate Modern called Raw Canvas. The exposure to gallery curators, running events, arts education, community outreach and working with likeminded peers, influenced and pays dues to the life I lead 10 years on…from the choice of uni, degree, to staying in London and even my friends and current flatmates (& a boyfriend)! Crayzee.
Nike Air Max 90 Sneakerboots: These are my new Nike Air Max 90 Sneakerboots. They inspire me because they’re what I’ll be wearing on my feet when I’m standing in the snow in China shooting our next film. Plus the way they look makes me happy, and when I’m happy I do good work.