Twenty years ago, Simon Dixon and Aporva Baxi wrote a rather important list. The list was the culmination of their learnings from running departments in other design agencies; in essence it spelled out what they felt was important to keep hold of and what could be cut away from a design business, and ultimately informed how they would run their own outfit, DixonBaxi, launched in 2001.
“It was a really defined choice to be much more selfish about the work we were doing – in a positive way – getting rid of all the bullshit and the trappings and the machinations of the industry and get back to why we create the work we create, who we create it for and why is that useful and valuable, both to us and the people who we design for,” Dixon says. It’s an ethos that has seen them win clients from sport (AC Milan, Premier League) to streaming (Netflix, Channel 4, Hulu) over the last two decades, by way of Samsung, AT&T and V&A.
The two met in the mid-90s while at another agency and quickly “formed a very close bond on film and design and life and music,” Dixon says. They bounced around in the years that followed, each with stints in the USA, all the while stretching each other creatively, whether they were in the same studio or not, Baxi explains. “We’ve always had that sense of creative respect but also, I wouldn’t call it creative competition, but a sense of pushing each other on.”