Confident, well-researched, versatile graphic design from the soon to graduate Leeds Arts University student
When you see a young designer really grapple with a concept, researching intensely and striving to understand every last nuance of their subject matter before considering a visual response, you breathe a sigh of relief. Too often these days, aesthetic is idolised, while criticality and consideration fall by the wayside. Leeds Arts University final year graphic design student Tom Dixon situates his work on top of firm foundations of research and carefully considers function. Form certainly doesn’t suffer as a result, with confident projects that look great and justify each minute consideration. “I prefer to stay open and allow time to explore subjects relevant to the project” Tom explains as we discuss one of his latest submissions, a bold display type ‘Dobson’ inspired by his hometown of Newcastle.
“In my final year I wanted to do two things, the first was to design a typeface and the second was to celebrate my hometown in a form of graphic design” he expands. Inspired by Grainger Town, the “historic heart of Newcastle”, Tom first set about working on an identity for Grainger Market, upon completion though, he wanted to take things further by representing the architecture of John Dobson and developer Richard Grainger, who “helped craft Newcastle’s cityscape into what it is today”. The coherence and unity of the ‘Tyneside Classical’ architectural style served as a great start point for Tom’s new typeface, which also refers to ancient Greece’s Doric Order, itself a big inspiration of Dobson’s work. Compiling those references, Tom has brilliantly represented the graphical elements of the buildings through his bold display type, which are expertly showcased in a striking type sample publication.
Another of our favourites from Tom’s promising portfolio is ‘Made in Japan (1945-1991): Innovation in the Economic Miracle’ which expertly chronicles the highlights of post-war Japanese invention. “It’s a celebration of the vast breadth of Japanese exports, ranging from Godzilla to the Sony Walkman which helped rebuild the country economically and culturally” he reveals. “I really like the potential of this idea and can imagine it as an exhibition, which would further celebrate the innovations in physical form”.
A versatile designer with a rigorous research-driven creative process, Tom’s practice will undoubtedly see him stand out from the crowd during his impending graduation. We’re excited to see where he lands and what he gets stuck into next, because make no mistake, we need more young designers with reverence for the past in order for us to best plot a course for the future.