Saxon Campbell is a Brooklyn-based creative who runs his own studio and teaches part-time at Shillington New York. His portfolio is packed full with beautiful art direction, clever design solutions and beautiful photography. Read on to learn more about his creative process and why he loves teaching the next generation of designers.
It must have been a big move from Oklahoma to New York City! How did your creative journey start during childhood and evolve to today?
I’ve always been into design as long as I can remember. Whether it be in magazines, packaging, etc. I studied design and photography all through university, along with designing for the university.
About four weeks prior to graduation, I started sending out packages, containing cover letters, business cards, and a resume, to companies and agencies I was interested in working with. I sent things mostly to California, New York, and to a couple places in Texas. I remember stamping about 30 envelopes in total. I received 7 responses, 4 phone calls, and had 2 Skype interviews. Skype interview number two went great. ENK International, based in New York City, hired me on the call the Monday before graduation that Saturday. That week I found an apartment and booked a flight to start my job that next Monday, two days after graduation.
Moving to New York was definitely a huge change for an Oklahoma boy, but it didn’t take me long to fit it. Once I was settled in New York, I was ready to stay for a long while.
What project from your Behance portfolio was the biggest challenge? How did you break through and find a solution?
I would say Frockhub was my biggest challenge. Not only did I do the branding for the project, but I also designed the app. This was the first time I was hired to do an app so it was definitely a learning experience.
The solution for the project was patience. After a few months of that, it all came out really well. I’m glad I was able to stick with it.
Along with it being the most challenging project, it’s also one of my favorites.
You’ve worked with a wide variety of clients (fashion, fitness, residential, universities, nonprofits). What’s your approach for designing within a new or unfamiliar industry?
I usually take it on the same way, no matter the type of client. You have a problem to solve. Solve it.
Tell us about your fashion blog Es.Cape. How did that come about?
Es.Cape was a menswear/womenswear blog I started with my friend Cara. We started it to sort of have that creative outlet, escape, from our unhappy work lives.
You have a pretty impressive Instagram following. How important is social media to your creative career?
Social media is very important. It’s always been a thing for me. Between Behance, Instagram, and Facebook, I haven’t had to look for work in the past seven months.
I have worked with a couple students from the most recent full time New York class, Lindsay and Emili. They were great! They both came into the studio for the day and worked with us on real projects. They loved the experience and I plan on bringing more students in for smaller jobs.
What do you enjoy most about teaching Shillington’s part-time class in New York?
I enjoy seeing students grow, not only in skill, but in understanding design. When students go from listening to you to holding a conversation with you.
If you could drill home only one career tip with your students, what would it be?
Find a job that you can enjoy. Most students started this course because they dislike their current jobs. Don’t end up in the same position you were beforehand.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Stay inspired, busy, relevant, and continue to promote yourself anyway you know how. If I’ve learned anything from designing in the city, once you take a break, you become lost in this massive pool of designers.
Want Saxon to be your design teacher? Part-time classes start again at Shillington New York this September. Find out more –> www.shillingtonschool.com.