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Nixon Design

The companies that make up Cornwall’s thriving Creativetech cluster are ahead of the curve. They are capitalising on the region’s Superfast connectivity, its diverse talent pool and its inspiring culture.
One business that has been reaping the benefits that Cornwall has to offer for over 25 years is Nixon Design. Founded by Martin Nixon, the creative agency specialises in building brands, designing digital content and producing printed collateral for clients in the UK and overseas.

Cornwall Trade and Investment’s Brand Consultant, Sophie, met with Martin to discover more about the technical transformation that Cornwall has undergone during that time and why the region never fails to keep him and his team inspired and motivated.

Raised in Cornwall, Martin left the region to train as a graphic designer, working in a number of London based agencies before returning and setting up as a sole trader. “I had a great job in London, but I missed the lifestyle that Cornwall offered. I knew of someone who owned a brilliant graphic design studio in Cornwall and who worked on some major blue chip clients, so I knew a business down here was possible. I eventually took the leap and now employ 16 full time employees with clients not only in Cornwall but further afield. In many respects my dreams have come true.”

Over the past 20 years Cornwall’s creative industry has changed beyond recognition. Martin has witnessed this evolution first-hand.

Cornwall’s Superfast Broadband capabilities are a huge advantage to us. It sends out a really clear message to our clients who aren’t based in Cornwall that our agency is really switched on. We’re living the dream and we’ve got the technological infrastructure to work effectively with clients no matter where they are.”

Martin Nixon, Managing Director, Nixon Design

Martin’s mantra is echoed throughout Cornwall’s Creativetech sector and businesses are competing on a global scale with the region’s expertise sought out by the likes of Pixar, Carte Noir and NTT Communications.

Cornwall’s digital infrastructure is amongst the best in Europe and its transport links have gone from strength to strength. “Cornwall Airport Newquay is a tremendous asset as a means to commuting to and from the region.” Recognised as the UK’s fastest growing regional airport, business at Newquay Airport Cornwall is thriving, offering daily flights to London and other UK locations, as well as the addition of transatlantic connections in 2017. “We are always going to be some distance away, but that’s a very small price to pay for the benefits of living and working in Cornwall.”

But it takes more than connectivity to make to Creativetech business stand out from the crowd. Falmouth University is the UK’s number one Arts University, the creative multi-arts institution is a major contributor to Cornwall’s highly skilled and creative talent pool.

“Falmouth University is a remarkable resource for us and we have employed a number of graduates with a variety of expertise. Students recognise that Cornwall has this thriving creative community and are choosing to stay in order to be a part of it.”

Martin Nixon, Managing Director, Nixon Design

For many, Cornwall is still perceived as a purely holiday destination. Somewhere beautiful and inspiring that people retreat to in order to escape the everyday stresses of the office. For Martin, this is the very reason his office has had a Cornwall address for the past 25 years. “We are living the dream in terms of utilising the region’s physical and digital connectivity and doing so in an agile way. Flexibility in the workplace is a really good thing. I enjoy working from home occasionally and I’m a firm believer in giving my team that flexibility.” The working culture at Nixon Design is one that not only gives the team a sense of control over the way that they work but also the opportunity to make the most of where they live; be that Cornwall’s creative scene, its fantastic food and drink or merely enjoying the beautiful countryside that lends itself to a more active, healthy lifestyle.

Ways of working aside, Cornwall has the power to enthuse and vitalise a workforce. Its vibrant culture, sense of community and inspiring surroundings all contribute to making it a truly unique place to live. “The region offers businesses a creative forum in terms of openness, landscape and lifestyle. It’s enormously enriching on every level. We have more opportunity to find ourselves and find the space to breathe which ultimately provides a sense of objectivity in dealing with our client’s problems because we can see it from the outside looking in.” For professionals working in Creativetech, the line between working and personal life has become increasingly blurred, with individuals constantly connected to one another through digital devices and social media. This ‘always on’ mentality can be draining and not conducive to producing the fresh, creative ideas which are the lifeblood of businesses like Nixon Design.

Martin Nixon is one of the pioneering creatives to build a successful business in Cornwall. He encapsulates the forward thinking attitude of the region’s thriving Creativetech sector and has a refreshing view on how to get the best from his team. By embracing the technical infrastructure, talent and inspiring surrounding that Cornwall has to offer, the business has successfully transitioned from its humble beginnings into one of the region’s exemplar success stories.

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