SAIC have an advanced design studio on prime Maryleborne real estate in the middle of London. The open plan arrangement with designers’ zones, review areas, chill out space and groovy chairs provides a creative environment with which to attract design talent to define the future SAIC Group products. When I started Drive and was shown impressive facilities of OEMs like Volvo or engineering firms like Magna, it made me wonder how a design consultancy like Drive can compete with the major automotive manufacturers and their studios. The answer of course is we don’t – design consultancies offer something different.
Major car companies carry out most of their design work themselves, with dedicated design departments capable of handling every aspect of the design process. But few companies do not use the services of external design consultancies for some smaller projects or as a validation of their internal designs, whilst many smaller niche companies use such consultancies to supplement their more limited in-house design facilities on larger design projects.
In most cases the reason we get shown around a company’s design facilities is because Drive is working with them or about to. They see that Drive has something to offer them and they want us to work with their teams to stimulate creativity and maximise the design output. Whether it be for market insights, a fresh design perspective or simply additional digital resource we are able to provide focussed and professional expertise.
As with the studio space, I question ‘how can we compete’ when recruiting creative talent, when automotive OEMs can offer so much in terms of employment, facilities and certainty of projects well into the future.
Again we don’t compete, what we have to offer is different.
We are an efficient studio that has a welcoming, creative and professional atmosphere. We work with numerous brands so it is unlikely that we will designing a similar face of a car or same product for long. The type of work is varied, and is more likely to be concept ideation than production detailing. The projects will cover a large spectrum with mobility solutions, aircraft interiors or maybe another supercar inspired Track-tor being as likely as the next production SUV.
A consultancy environment like Drive’s isn’t for everyone, but the constant change benefits our creative team keeping them fresh, interested and gaining a breadth of experiences that differentiates them from other designers. The very skill set that many design chiefs look for in their next hire, indeed two former Drive employees will be able relax at the new SAIC coffee bar.
It is the diverse experiences that attracts our clients and benefits their projects as they get new perspectives, fresh ideas and insight from our broad knowledge gained across different industries and clients.
So if you are looking for some creative input for your next project or if a consultancy environment is somewhere you would like to work, come round for a chat. We don’t have a coffee bar but we do have a fantastic café around the corner.
(SAIC Design Advanced London top image – photos source SAIC)