Taxi hires new design director » strategy

Taxi hires new design director

The agency is looking to bake design back into its DNA, and has brought on Yen Chu to take the lead.

Yen Chu

About 18 months ago, Taxi broke ground on a dedicated design division. Signal (as the strategic design practice is called) marked a new, yet familiar, passage for the agency, one that will help “bring back design to our DNA,” says ECD Alexis Bronstorph, noting that Taxi first began as a design-led firm.

Now, Bronstorph and fellow ECD Kelsey Horn are attempting to fold the discipline deeper into the agency by hiring a new lead, design veteran Yen Chu.

It took two weeks to fill the design director role, after an “exhaustive pre-search,” Bronstorph tells strategy, looking beyond Canada’s borders to find a handful of candidates before meeting Chu.

“It was immediately clear that she understood where we want to take Taxi,” Bronstorph says.

Entering the shop with more than two decades of honing her design chops, working at pure-play shops like Ove Brand, Parcel Design and Clear Space Design, Chu will be responsible for bringing design into all of the agency’s work.

“Kelsey and I really feel that design can elevate the work and enable it to stand on the global stage,” Bronstorph adds. “If you can create work that solves problems but is really stunning and design-forward, that’s when you really get the best work. Our vision is to bring design more into the fold on everything that we do.”

Since introducing Signal to the market, the division has hired five full-time designers to handle new work – including the branding system for Green Star Cannabis – as well as projects for the Ontario College of Teachers and United Way. Taxi’s newest designer, Meric Karabulut, who also joined this week, hails from Turkey and will help bring new perspective to the agency, having honed his skillset outside of Canada, Bronstorph adds.

The work that’s helping Signal grow comes from clients who aren’t necessarily looking for a full-service Taxi offering, but rather smaller, project-based work, notes Bronstorph. “It’s been awesome to be able to get back into building brand identities.”