DM was created to provide the voice of design in Manchester. They are a non-profit organisation running multiple events and programmes through the year.

The creative community come together to present DM, the annual design festival in the city. Founded in 2013, it started out as a small presentation from local designers, now it has grown to become a festival of talks, workshops and conferences, visited and presented by creatives from across the globe.

The theme and concept was ‘Disrupt’. They encouraged us to learn and absorb as much knowledge from disruptors in the industry so that we are able to go and forge our own creative paths in the face of a gloomy mediated future.

Now in its 6th year, the day-long conference was swimming with innovative ideas and expertise in the design world. There were some outstanding inspirational talks by creatives from different areas of the industry, focusing on their work, processes and a general insight each of their businesses. Our favourite talks were those presented by Anthony Burrill and Ben Wright.


Anthony Burrill

Anthony Burrill is best known for his persuasive, up-beat style of communication, with bold typographic statements. His work is held in permanent collections around the world including The Barbican Art Gallery, The Walker Art Centre and The Design Museum, London.

Anthony’s talk gave us a great insight into a designer who had found and nurtured his own style to become well known by his visual representations of typography and wording. He gave us a brief history into his design career, addressing the power of communication as his main influence. He referred to the work he did for The Hans Brinker Hotel, ‘Work Hard Be Nice to People’ campaign, and The Gulf of Mexico oil poster.


Ben Wright

Ben Wright co-founded DesignStudio alongside his business partner and fellow designer, Paul Stafford. Their vision was to bring design back to the heart of the business and allow designers to play a large role in every step of the work process.

DesignStudio is an international brand and design agency based in London and San Francisco with recent rebrands including Airbnb, The Premier League and Deliveroo.

He centered his talk around how they really pushed the thinking process of these re-brands and their mission to truly understand the brand. For example, they decided to set up an AirBnB listing in their own office that was open to the public and followed Deliveroo riders on their daily rides around the city. This was all to get more of a feel and insight into the brand and it’s people. These are just two examples of how committed DesignStudio were in fully understanding the brands they were working with. They completely immersed themselves into them.

You could tell that they have a lot of passion for fulfilling and exceeding their clients needs and expectations, by focusing on creating high-levels of positive, long-term engagement with them.


Hopefully this has given you an insight into our day at DM. For those who found this interesting (designers or non-designers), we would definitely recommend going next year. We have taken a lot from the talks and workshops that we can apply to our design thought process going forward for our own clients. And of course, it was a great, team day out!

Sam Swanwick
Joe Crabtree

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