DM18 Conference : D(isrupt)M

On Friday our design team attended the Design Manchester 2018 Conference: D(isrupt)M at the Bridgewater Hall.

The Design Manchester Festival has grown in recent years and is now a firm highlight of the City’s cultural calendar. The Conference is the main event in a festival programme offering a wide range of exhibitions, events and discussion throughout October. This year’s theme of DISRUPT caught the mood of a city which is constantly changing, as well as the current turbulent political climate .. The opening speech by Sir Richard Leese, making the announcement of a new Design Manifesto got the day off to an exciting start.

During the morning we heard extremely varied and inspirational speakers, kicking off with the designer and type-setter Anthony Burrill, which had us all googling where to buy his legendary ‘Work hard and be nice to people’ poster which is an ethos we all agree with at Curve, as well as loving a bit of letter press 🙂

Next up was an amazing talk by Kate Dawkins whose amazing ‘can do’ attitude had led to the completion of some jaw dropping projects including the LED lighting at the London Olympics ceremonies, and the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele in Ypres .. watch this video, it is amazing!

What I loved about the day was the variety of the speakers, and Kaye Dunnings the creative director of Shangri-La at Glastonbury gave a fascinating insight into both the inspiration, the practicalities and the politics behind this awesome annual spectacle.

Before we broke for lunch we heard from Ben Wright at DesignStudio, whose words particularly resonated with me, as my background is in graphic design, and much of what he said applies to the way we work at Curve, the whole team involvement with the client and keeping design at the heart of the project. Also, lots to think about regarding marketing our business and creating stories and human connections!

Phew, it was about time for wine and pizza!!!


After lunch design hero Michael Wolff took to the stage with super hero Madeleina Kay who along with a sense of humour also gave an important political message and reinforced that however small we think we are, our opinions count and we should not be afraid to speak up for what we believe in.

During the afternoon we heard from Liza Enebeis, a partner at the extremely cool Studio Dunbar in the Netherlands. Her talk was warm and humorous and her work inspiring, the presentation showcased works from projects for Amsterdam Sinfonietta and the Netherlands police and demonstrated how the company have produced some very iconic and important design.

If anyone was dozing off towards the end of the day the final two speakers certainly woke us up – Morag Myerscough and her amazing public works of art, many community focused with huge bursts of colour and fantastic geometric design, we loved her!

Last up, another thought provoking ad man Matt Ipcar, gave his experience of working on the Obama campaigns in America, we considered what kind of clients we are happy to work with and how at the heart of a creative business we should feel happy and comfortable with our client base, and the message we are putting out there.

To sum up the day, we all came away feeling inspired. The Bridgewater Hall was a great venue for the event and Patrick Burgoyne from Creative Review was funny and engaging host, the satellite events around the building added to a great atmosphere and coming together of creative, interesting people.

Looking forward to next year 🙂

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