Design Manchester Round-up 2019

Last week we put our out of offices on and headed to the Design Manchester Conference for a day of inspiration and team bonding. This year’s theme was SMART and featured a range of speakers from across the world talking about their creative journey. I thought I’d round-up my favourites from the conference.

Extinction Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion

The day started with a thought-provoking talk from Extinction Rebellion about the true extent of the problems we’re facing in terms of how livable our planet will be and how close to extinction we really are if we don’t act now. 


They encouraged us to sign up to be a rebel and to try and promote real-world political change. They definitely made us come away wanting to do more.

Hansje Van Halem

Hansje Van Halem

Next up was Hansje Van Halem, a renowned typographer from Amsterdam who, after seeing her typeface used on a book she wasn’t commissioned to produce, decided she wanted to be in control of how her typography was distributed.  

We loved seeing how versatile Hansje’s type design is, and how it eventually evolved into moving brand design for Lowlands Festival.

Heatherwick Studio

Neil Hubbard (Heatherwick Studio)

Heatherwick Studio are an architectural team who’ve designed show-stopping buildings, often working to preserve the old and add the new. One of my favourites was Vessel; a centrepiece for the public in New York. They wanted to create something that would not only be an impressive structure but also a space in which people could interact and enjoy. The result is a series of steps that creates a beehive effect, with both internal and external viewpoints. 


They also ran us through their thought process when designing. One example of this was their redesign of the London buses, and the thinking behind the experience passengers are having, the amount of light they need, how colour impacts their journey and why the seats are shaped how they are.

The Vessel
Paula Scher

Paula Scher

The conference ended with design legend, Paula Scher. Of the three phases of Paula’s career I really enjoyed hearing about her paintings, and the collaborations she’s done with schools to translate her paintings of maps and flight paths into large scale murals. It was interesting how her work has evolved from designing record sleeves for Columbia Records to design for the physical environment.

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