The environment, relationships, Brexit, hard work and going with your gut feeling. These food for thought from this years Disrupt Conference as part of Design Manchester 2018.
Sir Richard Leese (Manchester city council leader) kicked things off with some encouraging words about how important Manchester is becoming as a design city and revealed a manifesto for designing the future of Manchester; reassuring us they have learnt from their mistakes in the past, let’s hope so! Positive themes nonetheless.
Our host for the day was Patrick Burgoyne, editor at the Creative Review who did a fine job of introducing the industries professionals throughout the day and putting forward questions that the audience were too shy to ask.
All of the nine speakers we saw had some really interesting things to tell; each with very different approaches to design from different industries and practices. But there were four in particular whom left a resounding impact on us.
Anthony Burrill, potentially the most humble man in existence, with his honest empathetic approach to his work set the tone for the day. He began by talking about what inspired him and moulded him into the designer he has become and the origin of his infamous ‘Work hard and be nice to people’ poster which was an overheard conversation between an old lady and Sainsbury’s cashier. It was great to see his process and the narrative in which his life has unfolded. Ending his talk with a question from Patrick: “How strategic do you think about your career” in which he replied, “Follow your instinct and take the spirit of what you do, my main motivation for my decisions is, is it going to be fun”.
Kate Dawkins was up next, Founder of the self-titled studio which specializes in designing, creating, producing and delivering bespoke digital content for live performances, shows and brand experiences. In other words – badass graphics nothing like you’ve ever seen before. She began by telling us a little bit about her and she quickly expressed her love for trainers, it was at this point she became my best friend. The case studies Kate showed us were seriously impressive the main one being the London Olympics opening ceremony. We sometimes take for granted the hard work and rationale behind big experiences and Kate delved into fine detail the process in which her studio works, giving us a BTS look at the not so glamorous side to the industry, sleepless nights, awful arena food, and loneliness. However she went on to explain that the feeling of successfully pulling off a project such as the Olympics was one of the best feelings in the world, and understandably so! Kate demonstrated her intelligence and creative genius which is well worthy of the BAFTA she won for one of her projects.
After lunch, we were then greeted by Ben Wright dad of 4, nice shoes, and Co-Founder of Design Studio London. This being the second time I’ve heard a talk from Design Studio I thought I knew what the content was going to be, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find out the presentation gave a very intimate look into how Design Studio build relationships with their clients on a level that transforms a client into part of their team. Ben talked with real passion about their work putting the essence of design at the heart of everything they do, with some great design principles. Make it simple, make it clear, make it work. A prominent thought I took away was to ask the questions of a child with the reactions of an adult, which when you think about it might just be the key to life?!
After Ben followed Liza Enebeis of Studio Dumbar, A Dutch branding studio who have made some of the most beautiful typographic posters I have ever laid eyes on and quite possibly the best format of a showreel I’ve ever seen.
Morag Myerscough was our penultimate speaker of the day. Her colourful friendly reputation was immediately realised with her humble beginnings as a super creative child, colouring and making at every opportunity with some cute childhood pictures for reference. She continued on to talk about where her style came from then moving into how she approaches applying her art, and or graphics, within a space which she explains “I pretty much do what I want” which is brilliant. She has made her own unique art and does whatever she wants with it which is probably the main goal of any artist, she came across incredibly content with what she has achieved and how she works, a lovely lady indeed!
Matt Ipcar from Blue State Digital wrapped up the day with some hate on Trump which is always a crowd pleaser and stressing the importance of working for the right people.
What a day it was; incredibly insightful and what a privilege to have such a great event like Design Manchester in this great city.