Design Manchester: DM16

Sundae is part of the team that produces Design Manchester, the city’s festival of design and creativity, now entering its 5th year.

For last year’s festival, DM16, which ran from 12-23 October 2016, we curated and produced 35 events including talks, exhibitions, debate, workshops, a film season, a design fair and parties at venues throughout the city.

DM16 saw over 40,000 visitors flock to high profile events taking in bars and clubs in the Northern Quarter, and the city’s landmark venues including the Old Granada Studios, London Road Fire Station, the Royal Northern College of Music, The Lowry, HOME, The Sharp Project, The Refuge at the Principal Hotel, and the lead sponsor the Co-op’s head office in Angel Square.

One major highlight of this year’s festival was the Design City Fair at London Road Fire Station, which welcomed over 7000 people over one weekend, to visit the Manchester Print Fair, Manchester Book Fair, workshops from paper manufacturer G . F Smith, a pop up shop from LAZERIAN, along side three minute, £2 portraits organised by Fred Aldous.

The Great Debate, at the Old Granada Studios Bonded Warehouse, hosted by magneticNorth’s Lou Cordwell, saw University Peter Mandelson; Designer Republic’s Ian Anderson and Andy Burnham MP, among many more discuss city identity – and the nature and character of our cities of the future.

In addition, our MD Fiona McGarva, also festival director for Design Manchester, this year co-curated a Design City film season at HOME, alongside Malcolm Garrett RDI, screening classic films with design at their heart. Each was introduced by an expert, providing an insight into the creative process and the impact of design on the finished work. Writer Alice Rawsthorn (FriezeNew York Times) discussed Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, and Kubrick expert Sir Christopher Frayling outlined the “gleaming and sinister” production design of Dr Strangelove.

DM16 doubled the size of the previous year’s festival, and so with 35 events to publicise, the Sundae campaign segmented the content into strands, exhibitions, art, family friendly, design industry and films, to ensure all communications were targeted. Creative ReviewDesign Week, Stylist, Creative Tourist, Manchester’s Finest, The Skinny, the Manchester Evening News and Computer Arts among many more were incredibly supportive of the festival, and online and print press carried over 80 pieces of coverage.

Design Manchester’s creative agency, Instruct, worked with digital and photography artist Andrew Brooks, on the marketing creative, which was one of the biggest and most impactful new additions to the 2016 festival. Sundae worked with with arts marketing specialists KMS Media and the Audience Agency, with the support of Manchester City Council, to implement a campaign that took in 157 outdoor sites across the city.

The event was an incredible success, and DM17 is already in the planning. If you’d like to be part of it please email For more information on the festival and its events please visit



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Sundae is part of the team that produces Design Manchester, the city’s festival of design and creativity, now entering its 5th year.