Recently, the Single Malt team had a day trip out to the Bridgewater Hall to attend Design Manchester 2018.

With speakers including: 

Ben Wright – Co-founder of DesignStudio, working closely with ambitious clients such as Airbnb & Deliveroo, with a vision to bring the designer back to the heart of the branding process. 

Kate Dawkins – founder of the BAFTA award-winning self-named studio and designer behind the giant 360º ‘Audience pixels’ installation at the London 2012 Olympic games.

Anthony Burrill – graphic artist, print-maker and designer, well known for his simple, typographic, upbeat compositions.

Michael Wolff – Co-founder of Global design agency Wolff Olins, he believes the secret to success is an open mind and relying on creativity rather than experience and habit. 

Morag Myerscough, Matt Ipcar, Liza Enebeis & Kaye Dunnings.

There was an abundance of insightful inside information to inspire the whole team, not just the designers. We were also particularly pleased with the equal number of male and female design speakers. 

We went into the event with a vision of what we wanted Single Malt to evolve into; the event only intensified this vision. It gave us confirmation we are doing the right things, helped us understand the areas we can push more and left us incredibly excited for the future.

The event reiterated to us that it’s all about the relationship with a client. Strong relationships create high-quality brands that are both useful and meaningful. You both have to be passionate about the brand and core values and be equally invested and excited about the client’s objectives. 

Branding is not just about designing a logo, in fact, as Ben Wright said: “The logo is the full stop at the end of the branding process.” Understanding a client, their organisation and goals, building a strong relationship with them and uncovering the unique purpose of their brand – make up a major chunk of the branding process and the logo is just the full stop at the end.


Heading to design Manchester 2018 was our first full squad outing as a team of 7!  With plenty of industry experts giving their advice we had lots of takeaways from the event.

Here are our Senior Designers, Bekkie, highlights:

Ben Wright showed us how DesignStudio was “a company born out of frustration” and going from a large agency to a small one, past frustrations he’d had definitley resonated heavily with me. Re-imagining the experience for designers is something I’m keen to keep pushing at Single Malt, involving designers throughout the whole process and having their skills fully utilised. It was insightful to see how that ethos and outlook can translate right through to a much bigger team like DesignStudio. Designers have so much more to offer than just making things pretty and Ben’s celebration of this was really invigorating!

Seeing the array of different talent was exactly why I took the team to the event. The event was not only informative but refreshing too. Seeing Kate Dawkins large-scale digital projection showed us how design can translate to not only large format but digital (video and projection) at the same time. This fired the team up and it highlighted how we should not let format limit our ideas but be more courageous with our canvas.

The quote of the day for me had to be from Ben Wright, “junior designers have a responsibility to scare the living shit out of us with their ideas”… I’m keen to keep motivating our younger team and he took the words right out of my mouth. We currently have Meg in our team, a design student on a year’s placement from Huddersfield University and she is firing us all up with her hands on, analogue approach to design, and encouraging the whole team to follow. I personally dislike the saying “age is just a number” but it actually is, experience doesn’t always equate to talent, our young team are full of ideas and are a testament to our company.

Finally, Anthony Burrill discussed his motivation for his work “I think it is about keeping yourself interested and thinking, what do I want to do next? My main motivation is, is it going to be fun? Will I meet new people and go to new places?” I couldn’t agree more, if you don’t love or enjoy what you are doing then you 100% won’t do it justice.

This is exactly why we go to events like this, not only to inspire the team but as cheesy as it sounds… have a little fun as a team! And of course, doing so whilst listening to successful, engaging speakers.  Hopefully one day a member our team will be up there, doing us all proud. It was definitely aspirational for me!