Design Manchester & DM Festivals



festivals to date


attendees in 2018


events in 2018


Design Manchester is the not-for-profit cultural organisation that runs the DM series of festivals. Now in its 7th year, DM is Manchester’s city wide festival of creativity and design, celebrating the noise makers, the pioneers and the inspiring creators, the unapologetically smart and funny, the humble and inspiring, the ones with the business upfront and the party at the back.

The world class, nationally recognised ten day festival culminates in a day-long conference of ideas and inspiration at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall, featuring internationally celebrated and influential speakers showing an insight into their creative work spanning brand, architecture, film, typography and much more.

Design Manchester 6

What we do

With Sundae MD Fiona McGarva as festival director for the DM series of events, we have delivered production and publicity for six large-scale city-wide festivals to date. 

Over the past six years, we’ve built a strong public and professional profile for both DM and Design Manchester, working closely with national, regional and specialist media, with impactful coverage that drives ticket sales and footfall. We also manage Design Manchester’s social channels throughout the festival season, building audience and producing a campaign that is knowledgeable and informative.

We have developed long-lasting relationships with key press that build year-on-year, Creative Review’s Patrick Burgoyne hosts our conference each year and it is attended by Design Week, Computer Arts, Manchester Evening News among many each year. In 2016 Creative Review included a print and online feature on How to Build a Festival, interviewing Festival Director Fiona McGarva and co-Creative Director John Owens.

Showcasing talented Manchester creatives, and emerging talent, is a priority, supporting them in building a public profile, whilst promoting the development of the essential creative community in Manchester, including interaction between students and practitioners and a key example was Portrait Youth, an exhibition from the Manchester Fashion Institute and the Manchester Youth Council.

The management of key partnerships is at the heart of this, and to date we have worked with Manchester City Council, adidas SPEZIAL, Manchester Fashion Institute, the Co-op Group, the Manchester Science Festival,  the Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation, Hermés, Bee in the City, the Manchester Print Fair, Bench, and many more.

High profile speakers and artists in 2018’s festival included Patrick Thomas, Morag Myerscough, Kaye Dunnings (Glastonbury’s Shangri-La), Alice Rawsthorn, Alan Kitching, Kate Dawkins, Liza Enebeis (Studio Dumbar), Ben Wright (DesignStudio), Anthony Burrill, Helen Storey, Michael Wolff, Matt Ipcar and Aleesha Nandhra.

Sundae also lends its film expertise to the festival, and a film season, curated by Sir Christopher Frayling alongside Fiona McGarva and Malcolm Garrett, in partnership with HOME and Bradford’s Widescreen Weekend, has been part of the last three events.

(Image credits: Sebastian Matthes, Jody Hartley)


Design Manchester was founded in 2013 and has since become one of the biggest creative events north of the M25.

Rachael Steven - Creative Review

DM18 is set to inspire thousands of creatives and professionals throughout this year’s edition and beyond.

Amelie Jones - We Heart



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