Six reasons why creatives love Manchester

Manchester is a city of 2.5 million famed for its industrial architecture, world-class sport, infamous music scene and somewhat predictable weather. Home to our Manchester Shillington campus, we find this city a hub of culture, creativity and design inspiration. We’ve enlisted our teachers to share their local expertise. Here are six reasons why creatives love Manchester:

1. The Location Opportunities

Outside of London, this is the best location in the UK for design jobs and opportunities. It is ideally located between Liverpool and Leeds in what is known as the Northern Design Triangle, offering access to heaps more studios, exhibitions and cultural events. From Media City in Salford to the Northern Quarter boutiques, the whole spectrum of design has opened up here and the creative network is brimming with ideas.

2. The Architecture

From beautiful red brick factories and mills to modern and shiny skyscrapers Manchester’s architecture is both iconic and diverse. This city is the master of converting and repurposing stunning old buildings, reviving new areas and is brimming with inspiring street art, typography and super graphics—you just have to look up to see it all around you.

3. The Fashion

The city that brought us ‘Madchester’ style is still home to some of the best vintage shops and boutiques—Oi Polloi in particular sells a range of independent brands. Many Mancunians pride themselves on their style, and many others couldn’t care less what someone might think of their outrageous dress sense. Creative freedom reigns.

4. The Music

There is a huge passion for music in Manchester, which goes hand in hand with creativity. As well as the legacy of Factory Records and the Haçienda, the city is still home to some of the best and biggest live music venues you could wish for. From the edgy bars like the Night and Day café to the Hallé Orchestra based at the Bridgewater Hall, the impact of Manchester music culture continues to make its mark on the design world in a big way.

5. The Drink

By which we mean two things. The first being booze—whether it’s cocktails from Manchester’s infamous nightlife or fine beers from local breweries, drinking here is lively, sociable and cheap! New bar PLY in the Northern Quarter offers drinks and pizza within an art exhibition space, encouraging work and play with regularly changing artists and a doodle wall.

Just as important is coffee—with some excellent local and artisan cafes dotted all over the city. We get our fix at The Foundation Coffee House, a lovely space right by the campus and host of our upcoming Shillington Graduate Exhibition on Thursday, 23rd July 2015.

6. The Resources

The Special Collections at Manchester School of Art Library and John Rylands Library are second to none where both the books and the beautiful surroundings brim with inspiration. You can access everything you never knew you needed from arts supplies haven Fred Aldous, or check out the Craft and Design Centre, Hot Bed Press, Islington Mill and Fab Lab to name but a few creative homes for design here in Manchester.

Do you want to learn more about the world of design in Manchester? Kickstart your creative career in 3 months full-time or 9 months part-time with Shillington. Get all the details at

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock

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