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All Posts in Manchester

November 15, 2017 - No Comments!

JW Lees Brewery – Rebrand

A full case study to come once everything has fully launched, but in the mean time it was a real pleasure to work on the rebrand and redesign of the JW Lees Brewery portfolio of beers whilst freelancing at Manchester agency Squad.

Working alongside Squad Creative Director David Barraclough, with Manchunian master typographer Daren Newman we created a suite of beers that each tell their own story in a different way and brings them right up-to-date, whilst still retaining an element JW Lees heritage.

It was a great project to be involved with and I look forward to sharing more of the project once its fully out in the wild.

August 1, 2017 - No Comments!

I’m freelance and available for hire!

So after; two enjoyable years at LOVE, two years before that leading the JD Sports digital creative team, three fantastic years at advertising agency TBWA and four years before that working in various small studios, I am now available to hire directly for all your graphic design, art direction, brand and digital design needs.

If you would like to get in touch to discuss a potential project all my contact details can be found here, I would love to hear from you!

May 11, 2017 - No Comments!

The Roses Creative Awards 2017

Following on from the previous weeks D&AD wins, I attended the Roses Creative Awards ceremony where the Jacamo brand book scooped three more awards.

Gold award in “Corporate / Promotional Literature".
Silver award in “Typography”.
Gold award in “Illustration”.

Shout out to Peruvian based British illustrator Bloodsausage.

I should probably get the work into a case study and put it on my site, in the mean time check it out here.

May 19, 2015 - No Comments!

Manchester After Hours

Manchester After Hours is the rainy city’s take on the national, annual Museums at Night celebrations: for one night only, museums, galleries and libraries stay open late for some creative goings on - with nearly everything free to attend.

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First up was the Unit X exhibition at Federation House. Unit X took over Federation House for its annual showcase of emerging talent from Manchester School of Art. Film, art, design and photography come together in exhibitions and installations throughout the building.

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Manchester After Dark

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After a pit stop in Trof for a cheeky pint (the free bar ran out in Federatin House just as we got to the front of the queue), we bumped into the choir and brass band which were touring the Northern Quarter playing and singing to whoever was passing by.

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Next stop was Fred Aldous which was hosting an evening of FREE creative collaboration including; live painting, photobooth mugshots and a Risograph zine workshop.

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Up next was a visit to the roof terrace above Manchester creative agency, Music, where they were playing a few tunes whilst offering up good views back over Stevenson Square and the Northern Quarter.

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Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetA crowd gathering around the brass band below.

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It was getting cold now, so we headed down to Ply below for a little break and to kill some time before heading over to the NCP car park in the centre of the Northern Quarter for our final event of the evening.

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A-top of the NCP multi-storey car park on Church Street, musicians, choirs, street performers and brass bands deliver a pumping finale to the Northern Quarter’s proceedings. As the pictures and videos below show, it was a great way to end the evening with everyone getting involved in the carnival atmosphere.

Manchester After Dark

March 21, 2015 - No Comments!

the Whitworth

The Whitworth, Manchester's gallery in the park, has just reopened after a £15 million renovation and expansion. Having never been before I had been wanting to check it out since the re-opening, and its well worth a visit. There's good mixture of exhibitions from photography, portraits, sculpture and art, with the exhibition spaces also adding their own character to the displays.

The park location is great, especially on a sunny day like day. Whether you're inside and catching glimpses of green out side or outside where the new glass extension cantilevers into the park.

My highlights were: The 1960s: Works by Peter Blake, Bridget Riley and others reveal the riotous colour, fashion and art of the era and Cornelia Parker's solo show. Cai Guo-Qiang, Unmanned Nature looked interesting, but there was a big queue so I just poked my head round the corner for that. Also worth noting is the 'War Room', a large space lined with the left over cutting sheets from the production of memorial poppy's.




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March 20, 2015 - No Comments!

Eclipse 2015

Today in the UK we witnessed a rare astronomical occurance, a solar eclipse. A solar eclipse is where the moon moves in between the earth and the sun, blocking out the sun's light for a short period of time.

Its really impressive to witness, and is one of the only times you get a sense of being apart of system of moving rocks in space, and just how small we are.

The eclipse reached at around 83% coverage in the UK, with only two places on earth getting a full 100% coverage.

The next solar eclipse in the UK won't be until 2026.

November 4, 2014 - No Comments!

Behance Portfolio Reviews, Manchester

Behance Portfolio Review week, is global event happening in hundreds of towns and cities across the world organised on behalf of the online portfolio service now owned by Adobe. Last night was the Manchester event, and Jonny Evans at Degree53, who was hosting the night was good enough to ask me to help out and take one of the feedback sessions.


The night started off with a talk from Brendan Dawes, which took us through his work and general search for serendipity (and chaos). Brendan’s work has been featured in numerous journals including idN, Creative Review, MacUser, Computer Arts, Create, Wired, Eye, The Guardian, The Times, Communications Arts and was interviewed by Computer Arts in December 2008 for their "Design Icon" series.

Behance Portfolio Review, Manchester. November 2014. Behance Portfolio Review, Manchester. November 2014.

The whole group then split into groups 8 or 9 groups for the portfolio reviews. I lead one group, and it was an enjoyable experience. I was impressed with some of the work on display and it was great to meet so many people passionate about design, illustration and photography.


I would like to say a big thanks to Jonny at Degree53 for taking the time to organise the event. Hope you don’t mind but I’ve also pinched some of your photos from the night.

For more photos check out the Degree53 facebook page.
Follow Manchester Behance Reviews on Twitter: @BeReviewsManc


Table Hosts:
Mark Stringer, Managing Director at Ahoy Digital (@ahoymark)
David Newton, Creative Director at Ahoy Digital (@LetsNotPretend_)
Simon Vaughan, Exec Creative Director at Amaze (@amazeltd)
Paul Normington, Art Director at Amaze (@Norm_ski)
Jade Sahota, Head of Design at Degree 53 (@jadie0503)
Tash Willcocks, Programme Manager at Hyper Island (@tashwillcocks)
Michael Watson, Creative Director at Project Simply (@projectsimply)

Speaker - Brendan Dawes (@brendandawes)

Host – Jonny Evans (@jonnylikes2rant)

October 30, 2014 - No Comments!

NORTH: The Great Debate

Wednesday 29 October
Manchester School of Art
Benzie Building, Higher Ormond Street, Manchester M15 6BR

Last night I attended, “North: The Great debate”, a discussion between prominent members of the Manchester and UK creative industries as part of the Design Manchester festival at the Stirling Prize shortlisted Benzie building. The debate was chaired by Robert Yates, Assistant Editor of The Observer, with a panel including Sir Richard Leese, the Leader of Manchester City Council; Lou Cordwell, founder and CEO of Magnetic North; Professor David Crow, the Dean and Pro Vice Chancellor of Manchester School of Art; and Caroline Norbury, the CEO of Creative England

It was billed as “Growing by Design: the role of the creative industries in building a northern powerhouse” taking place against the backdrop of a seemingly unstoppable movement towards more devolution between the cities and regions, with the recent publication of One North and the plan by the leaders of Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield; Design Manchester’s Great Debate looked at how the creative industries can stimulate and create a prosperous and successful northern economy.

North: The Great DebateThere was strong discussion with several outspoken members of the audience being vocal in their opinions and whilst others had travelled from across the country to participate. The one area the debate was let down for me was the lack of an opposing voice in the panel with the members being predominantly Manchester based/focused. Although I suppose that is to be expected of a discussion happening in Manchester, with the main topic of conversation being Manchester.

'The cities of the North must have control of their own destinies' - @SirRichardLeese  #northdebate

A recurrent theme was Manchester and its own (and often lack of a) narrative compared with other major hubs such as London. Personally I think Manchester has a pretty strong identity, and although creatively its reputation isn’t as strong globally as London, it however shouldn’t being trying to replicate that and instead play to its own strengths. Not that any of that really matters, for me if those in power want to turn ‘The North’ or Manchester into a globally renowned centre for the creative arts, its not about how to PR the region but rather to create a climate in which creative business want to setup in Manchester and can then operate successfully. This means having great infrastructure and office space at affordable rates to entice more business in, which then in turn creates more jobs and demand for talented individuals.

Further reading: Read Robert Yates’ article in The Observer.

Sponsored by Images&Co
Event partner: Manchester School of Art
Supported by APDIG (All-Party Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group) and Shoosmiths.

June 4, 2013 - No Comments!

BBC Radio Manchester

Yesterday afternoon I received a random request from someone on twitter that I follow them so they could DM, curious for more details I followed away. A couple of DMs followed before I received a phone call from Kirsty at the BBC, wanting to know if I'd be up for being interviewed on the radio about cycling to work.

It turns out the tweet she found was 14 months old, but nevertheless the next morning at 7:50 is was interviewed for 5 minutes or so on the perils and benefits or cycling verses driving to work.

A bit of random start to the day, but if you want to listen to the show again its on iplayer for the next 7 days:

March 22, 2013 - No Comments!

NVA: Speed of Light

This week I was back in Salford Quays after my recent photography workshop, taking part in NVA's Speed of Light Salford.

Speed of Light was a centrepiece of the Edinburgh International Festival and recently staged an event in Yokohama Japan. The night-time work uses light, intentional movement and sound to change the way we see and feel about a chosen environment.

Speed of Light Salford features one hundred runners in specially commissioned LED light suits will create beautiful, choreographed patterns of light flowing through streets, over bridges and around public spaces and buildings. Free and non-ticketed for the watching audience, it can be seen as a piece of abstract art on the grandest scale: monumental but surprisingly quiet and reflective.

The most important part of taking part as a runner was to maintain an even gap between the participant in front and behind you especially as gaps were extended and reduced on the fly.

March 18, 2013 - No Comments!

Photography Workshop

For Christmas I was given a photography workshop and tour of Salford Quays, which I finally was able to take on Saturday.  It consisted of 2 hours with photographer Dan Tyack, and a small group of other participants, as he took us around Salford Quays and the newly completed Media City. He provided us with some advice on how to take better photos in manual mode by understanding the settings better as well as providing some tips on composition and pointing out some potential shots around the Quays.

As a designer I feel I have a good grasp of composition, but it is always helpful getting tips from experts in their field and getting to discuss different ways of doing things.  As someone who pretty much always shoots in semi-auto mode (AV = Aperture Value or TV = Time Value/Shutter priority), it was helpful in having someone explain whilst being out using the camera how to best manage all the camera controls and settings instead of adjusting one.



















And here are a couple taken on my iPhone 4S & instagram



August 7, 2012 - No Comments!

LomoWall, Manchester.

Over the weekend I happened to wander past the recently installed Manchester LomoWall. I'd been meaning to have a look for a while after submitting some shots a few months ago, and being unable to make the launch party.

I was secretly hoping that I'd been able to sneak a few shots in (as they needed 14000!), but I wasn't holding my breath.  Slowly moving up and down the wall, I was delighted to find 8 or 9 of my own photographs featured and with each one being used multiple times too. Here are some snaps from my iPhone.

Ben Topliss - LomoWall Manchester
Ben Topliss - LomoWall Manchester
Ben Topliss - LomoWall Manchester
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Check out the making of videos.

Billed as the “World’s first permanent LomoWall,” the Lomographic Society’s LomoWall Manchester was unveiled yesterday on Tariff Street. Now open to the public, the LomoWall Manchester is a 30m x 3m long artwork containing 14,000 individual “lomographs.” Alexandra King, Piccadilly Partnership Director said: “This is a new landmark on the Northern Quarter landscape, here in the heart of the Piccadilly Basin.  The LomoWall adds to the street art scene in this part of the city centre and will become a visitor attraction in its own right. We are very proud to host it and to have the world’s first permanent LomoWall is a real honour. It’s a welcome addition to the urban landscape.” Lomography Press Release

David Tester of Lomography Manchester said, ”The theme of water was chosen as it fits in well with the 2012 Canal Festival and also as it reflects the surrounding area of the wall. The photos were generated via our online community and through workshops taking place at Lomography Gallery Store Manchester. Every photo that has been used has been taken in and around Manchester.  We had a great response, as always, from our community”.

I was however disappointed to notice that the wall had already been vandalised in places, with a section of photographs being torn down and another area being graffitti'd.

If you want to go and have a look, free parking is available at the nearby Urban Exchange (Aldi, Go Outdoors, etc) retail development off Great Ancoats Street, or for more information on Lomography visit or check out shop at 20 Oldham Street.

September 29, 2010 - No Comments!

It turns out there is no culture in Manchester on Mondays.

As an empolyee of TBWA\Manchester there is great scheme available where you recieve half a day off once a quarter to go and do some thing cultural. 

This is the story of my Culture Club afternoon. 

With the current quarter ending on Thursday and free slots rapidly dwindling I quickly booked mine for Monday afternoon with the intention of going to see Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's exhibition at the Manchester Art Gallery, however I arrived to find gallery is closed on Mondays.

Annoyed at my lack of preparation, I quickly hot footed it across to the Cube gallery on Portland street, as there is usually some good little exhibitions on there.  Although on Monday it just seemed to be hosting a forum on energy saving from Calor.  I did manage to snap a pictures of the seemingly only piece of work being displayed.

So after these two disasters, I made a beeline for the Cornerhouse, but alas their 3 galleries were also closed (for changeover this time).  All that was left to do was to take stock with a tasty beverage in the Cornerhouse's fine cafe/bar.  At this point I recieved a phone call from Matt Cook, who was also on his Culture Club afternoon and suffering a similar fate to myself.  After doing exactly the same route, he was now in the Northern Quarter finding the galleries closed there too. 

Do people really not visit galleries on Mondays?


After much deliberation (and some beer), I decided to check out a film at the Cornerhouse.  There was one film on, Enter the Void.  Its got pretty good reviews and I watched a cheeky trailer on my iPhone which looked cool.

I was warned by two separate cinema employees about the use of strobe lighting and flashing effects as well as the threat of motion sickness during the film.  This only made my anticipation of the film grow, however what I wasn't warned about was that the sickness felt by previous viewers of the film probably wasn't caused by the portions of the film shot in the first person, but was probably due to some of the the subject matter. 

Now, this is a good film.  Its shot in a pretty cool way, and uses some interesting and very stylised techniques.  Some of the cut scenes do go on for far too long however, and about halfway through it suddenly becomes the most unexpectidly (porno)graphic film I've seen.  I certainly felt "cultured" by the time I left!

I did also manage to squeeze in a walk through the set of the Hollywood blockbuster "Captain America" being filmed on my doorstep in the Northern Quarter on my way home.  Below are a few snaps taken on my iPhone, for more information, (better) photos and videos on the filming check out this great blog,

Here is a video of the scene where the fire damaged car in my photos is being blown up.


All in all it was a great half day even if it did get off to a slow start, with the culture having to be hunted down.  So next time round and to avoid seeing a man reaching the point of climax from inside a woman, I might just do a bit more preparation.  #cultureclub

May 24, 2010 - No Comments!

BUPA Greater Manchester 10k

So on Sunday 16th May I took part in my first long distance run, the BUPA Great Manchester 10k.  I'd prepared pretty well with plenty of training sessions and I managed to finish bang on my target of 50 minutes.  Although I'm pleased with this result I felt as I crossed the line I could have done shaved a further minute or two off my time after pacing myself a bit too much early on, but we'll put this down to experience and I'll be faster next time!

After being a bit slack with raising any sort of sponsorship I am pleased to confirm that I raised £150 (+ £42.31 gift aid) in just under a week for the Alzheimers Society

Useful links: