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Walls & Pictures Billy Colours

Walls & Pictures: introducing Billy Colours

30th March, 2016

Spring is here, and so is our next instalment of Walls & Pictures! Recently we’ve been working on a few projects that revolve around inspiring young people to get creative, so we thought what better way to celebrate this than feature an artist whose work communicates this message? Enter Billy.

Billy is an English artist working from Berlin and London. Her experience lies in illustration, painting and design, and she has worked on a number of community-based projects. All of Billy’s work is created with the intention of communicating a colourful and happy visual message to its audience. Working both inside and out, Billy’s work can be found in galleries around the UK and Germany, and continues to be seen on the streets of London, Berlin and South Africa, to name but a few.


IWD2016: Celebrating Manchester’s Great Girl Geeks

7th March, 2016

For over a century, Manchester has been home to some of the most pioneering women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine. The STEM timeline is scattered with ground-breaking females with a Manchester connection - from Marie Stopes in 1904 who became a Lecturer in Palaeobotany at the University of Manchester, a post that gave her the accolade of first female academic of the University as well as being best known for her role in developing birth control for women.

500 Words 2016

Getting kids writing with BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words (and other projects!)

18th February, 2016

When Chris Evans shared his idea for a children’s writing competition back in 2010, even he couldn’t have possibly predicted the roaring success 500 Words would become six years on.

The much-loved writing competition asks children under the age of 13 to write an original story in no more than 500 words. Since the first competition, Chris and the BBC Radio 2 team have received stories from nearly half a million children from across the UK. The number of entries has grown year on year and shows no sign of slowing down for 2016, with over 120,000 stories submitted in 2015 alone! 

Design Manchester 2015

Malcolm, Kasper & Design Manchester

17th December, 2015

Design Manchester is an ‘originative week-long festival celebrating creativity, collaboration and inclusivity in art, design, film and music’. The theme for this year’s festival, ‘the how, the what and the why’, brought together a rich programme of talks, workshops, exhibitions, screenings and debates, with a full weekend celebrating the love of print with the Manchester Print Festival at the People’s History Museum.

Two of the key players behind Design Manchester, Malcolm Garrett & Kasper De Graaf, were kind enough to share some thoughts with us…


Introducing ‘Walls & Pictures’: our brand new exhibition series

25th February, 2015

As a digital design agency, we are always searching for artistic inspiration. From internationally renowned masterpieces to student projects, there is incredible work to be discovered around every corner.

Recently, we have been scratching our heads trying to think of a fun way to celebrate the work that inspires us.  Then we had a lightbulb moment: why not create our very own exhibition space right here in the mN studio?

Introducing ‘Walls & Pictures’: a brand new series of exhibitions curated by magneticNorth. Walls & Pictures will run throughout the year, featuring specially selected pieces from our favourite creatives. 

mN Recommends: Connected Digital Economies Catapult Centre

24th November, 2014

Last week Tom and Ian from our new business team were at the newly opened ‘Connected Digital Economies Catapult Centre’ in London. The space opened in early November and is pitched as ‘a national centre to rapidly advance the UK’s best digital ideas’.

As well as attending a number of the seminars we were also invited to showcase our MiGuide project as part of the launch exhibition within the centre’s ‘Innovator Centre’.


mN Recommends: BIMA Digital Day

13th October, 2014

This week Caroline and Nathan from the magnetic North team polished their school shoes and headed to Burnage Academy for Boys to host a ‘Digital Day’ session.  Run by BIMA, Digital Day or D Day for short, is a series of nationwide events that link digital professionals (that’s us by the way) and young people in schools and colleges.

The session involved Caroline and Nathan giving the Year 10 boys an overview of what it is like to work in the industry and the kind of work we do at mN. Following this was a lively practical session around the theme of connected devices and the Internet of Things.

Working alongside the Head of Technology from the school, Caroline and Nathan helped the boys work up ideas for their own connected device services. There were a whole heap of great ideas including one for connected bins that notify the council when they are full and one for an app that alerts you when your front door is unlocked.

It was great to see the enthusiasm that all the pupils had for the challenge and the team left the school impressed by everything they’d seen on the day.

They also got to have a school dinner without a ladle of lumpy custard in sight. Progress hey?


digital rev

mN Recommends: Digital Revolution at The Barbican

4th September, 2014

Over the last few months, quite a few of the team at Magnetic North have been to the Digital Revolution exhibition at The Barbican.

The immersive and interactive exhibition brings together a range of artists, filmmakers, architects, designers, musicians and game developers, all pushing the boundaries of their fields using digital media.

It also looks at the developments in the areas of creative coding and DIY culture and the endless creative possibilities offered by things like wearable tech and 3-D printing.

We spent a good few hours wandering around but our collective highlight has to be the historical computing section at the start of the exhibition – Digital Archaeology.

It looks at the history of the digital revolution, with hardware and projects set out in a timeline. We loved seeing work like Chris Milk's "The Wilderness Downtown" for Arcade Fire and Jonathan Harris’s "We Feel Fine" project alongside the things that many of us grew up with, including The Sims, Gameboys and Game & Watch LCD games like Donkey Kong and Mario Bros (which Magnetic North's Head of New Business Tom says he still has a “boat load of”).

It was fascinating seeing all these familiar digital projects elevated into an exhibition environment and getting the chance to explore the links and influences between them.

Another highlight for many of us was the Creative Spaces section. It explores how visual effects have developed from James Cameron’s The Abyss back in the day through to Tim Webber’s Oscar-winning visual voodoo in Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity. We love to pull things apart and so naturally liked seeing all the elements that made up the final shots.

There is loads to see, touch and play with throughout the exhibition and well worth a visit before it finishes on 14th September.

ladieszzzzzz uxxx

mN recommends: LadiesThatUX

22nd August, 2014

It feels like there is some sort of meet-up or geek-out going on in Manchester every night of the week. The magnetic North team goes to lots of the events and nights that people put on (as well as hosting our own movieNight) and we thought that it was time that we gave a shout out to one of the meet-ups we’ve been really enjoying recently. Step forward LadiesThatUX.

LadiesThatUX are a friendly and collaborative bunch of women who get together once a month to talk about all things UX and life in general. They are open to anyone (even guys if they really want to go along) who is interested in making the world a better place for users – it doesn’t matter whether or not you have UX in your job title.

Started by Lizzie Dyson and Georgie Bottomley in Manchester 12 months ago, they now have ‘chapters’ in over 15 different cities, from Brighton to Barcelona to Boston. And are launching in even more locations over the next few months. 

As part of our recent on-demand garden project, Plot, the group held their August gathering there. They had a picnic to celebrate their 1st birthday party and we were so pleased to be able to be part of the celebrations. We got to eat cake while we had some really interesting conversations around everything from specific UX problems through to bigger questions about design techniques and best practices.

It was a properly lovely afternoon with a great turnout (you can read a full review from Lizzie on their blog) and the sun did what it is supposed to do and shone.

The magnetic North team are looking forward to the next meet-up on 17th September, which will bring with it a new format and new location (Whiskey Jar in the Northern Quarter). You can find more details about that meet-up and meet-ups in other cities via their Twitter.