Sunday, November 18, 2007

Mark Hadfield - Fairbrand

How old are you?

What’s your occupation and who do you work for?
I’m a planner, and I work for a few people.
I spend most of the week with Liquid Communications – a marketing company - working as an Insight and Inspirations Planner.
I tutor on a weekly basis at St Martins College in London on the MA Design Studies course.
I am also a founding partner in Fairbrand with my business partner Rory Fegan.

How long have been doing this?
All for different lengths – but I’ve always had several things going on.

What is it about your job that makes it ethical?
In all three areas I try and make everything I do a bit better than it was before in an ethical sense. I’m all for the ‘lots of people x little changes = big change’ school of thought but also balanced out with a ‘let’s do something about it!’ urgency I sometimes get!
From the outset Rory and I made a decision to work with ‘unethical’ brands and corporations with the intention of ‘infecting’ them from the bottom up, and for the most part that’s the same in all the other areas I work in. Working only with ‘good’ brands is a bit of a safe choice in my opinion. By working with the ‘unethical’ brands I realise that some would view it as double standards, but I prefer to think of it in a different way. If I’m not working with them and challenging them to change then someone else will be, and they won’t be trying to make them change at all.

What’s the best bit about your job?
It’s a never ending whirlwind of learning new stuff. And I love it. The whole ethical word has changed so much in the past few years that it’s barely recognisable from 10 – even 5 – years ago. I love challenging people, and standing up for my standpoint and understanding other peoples. Of course the whole thing is all about contradictions – I can’t think of any one person or brand that is perfect. But it’s about being better.

What’s the worst thing?
There’s never enough time in the day to do all the stuff I want to do. A bit corny but true – there’s always something else that I want to do but only one of me.

What have the last 12 months been like for you?
Busy, exciting and inspirational.

What were you doing before this?
I worked as an inhouse designer for a small healthcare company, preparing myself for what I’m doing now.

What was your very first full-time job?
See above. I was patient when I left University after my degree in Architecture to get a job that I enjoyed and wanted to work at for a few years. I’m not too keen on the merry-go-round of changing jobs every year or so. It always seems that a lot of time is wasted doing that.

What advice would you give to someone wishing to embark on the same sort of work as you?
Read lots, never pigeonhole yourself and be yourself. Again – very corny but there’s always stuff that you should know, always stuff that you didn’t have time to learn – but learn as much as you can. Don’t pigeonhole the stuff you should know – inspiration and valid contributions can come from a variety of sources. Science, nature, sports, sociology, psychology all have their parts to play.

Have you got any plans for the next 12 months you’d like to share with us?
Just to continue to work with ‘unethical’ brands, better brands and to continue to not only tutor my students but to learn from them also. In a years time I want to be more than 12 months better than I am now.

What do you do to relax?
Spend time with my wife, watch DVDs, eat nice food and watch Newcastle United. Although that’s more stressful than relaxing…

Who do you live with?
My wife.

Whereabouts do you live?
South East London.

If you were Prime Minister, what’s the very first thing you would do?
Ban the Daily Mail. Stop calling McDonald’s food (it’s not – it’s matter). Fundamentally change the educational system from an ‘transactional conveyor belt us and them’ relationship into a collective of interesting, important people that can all make valid contributions.

As cheap and easily available oil is expect to run out in the next couple of decades, what do you think will be the predominant form of transport in 2027?
Hopefully walking.

Have you got any guilty carbon secrets?
Yep… don’t we all?

What have you done that you were most proud of?
That’s a difficult one. I’d like to say too many to remember but it’s probably just my bad memory masking my modesty.

What single issue are you most concerned about in the world at large?
Geographical indifference. If someone who lived next to you was raped, tortured and murdered you would notice it. Yet, because it happens to people who speak a different language a few thousand miles away it’s ok.

Which person in the public eye do you most admire and why?
I wouldn’t like to single people out – there are certainly people that I admire in the same industry as me – but I’d like to tell them first before telling you…

What’s your website address?

What are your three favourite other websites of the moment?
and treehugger of course!

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