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Designing For Good: feat. The Bard Collective

As part of our Design For Good initiative, we aim to shine a light on how creative innovation can be a driver for positive change and to raise awareness of the people and teams making it happen.

Our Creative recruitment team recently attended Creativity for Good, a meetup where speakers explored how we – and they – can change the world for the better as they share their stories, work and hopes for the future.

Off the back of this, we’d like to feature Mark Halliwell, Creative at The Bard Collective whose talk focused on deconstructing the idea of creativity/storytelling as inherently good, and instead, question who the responsibility falls to when using its power.

ADLIB: In a nutshell, what has been your career journey, leading you to where you are right now?

Mark: It’s been a whirlwind, to be honest, I started out being lucky enough to intern at some great studios after university and learnt some vital lessons early on. I spent a year or so in a small creative team up north and then made the move to join a more digital-focused role.

After about a year the creative team was split into its own agency which became The Bard Collective.

ADLIB: Who are The Bard Collective and what makes your business offering unique?

Mark: We are an agency focused on being better and doing good and we help businesses grow ethically and responsibly through the use of social media as a marketing tool.

ADLIB: Let’s start with “how” – from your perspective, how does emotional design help make a change for specific causes?

Mark: Using emotion to connect with people isn’t a new concept and neither is using it to gain an advantage over others. Emotional design is incredibly powerful and it is used by pretty much every brand out there at the moment, with some finding more success than others. If you look at the most memorable campaigns in recent years—Nike’s Colin Kaepernick campaign, Lacosté’s Save Our Species, Greenpeace Save Rang-tan—the success speaks for itself.

Don’t be fooled though, ‘Emotional design’ is not inherently good and many brands use it to their advantage despite being “the top global contributor of plastic waste for two consecutive years” cough Coca-Cola cough.

I think we also forget that ‘emotional design’ goes beyond tugging at our heartstrings and that we have a much wider range of emotions which connect us with each other. In some cases, ‘emotional design’ works because it makes us dream, and in others, it’s because we feel part of a certain social group.

The most important thing to remember is that ‘emotional design’ is an incredibly powerful tool that can be used for good, or bad, and everything in between.

ADLIB: What has been the key thing you’ve learned about designing for good specifically?

Mark: I would say the most important lesson I’ve learnt so far is that I am responsible for the work I create. That means I take ownership of the responsibility and raise concerns if something doesn’t feel right.

In my view, this responsibility is incredibly empowering and isn’t just limited to designers. I believe we are all responsible as creators, clients and consumers.

ADLIB: And finally, do you have one piece of wisdom for aspiring designers that would like to use their talents to design for good?

Mark: Go out there and f**king own it; be the one who challenges others and push them to be better. It might start with a small step, and it certainly won’t happen overnight, but the world (and you) will be better for it.

As part of our Design For Good initiative, we hope to make a real impact. If ‘designing for good’ is also something you are involved in please do get in touch – we’d love to chat through how we could work together and lead by example.