Changes Start with... THE SPARK "at the heart of the alternative west country"


Andy Ballard






• How long have you been involved with The Spark?
Not long, since the summer.

• What's your role at The Spark?
It's still evolving really. I was taken on to design ads for advertisers in The Spark. At times it's pretty straightforward, as some people have a good idea of what they want - at other times it can be interesting when people don't really know what they want and coming up with something that hits the mark, that's always rewarding when it happens. As a trained Graphic Designer with a heap of experience I've been trying to bring new layout ideas to the mag which I hope will start to evolve in a new direction to reflect the quality of the writing.

• What are your particular interests/strengths/focus?
For a bloke that spends nearly all my working hours in an office I love being outside! In the warmer months I like hurling myself into rivers and lakes for a swim, and into the sea for a snorkel when I can get to it. I'm partial to a spot of fishing and love to while away an afternoon on the riverbank, if I catch something, great, if I can eat it, even better. I like the occasional forage and am mindful about what I eat, preferring to cook with seasonal local ingredients. I have a green finger or two, and take great pride in rustling up something to eat from something that I've grown.

• When I say I work at The Spark people say...
"Oh, that's that right-on tree huggers mag ain't it?" Yeah, that's right, been to Westonbirt lately?

• Something that might surprise you about my job is...
That it only takes up a couple of days a week, more when the print deadline approaches.

• Something that might surprise you about The Spark is...
We all hunker down together for a spot of lunch around the table next door -  mung beans & houmous of course!

• I know its been a good day when...
My ad boxes are empty, and someone in the room says: "ooh, that's nice... I like that"

• The thing I'm most proud of is...
Probably travel related. I once crossed the Nullabor Plain in Australia by bicycle; a long stretch of desert separating the west of oz from the east. A spiritual journey as well as a very physical one, which kicked off my love affair with that country.

• Before I worked for The Spark I...
Lived in Perth, Western Australia for 7 years.

• When I'm not working at/for The Spark I...
Ply my trade elsewhere, working as a freelance designer. I love taking landscape photographs and pics of anything in nature.
I also strum my Uke and will be more so now that the evenings are longer.

• What I like about working for The Spark is...
I can feel good about the work I'm producing for the magazine - there's an ethical ‘feel good’ slant to much of the content.
I can go home at night feeling I've contributed something positive to someone's life somewhere.
It doesn't feel like a regular job at all, the people are a great bunch, and generally it's a top place to work, the Spark canteen ain't that bad either!

• How would your colleagues describe you?
'The outdoor guy that does well indoors!’

• If people are interested in my design skills they can contact me here: