Name: Mark Setchfield
Age: Stage age 34, real age 43
Job Title: Art editor, Friday magazine
When did you arrive in the UAE?
I moved to Dubai from London on December 18,2013, so still pretty new to the city. I landed, got to my hotel in the early hours, and started work the same day.
Where did you work prior?
I was freelance for the year prior to my move. I’ve worked at various titles including Grazia UK and I worked at Heat over the summer covering for the Art Director and working on the redesign. I’ve also worked at the Daily Mail as well as working on the ipad edition, creating the digital versions of the paper and supplements. I have designed websites for clients including my own food site, gasmarksix.net.
What were your first impressions of the media industry in the Middle East?
My first impression was the lack of digital media. All the major UK publishers have invested heavily in non-print media, and for the last three months I was in London I didn’t work on print at all, just online and digital. So I think the UAE’s media companies have some catching up to do, but it’s a very exciting time and I think the region has a lot of potential.
Tell us about your new role…
My new role at Friday is working with a fairly small team, art directing and designing the magazine. I’m happily working with my previous Editor Karen Pasquali Jones, who I launched love it! magazine with in the UK. Karen brought me over to revamp Friday and we have made some initial changes, but are planning for a huge revamp and re-launch this spring, so watch this space!
How do you plan to make your mark?
I think I can definitely make a mark with a fresh new design and stronger, slicker photography. By introducing better working practices and showcasing the skills I’ve acquired from working in the UK industry for over twenty years, I think this will help to keep the magazine top of the market.
What do you think of the quality of media publications in the region?
I think overall the titles in the UAE are of a great quality. I know the region has a very diverse culture and circulation can be limited, but I am looking forward to seeing more international brands launching.
How has magazine design changed over recent years?
Magazine design has changed dramatically, certainly in the last three or four years. The advance in technology means that a lot of work that was previously outsourced is now part of the page production process, and with new technology it’s easy to do cut-outs, colour correction and retouching as a page is designed. A lot of companies in the UK have switched over to sharing publishing systems, which makes the repro side of the job redundant.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
It’s never the same. I love being able to be creative working on a serious reportage feature one minute, to art directing shots with babies, to setting up still life shoots!
Describe yourself in five words…
Cook, geek (well a little bit), smiler, sun lover, great dancer.
What’s your most overused saying?
‘I’ve forgotten more than you know!’
Five things you can’t live without?
Shoes, trainers, gym, iPad, my family.
If you weren’t an Art Editor, what would you be?
A cake chef!