While there’s no argument that ‘digital is the way forward’ for political communications, I’ve been really excited to receive the paper copies of two magazines I’ve worked on for the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Refreshing a river
Te Awa (māori for ‘The River’) is the Green Party membership magazine. Historically Te Awa had a very, er… “homespun” look. So when the big brand refresh happened in 2017, it was great to see proper grids come in, but after a year or so the format quickly become stale with vast blocks of copy being dumped into the template with no passion or personality. So as part of my role with the FunMark committee, I started working with the editor to find a solution to make the magazine engaging.
After a couple of issues just curating a slightly better cover design and imagery, I was excited to bring Charis Robinson on board, a designer I worked with in Auckland back in 2016-2017. Charis is a rare breed of graphic designer (at least, sadly, seems to be rare these days) bringing a perfect balance of artistic eye, technical craft, and production wisdom. So while back in New Zealand to see family in March, I also took the opportunity to push the project ahead in the way that only face-to-face meetings can do, and the proverbial ball started rolling.
This first relaunch issue was still a challenge; figuring out a more visual approach on zero budget – a mix of unsplash.com, my own personal archive shots, and Charis’ initiative. But it has been a breath of fresh air, picking up praise from many corners, and I can’t stop picking it up and feeling really chuffed.
Next issue (and further evolution) out in a couple of months!
Small ad, big picture
Grey Power is an advocacy organisation for New Zealanders over 50 (although most people I know in their 50s recoil at the implication they belong to that group!) The Greens received a donation to start placing content (display ad and an article) in the Grey Power magazine and raise our profile with this age group, taking back some column inches from the dominance of the other parties.
Being Green, climate change was of course our lead message.
Looking at previous issues (and indeed most of the magazine), it was pretty obvious that an altruistic tone of voice – think of future generations not just your own woes – would certainly stand out. As well as herding the cats of project management, I was chuffed to get permission to use a photo I took of my great-niece, Adaline, back in March (her skeptical expression perfectly suited the vibe!) for the small ad. Meanwhile another remote kiwi green volunteer, based in New York, wrote the article, with a landing page completing the puzzle and giving readers a call to action.
This might be a small bit of content but it was run almost like a micro-campaign, and I’ve been really chuffed and proud to have been part of pushing a big-picture bit of communication at this neglected audience.