I’ve volunteered professionally for the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand for over 7 years now. While a large part of my work has been driving the expat vote from the UK (read more here), being on the Fundraising & Marketing Committee, both while in NZ and remotely from the UK, has given me quite an input into the brand itself. The most recent and most visible sign of this has been bringing a fresh approach and agency-style thinking to merchandise.
Although it has had its moments, typically Green Party ‘merch’ over the years has mostly been a default of slapping the logo onto bog-standard items like T shirts. To engage members and the wider public supporters (who often don’t want to be just a walking billboard), I knew we could do better.
Every item in the 2019 range has relevance, usefulness, and originality, as well as a step up in design thinking.
I commissioned, briefed and art-directed Wellington illustrators Kemi & Niko to create a design that has a genuine ethos, but is flexible to work across different items with different printing restrictions. Each of the illustrated objects has a connection not just to New Zealand, but to Green values like clean energy and better public transport.
There’s so much that can be accomplished from 22,000km away. Artworking the files for suppliers, briefing a local photographer, and just as importantly, collaborating with other members of the FunMark committee on a social media campaign, and an overhaul of the online store – switching from a clunky embedded format on the Drupal-based Greens site, to its best Shopify glory.
As a side project to this main merchandise design project, I have been really pleased to create a new cross-brand collaboration. In 2016 I helped the Greens partner with Peoples Coffee to launch The Green Party Blend. In 2018 it occurred to me – we’re the Green Party, why don’t we have a Green Tea? So again from my desk in Brighton I connected with another ethical NZ brand, Ritual Tea Co., and launched The Green Green Tea (the product of no small amount of product name thinking!)
Although working remotely and the limitations of NZ printers and suppliers compared to the UK had its frustrations, this has all turned out pretty well. Even before we hit the new year the water bottles had already sold out and other items are really low on stock. So the stage is set for not only another run but using the illustration in fresh new ways, on fresh new items.