Renters United

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  • 2018

  • Social Impact

Designed By:

  • Chrometoaster
  • Robert Whitaker
  • Aaron McKirdy
  • Renee Pearson
  • George Frost, Bas van Lunteren, Dan West

Commissioned By:

Renters United

Designed In:

New Zealand

Home ownership in New Zealand is at an historic low and half the population are renters. But rental housing is unhealthy, unaffordable and insecure. Renters United used a challenging, grassroots, flexible and open source design system to put the politicians on notice and delivered real change for all renters.


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  • The brief required a brand and design system that was versatile, unifying, honest and inspirational. The brand needed to work on the street to inspire activists and the public and in the corridors of power. It needed to be cost-effective to use in print and engaging online. Most importantly, it had to address a massive deficit — the voice of tenants was totally absent from all public discussion about the worsening housing crisis and an out of control rental market. It needed to establish ‘renters’ as an identity — to bring all renters together to fight for a fair deal.

  • We began with the name. At the time, the only representation of tenants in the media was as villains in a low-brow reality TV show: “Renters”. So we reclaimed “renters” and used it with a clear statement of unity and action. Together, these concepts became “Renters United!” We created a direct, open source and versatile brand with guidelines so straightforward they could be used consistently with integrity and impact by anyone in the activist network. Over time we supported Renters United to evolve and apply the brand to a huge range of applications: events; reports; social media and merchandise.

  • Renters United has gained immediate traction in the media and with the public. The quality of the identity design allowed Renters United to punch well above its weight, making politicians pay attention to renters for the first time. *The Peoples Review of Renting* signalled a seismic shift in the political landscape. All parties offered policies for reform in the 2017 General Election and the three parties that won have already begun — starting with the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act late last year. Further substantial reforms are promised for 2018. Renters now have a powerful voice and it’s not going away.

  • The influence of the organisation and it’s brand can be further seen in the first few months of 2018. Renters United now cemented as the key voice of renters in the media. The new Government proactively engaging with the organisation as it prepares major reforms of all aspects of the renting system: new quality standards; improved security of tenure; regulation of landlords and property managers; and significant interventions in the housing market designed to address affordability. The brand identity is compelling simple. Ideal for quick turnaround, low-cost leaflets and posters, it can also be dressed-up for high impact formal reports, such as the People’s Review of Renting. It includes: * A versatile logo influenced by activist stencils; protest signs; building structures whilst incorporating Swiss-style formality. * A typographic system based around the open-source Cooper Hewitt font family. * A basic colour palette, centered around the identifiable pale yellow primary brand colour from a readily available copier paper. * Sombre building and sky photography for professional communications, digital-native and human-centric imagery for direct engagement.