Renters United

  • 2018

  • Communication
    Branding and Identity

Commissioned By:

Renters United

Designed In:

New Zealand

Home ownership in New Zealand is at an historic low. Half the population are renters, though rental housing is unhealthy, unaffordable and insecure. Renters United is a grassroots advocacy group fighting for a fair deal. This brand speaks with conviction — from the streets to the corridors of political power.

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  • The brief required a brand and design system that reflected the values of the organisation: openness; unity; urgency; and action. It needed to be versatile — to work on the street to inspire activists and in the corridors of power where it must foot it amongst well resourced and established think tanks, lobby groups and political parties. It needed to be cost-effective to use in print and engaging online. Most importantly, it had to establish “renters” as an identity — to be an anchor for an emerging political force that would bring renters together to fight for a fair deal.

  • The brand identity is compelling and 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, centred 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.

  • Since its inception, Renters United has established — for the first time — a coherent identity for renters, one with a clear appeal to renters themselves. This is reflected in both the visibility and confidence of renters in the media, supported by the brand. Alongside this, the organisation has grown and evolved rapidly, building from small group of grassroots activists to a powerful collective voice for renters across New Zealand. The brand identity has scaled beautifully, adapting to unique applications such as gig, fundraiser and awareness posters, and high-level political reports — all the while remaining consistent and human-centred.

  • Renters United is run by renters themselves not by marketing or design experts; there is no creative department to call on. The brand 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: finally giving renters a powerful voice which politicians can no longer ignore. For example, 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. 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. This is the perfect mix — brand design and people power having a social impact.