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High hopes for graphic design-led Christchurch fundraiser

From wristbands to t-shirts, concerts to text donations, there’s been a bunch of generous and creative fundraising initiatives in the wake of the Christchurch earthquake. But a project led by Christchurch graphic design company Ratio is only just coming into the light. 

Creative director at Ratio, Peter Oxley, says in the flood of fundraising initiatives he spotted a gap for something that could be deemed more of a collectors item. With a background in graphic design and a particular penchant for typography, Oxley, together with the team at Ratio, went about designing high quality posters which would feature graphic design and production values at their core. The result is something Oxley describes as  “a work of total design”— 500 hand numbered limited edition A1 posters called ‘United We Stand’

Ratio offers the following commentary on the design intricacy: 

The poster has a memorable typographic approach simplifying New Zealand cities, city boroughs, major towns and certain geographical points all as Capital letters. They stand up and touch as one intricately aligned and linked unit in bold ‘All Black’ letterforms contrasting starkly with the crisp white paper for maximum impact. Christchurch is the focus as the only one in red and highlighted in a spot varnish. Obviously a little artistic license has been used in selecting which cities, boroughs and towns were included, some like Fjordland are there as well known points that fill a critical gap in the map. The capitals reduce in point size a number of times from the main three cities and try to visually align places of similar size and importance. The choice of just one typeface Helvetica Neue Bold was purely to remove emotion from the information displayed and focus on the idea behind the piece – namely to instill unity and action in a utilitarian voice.

The posters are printed on recycled paper in two spot PMS colours and one spot varnish. Each poster is contained within a delivery tube which helps to reinforce the idea of the title United We Stand. When grouped standing together the tubes create their own message of unity and standing proud to take on the challenges together. 

“The idea developed quite naturally,” says Oxley, though he admits creating something high quality took time and was a challenge, particularly when it came to sourcing sponsorship. 

With 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Red Cross Christchurch Earthquake Appeal, Ratio had to source all labour and resources for the project free of charge. Luckily, it didn’t have to look much further than businesses within the Christchurch community. With the design, delivery, packaging, collation, media and website for the posters carried out in-house by Ratio,  Spices Paper of Christchurch came on board to provide the paper on which the posters are printed. The print work was donated by Spectrum Print of Christchurch, meanwhile the tubes were donated by Southcore Limited of Christchurch. And last but not least, the application of the tube wraps was sponsored late in the day by Henkel Sellotape and the final packaging of the tubes came courtesy of Kilmarnock Enterprises of Christchurch. 

Oxley says all the businesses that contributed to the project showed generous spirit, particularly when so many of them are themselves struggling to recover. 

At $100 a pop, Oxley is hopeful 50k can be raised from the poster sales.