This Fresh From The Field by Liam Ooi features the digital and publication design for the Mate Act Now poster protest initiative. Pre-Orders for the Mate Act Now book have closed the edition is in production and there are just 100 copies of this important publication available. (Act quickly to secure yours now!)
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In response to the 2019/20 Australian bushfires, and recontextualised by the global outbreak of COVID-19, MATE ACT NOW is a co-ordinated response of over 130 designers from some of the world’s top creative studios to drive climate action.
Chris approached me to design a limited edition publication to showcase some of the best submissions, raising funds for Red Cross Disaster Relief Australia. As this was a digital protest I wanted to help with this as well, so I connected Chris with New Territory Studio to build a new website.
The Design Response:
It was a super tight turnaround — Paul needed at least 1–2 weeks to build the site — and I was only brought on board two weeks before launch (Earth Day). This left only a few days to get the website design ready for code. The publication had more lead time due to lockdown printing restrictions (as well as the expected late submissions). We at least needed the core design in place to generate Photoshop mock-ups for driving pre-orders.
Things were kept pretty simple: a single typeface in a single weight, and a predominantly black and white colour palette. Chris’s brief was pretty open (‘just do whatever you want’), so some self-imposed limitations made things easier. I’d been wanting to use Phil Baber’s Maria typeface for a while, and it felt right in my concept sketches — a nice neo-grotesque with a bit of lo-fi edge. It’s generally used at pretty large point sizes. Phil kindly donated the typeface to us.
We didn’t want the design to distract from the submissions, so there weren’t really any other graphic elements to the design. It’s just pure typography and layouts. We had a bit of fun with the website, adding a ‘crisis mode’ that kicks in if there’s no cursor activity after a certain time period. From this, I felt comfortable adding the odd red highlight across the other assets.
Otherwise, a lot of the work was in clearly defining the project’s purpose through language and tone. Kevin Finn (TheSumOf) had a great chat with Chris and gave us this line ‘Actions speak louder than posters’. It really hit the nail on the head.
The production values:
BJ Ball Papers NZ and Spectrum Print kindly came on board to bring the publication to life.
Initially we looked at a black cover, but were quite attracted to the Evergreen Environment range. The range had some lovely flecked, earthy tones. Using eco-friendly stocks was obviously incredibly important too! The introductory pages are printed on Eco100, with Maine Recycled Gloss for the poster sections. We wanted to keep the finishing simple, humble, and inexpensive — so a classic PUR bind was the best option. White ink on a specialty cover stock was enough to make the book considered and crafted, without being over the top.
A huge thanks to everyone who helped realise Mate Act Now. This wouldn’t have been possible without their generous donation of time and resource.