Street Fair Graphic Design

The artwork promoting Glebe Street Fair and Newtown Festival are both standouts.

They make good case studies of what to do when you need to design something with a large amount of information.

Newtown Festival Newtown Festival artwork

The designer of this event has been given a lot of information to include on a simple promotional poster.

We have:

  • Festival name
  • Organiser (Newtown Neighbourhood Centre Inc)
  • Key attractions (writers tent; market stalls; kids zone; dog show; live music)
  • Entry by gold coin donation
  • Sponsor logos

It could easily have been a mess. Instead, the designer has used a centred, vintage carnivalesque design with a simple colour palette of earthy and burnt orange, and a soft mint green as the highlight colour. The desaturated colours give the appropriate vintage look, which appeals to the local population.

The flags also communicate community, backyard, and low-key.

The featured image is the bicycle – a style popular in Newtown.

Through the use of layers, the designer has added the symbols of marquees and trees in orange with about 50 per cent opacity behind the bicycle.

All the logos, which need a solid colour background, have been placed at the bottom on the green park.

The use of th oval shaped park also adds visual interest. As does the green hanging pendant in the bottom layer. Do you see the white arrow the negative space makes above the bicycle?

If you looked at the bicycle first (I did), you then see an arrow indicating where to look next (the name of the event at the top).

Whether you notice them as a viewer or not is unimportant. The design subconsciously leads the eye to the important information.

Kudos to the designer, very nice job.

Glebe St Fair

Just like the Newtown Festival, Glebe St Fair designer has given a tonne of information to include in the poster design.

Glebe Street FairInstead of chunky boxes everywhere, they have used a sky theme and a retro design. Again, a simple colour pallette of blue and black makes it a very elegant design piece.

It has made the simple banner box ‘Glebe St Fair’ an oddly shaped rhombus, which draws attention. The clouds creeping over the borders also break up the consistency of the rectangle, making it more noticeable.

The blue bird sitting up top on the word Fair might encourage Tweeting but also conveys that this is a community fair, involving everyone.

The web address and ’34 years’ are communicated through the vintage plane’s ribbon sky trail. The plane becomes part of the design, flying over towards the signpost that indicates all the selling points of the fair.

 Event Design Lessons

  1.  Decide on a theme that helps convey the spirit of the event. Use elements of the theme to add visual interest as well as showcase important features.
  2. Stick with a simple colour palette.
  3. Be aware of where the eye will lead. Lines can guide the viewer where to look.
  4. Put logos on a solid background (e.g. black, white, or another colour). Gradients and changing tones will contravene most logo style guides.
  5. Use layers so that the artwork looks more dimensionally, rather than flat.
  6. Trust your intuition.


I recently had a chance encounter with a group of Chinese students from Shanghai studying English in Sydney.

I asked them what their favourite Australian brand was.

I expected them to say Weetbix or Cricket Australia. Vegemite, even the ABC, perhaps.

“Yoojiji,” was the answer I received.



The entire group agreed. Yoojeejee was the class’s favourite Australian brand in China.

There must have been some confusion. How can the favourite Australian brand be one I have never even heard of.

“That sounds Japanese,” I said.  “Are you sure it’s Australian?”

“Very famous Australian brand. Yoojiji!”

I felt like an idiot for a moment. Then, duh. U.G.G.

The humble Ugg boot is known as an acronym.

UGG is renowned for its very high quality. China loves Australian wool.

Cultural cringe aside, UGG has done well to position itself as a quality Australian brand in a highly quality conscious Chinese market. And the Australian branding of the Pitt Street, Sydney store seems to reflect those brand attributes and appeals to the Chinese tourist market.

Getting to Zero: Coca-Cola & AIDS

As you probably know, Coca-Cola has a product named Zero that’s heavily promoted around the world.

‘Getting to Zero’ is the strategy made by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

The vision is: Zero new infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths.

In my mind, Coca-Cola scored a victory with this one.

Whether this decision was made with Coke in mind or not isn’t clear. But let’s remember, Coke is the world’s number one brand. It has deep pockets and its needs to activate and reactivate the brand are endless.

World AIDS Campaign Africa Director, Linda Mafu, says,

“The potential for creative, connected and meaningful campaigning is really exciting.”

This is why I think it’s a good fit.

Youth and Music

Coke’s target audience is young people.  It is a youth brand. Generations come and go, but Coke always targets young people.

Why not middle-aged drinkers or kids? It’s well known that if you can capture a market young, you stand a good chance of retaining that loyalty for a long time. A child consumer becomes an adult consumer. There’s no need to target the other generations. f you make it relevant for young people, it’s always relevant.

Coke has long used the power of music to add emotion to its brand.

They say that the music you love as a teenager stays with you as music you love for the rest of your life. Something to do with the body’s hormones and first sexual experiences that I won’t go into.

Here, Coke is inviting the world to share the “sound of an AIDS-free generation.”

By using music, Coke says it aims to target teenagers with this campaign. Music is powerful. Everyone would have felt music’s visceral ability to lift a heart, churn a gut, evoke a tear.

As such, the Coke AIDS campaign has used a William Orbit remix of Queen to seed the new vanguard.

Social Marketing

Coke is smartly tapping into all the emotion, struggle, celebrity and profile of this disease, in much the same way as beer or fast food brands tap into similar attributes of sports competitions.
And if anyone likes a social cause, it’s the millennials. That means high shareability.

The strategy states in its foreward that the fight against HIV “serves as a beacon of global solidarity.”

It also wins on the ‘global’ criteria for a Coke sponsorship.

Brand War

In 2012, Coca-Cola enlisted as a partner of the (RED) campaign, together with other brands such as Nike, Girl, Bank of America, American Express and Converse.

The campaign’s tagline is “Fighting For An AIDS Free Generation”.

The (RED) manifesto states: “Every Generation is known for something. Let’s be the one to deliver an AIDS FREE GENERATION.”

Pepsi used to run with the tagline, ‘the next generation’ Remember the Michael Jackson TVCs?

Now Coke is flying the campaign flag “share the sound of an AIDS free generation” making the Pepsi’s old tagline seem meaningless in comparison.


One downside of the campaign is the sheer number of different articulations coming from various AIDS organisations around the world.

It’s such a common problem. Organisations clamour for attention and then try and say too many things at the same time. They need to stick with one message. I suppose it’s not uncommon, but it is a problem. No one can remember a twenty-word campaign name. No one remembers passive sentences and weak verbs like ‘reducing’ or ‘supporting’. We like Zero! It states the vision in no uncertain terms.

All of the others are long-worded and fail on simplicity and memorability. They may be more accurate, but they’re not marketable. At least ‘Zero’ is easy to remember. And for Coca-Cola, that means consumers may just as likely think of a can of Coke Zero than reducing HIV.

Branding Nonprofits – Case Study of ‘The Salvos’


Nonprofits face many difficulties when branding. Some of these are unique as the value proposition for a nonprofit is unique to that sector. It is a social exchange with an intangible, higher-order reward as its value proposition. The key issues are values and vision, trust and transparency, organisational culture and structure. Continue reading