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    How design can be used to boost fair trade

    Author | Mike Heine

    Carefully crafted and well resolved design is a powerful tool, and can have a profound influence on how a product or service is perceived, understood, purchased and used.

    While great design is relevant regardless of the particular application, in the view of our design practice, HeineJones, it becomes even more relevant if the application has meaningful, sustainable and globally beneficial attributes. This is because great design can increase the awareness of a product, build the appropriate perception and understanding of that product, improve the perceived value of the product, and ultimately (importantly) increase the sales of the product. In the case of the Oxfam Fair brand, increased sales means increased benefits for the people and objectives that the Oxfam Fair brand supports – improved human rights, improved access to clean water, education and health care and an opportunity to live free from hunger and poverty.

    An effective design solution can not only improve sales, but can also influence the way a Fair Trade product is treated post purchase – if a purchaser can proudly display the packaged product in their home or office, then the additional product exposure and distribution of the Fair Trade message is further improved, which in turn leads to additional awareness and sales – and the circle of positive influence continues.

    In the case of the Oxfam Fair brand, HeineJones were commissioned to develop the brand name and packaging design – with the objective of ensuring this brand could compete against established supermarket brands. The bold, black and white brand mark, modern descriptor font and the metallic colour coding, created a memorable brand and strong presence in store, and is easily extended to other supermarket categories, such as a range of chocolate products and Oxfam Fair merchandise.

    Oxfam Fair has found favour with consumers with a conscience. Available in selected Coles and Woolworths stores nationally, it successfully delivers profits for humanitarian causes, and creates a desirable circle of positive influence.

    Mike Heine is an award winning Australian designer and joint founding director of HeineJones, a Melbourne based interdisciplinary design consultancy.

    Fair Trade, Fair Trade Features