Barnes, Catmur & Friends go into Labour

After a fair bit of digging and probing, we can reveal the creative buffs behind the Labour Party’s new design are advertising agency Barnes, Catmur & Friends, with head of design Crispin Schuberth responsible for the final logo design. But unlike politicians, getting a straight answer from the agency about the design was easy.

The logo may be new, but it’s actually tightly linked to the Labour of old. And by old, we mean 1930s old. In keeping with what Daniel Barnes, creative director at Barnes, Catmur & Friends, describes as “…the Labour essentials and fundamental truths,” the design harks back to the 1930s when the fern was a prominent element in the Labour Party. Back then it was commonplace for Labour Party politicians to wear silver fern pins.

“We did a lot of research with stakeholders and eventually the fern won through,” says Barnes.

He says the agency had about six months to chip away at the new design and give the old logo an “upgrade”. And because Labour is, after all, a political party with bigger fish to fry, Barnes says the agency was pretty much left to its own devices, though there was plenty of stakeholder interaction.

“Labour were more focused on policy rather than interfering too much in the design process,” says Barnes. “A lot of these logo designs can be quite fraught, particularly when you move into a highly politicised area. But this was a very smooth and cooperative process. All the stakeholders rallied around and we consulted with them closely as we went along.”

Brendon Burn’s central Christchurch office was the first to be fitted out with the new logo in February.

The predecessor

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