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Merchandising

Ashley, Vote Solar’s Development Associate, was hoping to extend the organization’s visibility by showing off its new brand identity and logo. She approached Catchafire looking for a designer to create merchandise that would compel people to support Vote Solar’s efforts.

The Challenge

With a new logo, multiple taglines and numerous projects on her plate, Ashley knows merchandise is a great way to raise awareness and funds for Vote Solar but she doesn’t have the expertise to design materials herself.

OBJECTIVES

  • Create compelling, hi-res designs for promotional apparel including Bike jerseys, basic t-shirts, stickers, mugs, hats and sunglasses.

The match

  • Ashley lists a merchandising project on Catchafire
  • Serif, the professional who helped Vote Solar on a Branding Project, applies
  • Both sides accept the match

“As the son of an extremely environmentally conscious family, I felt I would be a great fit to be working with Vote Solar. As a matter of fact, when I was in middle school my grandparents were the first family in our neighborhood to invest in solar energy and had solar panels installed. So as soon as I saw Vote Solar on the list of potential matches, I had to apply. At the time Vote Solar had two projects listed, one being the branding and the other the merchandising. I interviewed for the branding project, then for the merch gig and I’m happy to say that I was chosen for both.” - Serif

The Solution

  • Vote Solar and Serif hold an initial brainstorm to ensure they are all on the same page
  • They decide that the highest priority for this project is to create bicycle jerseys for Vote Solar’s NYC to DC Climate Ride
  • Serif and Vote Solar establish a final color palette and make sure to properly use the colors for the jersey tops
  • Serif designs a bike jersey with Vote Solar and revises per the organization’s feedback
  • Serif connects with the jersey manufacturer to ensure that everything will go smooth with production
  • Next, Serif plays with some taglines and simple yet bold graphics to design Vote Solar’s new t-shirts

The Result

“I’ve managed a lot of volunteers in my nonprofit career but I have never worked with a designer. Serif was so patient, a great listener, and understood things that I was having trouble communicating. Serif was really open to trying new things and he hit the nail on the head with these designs!” - Ashley

"As a full time freelance designer working with Vote Solar was one of the best experiences I've ever had. Super friendly crew and very helpful. This was an exciting merch project for me to work on and I was lucky enough to work with the fine people of Vote Solar." - Serif

The impact

This merchandise has become a fun and fashionable way for Vote Solar to increase grassroots engagement, a central part of their mission to bring solar into the mainstream. And it helped the team exceed their most recent fundraising goal!

"Serif designed some truly top-notch merch for Vote Solar, and he was a pleasure to work with at that. We recently got a new logo for our organization and needed to show it off. Serif designed slick, clean, modern, attractive new stickers, t-shirts, and bike jerseys for us, as well as some other branded designs that we could apply to other items. He also took feedback really well and was great at listening for what we wanted. We used the t-shirts and the bike jerseys to help us fundraise for our team's NYC - DC Climate Ride last month and they were a big hit! Our goal was to raise $20,000, but by adding in some merch to the mix we were able to raise a whopping $35,000! Thanks Serif!" - Ashley

“I definitely know a lot more about solar energy in terms of laws and regulations which was something the Vote Solar crew and I talked about a couple of times when we were starting out. On my own time I also looked into the solar panel installation process for when I have a home a few years down the road. Additionally, I am now more aware of the struggle nonprofits go through in order to have a positive impact. Hiring an outside contributor never comes cheap, especially getting a designer on board at a non profit. Therefore I am now encouraging my fellow designers to donate some of their time and talents to do good. Fortunately with me being a full time freelancer at the moment it gives me enough flexibility to make time to take on pro bono projects. As a matter of fact, I am currently onto my third project through Catchafire and working with Spark MicroGrants.” - Serif

Serif's 20 hour merchandising project resulted in $3,000 saved for Vote Solar.

The Organization
Vote Solar is a nonprofit grassroots organization working to foster economic opportunity, promote energy security and fight climate change by making solar a mainstream energy resource. We work at the state level all across the country to support the programs necessary to re-power our grid with sunshine.
The Volunteer
Serif is a world traveling, multilingual graphic designer with a passion for branding. He has been in the design game for about 4 years now and is loving every second of it.Despite his love for creating brand identities, he enjoys working on other projects as well.