Screenshot of the header of the Surface Active Teespring store. A selection of four Adelie penguins, Antarctica products are featured below.

Surface Active Artwear Teespring store pops-up

April 2020
Dear Surface Dweller,

We’re excited to announce our fab Surface Active TeeSpring store has popped up! Our Surface Active Artwear celebrates some of the beautiful assets of New Zealand. Please pause & peruse our first two designs over at Teespring—Adelie penguins and Tuatara.

Adelie penguins, Antarctica

from Surface Active

Noisy, stinky & aggressive in reality but ain’t they cute? This design is a chuckle with penguins coming & going on the front and back. By the magic of art the white cotton of a plain teeshirt is transformed into Antarctic sea ice so this design is available on white only.

White teeshirt for sale with an all-over print of Adelie penguins coming toward you on the front, going away on the back

This crazy design is printed both front…

White teeshirt for sale with an all-over print of Adelie penguins coming toward you on the front, going away on the back

and back.

This imagery tells a tale of a dramatic before and after scene that unfolded when this formation of hungry Adelie penguins hesitated near the edge of the Antarctic sea ice, then they were suddenly faced with a leopard seal on the prowl in the waters just below.

This Adelie penguin all-over print, is available here for AUD$53.12


Credits


Design firm: Surface Active
Art direction: Design pARTners, Chrissie Terpstra and Shaun Waugh
Client: Surface Active
Designer, illustrator, desktop publishing: Shaun Waugh


©magentadot brands

‘Paua Aotearoa’, adults and kids T-shirt, four colour print on navy and black fabric.

Surface Active: Making waves in a sea of sameness

T-shirts in the spirit of fun.

Surface Active made in Aotearoa, T-shirts main neck label.

Surface Active T-shirts main neck label.

As an illustrative graphic designer, writer, desktop publisher; I was a design pARTner with Chrissie Terpstra in our in-house garment screenprinting studio. We learned that hand-pulled screenprinting is the medium of the hard labouring graphic artist.

Overview

Of course we were big fans of the humble T-shirt and by the mid 1980s they had become hot promotional items, garments on the outskirts of fashion, and a relatively new medium for the Graphic Designer’s art. What had for a long time been considered a poor medium for Graphic Design grew to an almost essential one.

All you have to do is walk down the street anywhere in the world since the early 80s to see what a ubiquitous promotional vehicle they have become. If you mail out 100 potential clients a direct mail brochure perhaps 200 people will see it. But mail out, or better yet, sell 100 T-shirts, and assuming they’re at all decent looking, you launch 100 walking billboards.
Keep on reading!

Antarctic Centre Adelies on ice Antarctica design on a white and a dark blue T-shirt

Cool T-shirts for Antarctica

WILDLIFE ART FOR THE ANTARCTIC CENTRE – Surface Active design pARTners’ good art achieves standout 1991 competition win

Christchurch is the gateway to Antarctica, has been for well over a century. The International Antarctic Centre was established in 1990, the visitor ‘Antarctic Attraction’ was opened to the public two years later.

Getting Antarctic people to vote on the Antarctic T-shirt designs

In 1991 the Attraction’s “Antarctic shop” merchandising and trading manager invited New Zealand’s leading souvenir T-shirt screen printers to each enter a set of Antarctica T-shirt designs into a competition, speculatively, to be judged and voted on by staff members of the various national Antarctic programmes based in Christchurch—hundreds of world-class scientists, explorers, transport support staff and the likes involved in preparing for their work in Antarctica. The brief was wide open, wildlife art designs, historical designs pertaining to Christchurch’s involvement with the 1912 epic of Captain Scott’s race to the Pole.
Keep on reading!

Orana Park Chapman’s Zebra screen prints on front and back of a navy T-shirt

Wildlife Park T-shirts for Africa

Our 1992 competition winners, a range of wildlife art t-shirts that celebrate an international wildlife conservation success story: Orana’s African savannah top five


ORANA WILDLIFE PARK, MCLEANS ISLAND, CHRISTCHURCH


The retail market of the garment trade is tough, for an open range zoo like Orana Park, with one foot in the quality recreational experience sector and the other in the tourism sector, trading is highly seasonal. The competition for the customer’s discretionary spending dollar and the fact the park is a charitable trust that generates 95% of its income from gate takings and their ‘Trading Post’, demanded that the very best way of developing the Park’s new T-shirt range be used for this custom T-shirt design and print project.
Keep on reading!

Poster Mr Fungus International Comic Mime

Fungustic slaprobatics: a poster for Mr Fungus

A poster for New Zealand‘s loudest mime

After training in London at the Desmond Jones School of Mime and earning a living on the competitive streets of Covent Garden and at various international busking festivals, at age 25 Fergus returned to New Zealand to work full time as an entertainer. He needed a logo and self-promotional publicity kit to enable him to market himself and provide to talent agencies. This poster is a photo montage produced using old school paste up and photolitho methods. Inverting the chair handstand ‘fungustic slaprobatic’ trick into a free-falling Mr Fungus was to play with the audience with a sort of Irish parachute sight gag, and making a poster that could be hung “correctly” upside down and still not make sense.
Keep on reading!

Verso of Mr Fungus business card

Mr. Fungus logo & card: make a big impression at close range

Graphics must be purposeful

Recently returned to settle back in Wellington from the U.K. in 1991, having done his time entertaining Covent Garden and international festival audiences, Fergus Aitken was a busker, a young exponent of clowning, juggling, mime and the bizarre who needed a logo and a business stationery promotional kit to advertise and promote his comic mime character Mr Fungus. More broadly he needed to promote his availability for various performing arts roles and as a mime workshop teacher in community, school and tertiary education settings. The first project, a card, would be handed over personally or included in direct mail campaigns to various audiences, where it would be viewed mainly at very close range.
Keep on reading!

Waitui Single Malt Manuka Honey Golden Bay Whiskey full packaging label system, front, back and top. Waitui is a small batch Whiskey, barrel aged 4 years. Hand crafted in Takaka, New Zealand.

Waitui single malt: name, logo & packaging

Waitui logoWaitui, a Small Batch, Single Malt, Manuka Honey, Golden Bay Whiskey, a unique New Zealand made prestige product, one of the few true ‘Honey whiskies’ made in the world today—in Takaka, Golden Bay.

Waitui, previously named ‘Bush Whiskey’ required renaming, rebranding and packaging to a standard that properly reflects the product. The result of the rebrand and repackaging has been outstanding at achieving the client’s goals; greatly increasing sales volume, profitability, and enabling the product to be distributed to prestige Whisky specialist retailers such as Whiskey Galore in Christchurch.
Keep on reading!

A logo for a website mapping all of Christchurch’s post earthquake recovery street art

Top Marks: top 40 logos

Waitui Single Malt Manuka Honey Golden Bay Whiskey packaging label
The power of visual communication is the ability to…

Talk less.

Although I’ve worked on many high-profile projects, I strive to give equal attention to the more commonplace assignments and small business clients. This is the small things that need to be precise—the directional signs, capabilities brochures, websites, product packaging, corporate collateral, After almost 40 years of practice, I am still excited by that challenge and the possibilities each new project presents.
Keep on reading!

‘Jewel Gecko - New Zealand’ eight colour T-shirt print on dark green fabric.

Jewelled Gecko: lifelike graphics make a vivid impression

Surface Active | Making waves in a sea of sameness.

Hyper-real graphics like the Jewel Gecko make a vivid impression. Why? Because people relate to them! Dramatic lifelike renderings of wildlife produce a prompt and typically positive response in a person’s mind. People relate to real things and enjoy them most. It is the route to why people relate to many of our eye-catching and impactful “SurfaceActive” wildlife-art-to-wear designs.

How did we do it? The technique of colour separating this design by hand involved breaking it down into eight separate designs, from which the screens are made. The separations are printed over each other, in layers to create the original hand screenprinted design. This crafty route is the only way to achieve the unparalleled vivid impression of the design.

It helps that beauty is permanent

Fashions come and go, then come around again, but the fundamentals stay. The inspiration for the designs came from getting to know superlative alpine/wildlife photographer Colin Monteith, and renowned wildlife photographer Rod Morris. We visited their image libraries to cherrypick the most beautiful jewels in their amazing archives that we could see had the potential to be developed into hand-separated wildlife art screen gems.
Keep on reading!

‘Tuatara - Sphenodon Punctatus’ portrait T-shirt front

Fuss, fuss, fuss: How this Tuatara drawing evolves

This terrific Tuatara illustrative design work evolves by focussing on the details, this is quite common

Surface Active made in Aotearoa, T-shirts main neck label.

Surface Active Wildlife art – making waves in a sea of sameness.

To make digital art of New Zealand’s Tuatara, that has the look and feel of a natural line drawing, the editing, fussing process can take hours and while it isn’t easy it is a great deal of fun. I take pleasure in design and I enjoy using the computer to draw with the stylus, inking over the scan just as easily as I would with traditional pen and ink. The production of design work is an incredible drill when you are doing your utmost to make it terrific. I do my utmost to make sure that every design project I work on is mega.
Keep on reading!

Waitui Individual Gift Carton showing the duplex concept of the design

Packaging design portfolio

Whether you are launching a new product or wanting a packaging upgrade for an established brand, the goal of packaging design is to attract customers’ attention, connect with them, be memorable, and persuade them to purchase your product over your competitors. For this purpose, packaging design must do more than simply inform your customers, it must also elicit emotions. Well designed packaging is attractive, impresses with its creativity and looks beautiful both on & off the shelf.

Kraft paper shopping Bag, The Arts Centre Market, Christchurch, Logo, Brand and identity systems, Illustration, Type design

Arts Centre Market | Rebrand

Keep on reading!