Playing with words – it’s one of the joys of copywriting. And, late last year, we got to do just that, thanks to a brief from the Shops team. They wanted a set of materials – posters, banners and clothes tags – to support their 2013 volunteer drive. The overriding concept needed to be eye-catching, inclusive and suitable for every one of Oxfam’s stores (and there are almost 700 of them).

So where to start? After knocking around a few ideas, we focused in on the basics – why people volunteer and what they get out of it. Both questions resulted in a sizable list. Just like shops themselves, every person who volunteers in them is unique. Not just in terms of character, skills and interests, but motivations for volunteering too. So rather than generalise with a one-size-fits-all approach, we celebrated this individuality. Music people, fashion people, people people – we listed all the possibilities. A suggestion by Sara Griffiths from Trading, who briefed the job in, to include: “Only have four hours on a Thursday people” inspired us to think even more broadly. It Takes All Sorts was the result.

And that’s where the writing fun really started, playing around with the possibilities then working in some rhythm to make the copy more readable. For the design we kept it simple with a bold, words-led approach and ranged-right copy. We also worked in the entire suite of Oxfam colours – a first for Kelvin (the designer) and another nod to variety. There’s been some good feedback from the shops. Hopefully it will do the trick with the people wandering through their doors too.allsorts2