Sutherland print shop goes viral with same-sex marriage message

Going online: Sutherland graphic designer Emily Olguin with the finished flyer. Picture: Chris Lane
Going online: Sutherland graphic designer Emily Olguin with the finished flyer. Picture: Chris Lane

Every day Emily Olguin receives hundreds of messages. Some are simple offers of help while others are long letters filled with hope or sadness. 

It started when the Sutherland graphic designer posted a request for help on Reddit.

That day she had two flyers put under her car windscreen supporting the no campaign on same-sex marriage. She was furious.

‘’They were turning the debate into how it will affect kids at school and their education, and work,’’ she said.

‘’The message was horrible and I think the majority of people in the shire were shocked about it.

‘’It was completely off topic and just wrong and rude and horrible.’’

Determined to do something about it she asked her boss Jake Thomas whether she could print off 100 of her own flyers refuting the claims.

Mr Thomas runs Emroy Print and Design- a commercial printer that prints everything from business cards to posters.

He didn’t hesitate.

‘’I said ‘if we’re going to do this then let’s do this, let’s print 50,000’,’’ he said.

‘’She’s very popular and has a lot of friends but she thought 50,000 was a lot. That night she went on Reddit and put up a post.’’

The post hit the front page of r/Australia and went viral, spurring an outpouring of support from across the country and overseas.

Ms Olguin said she thought she might receive a handful of responses from locals looking to help.

‘’The next morning I had all these notifications, I probably had more than 100 messages,’’ she said.

‘’I hadn’t even expected a quarter of that. It was from people from all over Australia and even overseas.’’

Since then it has snowballed.

Two weeks later they had raised enough money to print 200,000 flyers, and soon Australians for Change was born.

The pair estimate they have received more than 3,000 messages since the campaign launched.

Mr Thomas said that while some are negative, the vast majority were positive.

‘’We’re still getting around 100 messages a day from people wanting to help but there’s also a lot of people who are sending messages like ‘hey it’s really nice to see normal everyday people doing something’, he said.

‘’There’s a lot of people out there who are, perhaps, very young and who are coming to terms of who they are as individuals and they’re seeing all this negativity and it’s absolutely destroying them.

‘’Then they see stuff like this, their neighbours and their friends, who aren’t even gay, that are so angered by it that they wanted to get involved.

‘’These young people are seeing this and we get beautiful messages saying ‘it was so nice to see everyday people who are willing to stand up and say we don’t believe this’.

‘’From that perspective, it has been phenomenal.’’

The flyers have been sent to people in every capital city as well as to dozens of regional towns.

Mr Thomas said everyone was doing their bit.

‘’This one woman, who is in her 70’s, emailed through and said ‘I can’t walk far but I live in a villa complex so can I have some flyers so I can put them in our letterboxes’,’’ he said.

‘’She just wanted to know she could do something little. You keep magnifying that by 1500 people and you have this huge thing.’’

Copywriters and graphic designers put together the final flyer with around 100 people actively working together on the final product.

The first run included 200,000 flyers with another 100,000 about to printed.

Mr Thomas said the flyer worked because it was straight to the point.

‘’Everybody who has seen it has loved it because it's not offensive,’’ he said.

‘’It doesn’t victimise anyone, it doesn’t target anybody. It just deals with the facts and this is exactly what you’re voting on.

‘’It’s so crazy, from one post on Reddit we’re looking to send half a million flyers around the country.

‘’That’s what has surprised all of us so much. This has started with Emily putting a little post up on Reddit and its spread.’’

For more information go to www.australiansforchange.com.