Political branding and candidate logos

Pity the poor souls who have just finished working on Labour’s general election campaign and who are now being drafted in to work on the leadership and deputy leadership bids of those hoping to run the party post-Corbyn and Watson.

One of the first jobs to be done of a leadership bid is to develop a logo for the candidate.

Getting your candidate’s logo right isn’t going to win you the election, but when done well it can help voters feel good about your campaign.

It’s a consciously developed identity that will exist across all the materials that are being designed to help your candidate win office.

It should be a visual short cut for the values and persona of the candidate. A talented designer will be able to combine colours and motifs with a strap line to summarise what the campaign is all about.

When used consistently, candidate logos help build familiarity and facilitate feelings of trust and loyalty.

When it comes to choosing a colour, candidates will likely be asking themselves ‘which shade of red is best?’

It may sound banal, but there’s a huge range of reds one can choose from and it’s very well accepted that people’s emotional responses to different colours varies hugely.

If the red is too bold it might seem aggressive; too light and it could feel weak; too dark and it could be perceived to be old-fashioned.

A strap-line should summarise the candidate’s positioning in a few words.  Conveying that your candidate is ‘the outsider’, ‘the self-made man / woman’ or ‘the unifying choice’ in a concise phrase which doesn’t sound trite is very tricky.

A good way to start is to write a series of “why people should vote for me” statements, then delete any that other candidates could legitimately claim.  From there you will likely have a fairly short list which you can begin to craft into a few choice, motivating words.

Most candidates keep the motif or design features simple and avoid trying to fit an idea in the logo.  When I say ‘idea in a logo’ I mean things like the ‘A to Z’ in the Amazon logo i.e a piece of art direction that’s built into the logo which conveys something about the brand.

When done well, these logos are brilliant.  When done badly they are naff, vulgar and ridiculous…hence why candidates tend to keep things simple.

Good luck to the various campaigns – our thoughts are with you this Christmas!

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