If election campaigns were decided by branding

In the lead up to any election campaign, which seem to be called every five minutes in Australia, the public are exposed to slanderous TV and radio ads, saturated social media and the same tired old election sign posters popping up all over this wide brown land. The collective groans of ‘not again’ are sighed right up to polling day, as politicians and their policies pollute mainstream media and fight for their moment in the sun.

But what if campaigns were voted on differently? What if the Prime Minister and cabinet were elected purely on branding and message, rather than the same predictable soundbites and defamatory statements against their opposition? Pretty far fetched, I know.

Unlike the United States, Australian election branding revolves around the political party, rather than the presidential runner, which unfortunately extracts a large percentage of the personality from the campaign. Keeping that in mind, let’s see how each of the two big parties stack up in the Branding Election 2016.

Liberal

The Liberal Party have retained their ‘L-shaped’ logo (which does little as an identifier to separate them from arch rivals ‘Labor’) but have also introduced a circular badge-style graphic that advertises the team and message. It’s very corporate, extremely formal and shows little to no imagination… so not the best start. But just from this initial glance it’s obvious who the Liberal party are targeting, corporate business.
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The Liberal Party logo.

 

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The badge integrated into a campaign video, featuring Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Party Malcolm Turnbull.

 

The colour selection is relatively consistent, using mainly the ‘Liberal Blue’, a sky blue and a yolky yellow for impact (all of which can be seen in the badge).

The website is well constructed but gets carried away with too many design elements compacted into the same template. Gradients, drop shadows and watermarks can all work in isolation but when they’re grouped together the design becomes cluttered and difficult to navigate.

 

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A snapshot of the Liberal Party website.

 

Their campaign thus far has used a cacophony of different serif and sans serif fonts throughout a variety of advertising mediums. We’ve so far counted 7 different fonts integrated throughout initial videos, posters and on their website. You might say ‘so what, they’re just fonts?’, but the underlying brand message they are putting out to the public is ‘we can’t make up our minds’.

Labor

The Labor Party have taken a different route in both message and graphic content; although having said that, there must be a tax-exemption on ‘badge design’ as they’ve rolled one out too! Somewhat recently, Labor updated the ribbon in their logo, while retaining the basic elements from previous designs. The straight edge ribbon is a bit of a tired concept, which reached its design peak about a decade ago, but at the very least it shows some considered evolution.

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A comparison between the old Labor Party logo, on the left, and the updated ribbon style, on the right.

 

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The badge integrated into a campaign video, featuring leader of the opposition Bill Shorten.

 

The aforementioned badge is big, bold and has a message with immediate impact (we just wish they’d aligned it better), which is in stark contrast to the near-illegible typography of their opposing badge. The eroded edges add a ‘hands on’ vibe and just as the target market for the ‘Libs’ seemed obvious, the same must be said for Labor; they’re after blue-collar votes.

Similarly to the Liberals, the Labor colour palette is on point. Their use of soft reds and blues combined with secondary colours of the same hue are consistent and display well.

The website has embraced the minimalist/flat design aesthetic that has swept through the design industry in recent years. If anything the site might get a little ‘too boxy’ but the elegant arrows and consideration of space makes it a pleasure to navigate.

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A snapshot of the Labor Party website.

 

It is in the typography where Labor leaps ahead in the polls. They’ve obviously done their homework in using the Obama ’08 campaign inspired ‘Gotham’ font as their branding linchpin; while consolidating their overall font suite to include a variety of thoughtful options.

The Winner

Labor leads in the early stages, but from what we’ve seen from Liberal party so far they’re going to be hard to catch by the end of the campaign. We’ll let you decide on which policies get your vote, but when it comes to brand message it’s Labor with a tick in the ballot box.

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