Design-a-vote: How iconography can affect opinion

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Some of the initial feedback seems quite positive, praising what is undoubtedly a simple yet bold symbol. The bright all-American colours combined with an advancing arrow running through the ‘H’ are intended to give a feeling of hope and progression for the country.

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However, as with all branding any new design will come under scrutiny from onlookers. In the world of political logos, that level of analysis seems to be upped a notch or two as people try to find hidden meanings or images in the design.

Hillary’s new effort is no different, with critics highlighting elements like the arrow as an ironic step to the right, or a side-step for America. Others simply state that it reminds them of a hospital sign.

Compare that to Barack Obama’s 2008 effort, and we see quite a difference. He went with a clever, thoughtful design that was universally applauded as a brilliant representation of a bright future for America, and Obama himself. It ultimately assisted in a winning campaign.

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The existence of political logos is proof that designing an identity is not purely an aesthetic endeavor aimed at selling or catching the eye. They have to be a symbol to drum-up support or a message to believe in and proudly display on a lapel.

Spotlight on British politics 

When it comes to British politics, we are currently seeing efforts from our own parties boldly emblazoned on every TV and newspaper due to the general election drawing ever closer. It is interesting to see the thinking behind these designs, or more importantly, their key developments over time.

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The Conservatives have frequently altered their brand in order to change the public’s perception. The shift to a loosely scratched oak tree symbol was made to represent the party’s greener thinking and approach to politics. Perhaps it was a little too green, because the logo was later switched again for a typically British interpretation of the tree.

While the Labour Party haven’t drastically changed their logo quite as much as the Conservatives over the years, there are still some alterations that catch the eye. Of particular note is the fact the once-free red rose of New Labour has since become cropped and contained into a box. This rose has also switched from the right of the party’s name to now sit on the left.

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So what about the smaller, more independent parties? Well, there’s the stylised The Liberal Democrats’ bird which could be symbolic of so many beliefs. Is it a symbol of hope and freedom? Perhaps a fiery phoenix, ready to take on all comers? Meanwhile, the Green Party’s logo is a green image of Earth surrounded by a collection of green leaves and UKIP has opted to strike their name through the centre of a pound shop emblem — very clear representations of what these parties stand for.

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Closing thoughts

The political logos of today clearly demonstrate that designing a strong identity should never become an afterthought. After all, they are a voice to relate with as well as an identity to, well, identify with.

Does Hillary Clinton’s logo get a ‘YES’ from you? Do the British Party identities help make you decide who you will be voting for in the general election? Let us know in the comments below.


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