Politics by Design

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We keep Gallery apolitical. Taking a pop at politicians is like shooting fish in a barrel and would muddy the focus of our lighthearted approach to media. We’ll leave that to Facebook. Plus, there are plenty of news platforms that give you daily updates on how inefficiently the hospital plans are progressing.

The one thing I can’t ignore, however, is the way in which it becomes open season for haphazard fencing and DIY wooden structures popping up all over the island and every lamppost, fence, tree, field and wall becoming a location for someone to plaster a poster of their face. Sure, most of our aspiring suited, tied or candidly photographed political wannabees do tend to accompany their faces with motivational straplines and splashes of colour, but the standard is achingly low. Some simply use their face and name… in a parish in which they’re not standing.

The poster production standard varies from those that have access to a photocopier and STRUGGLE to GRASP the BENEFIT of capital letter use to those that exhibit the ‘my mate’s got a copy of InDesign’ flourishes that let you know it’s not their first rodeo; poster double the standard size, headshot done by a real photographer, straplines that look as though they may have had some PR agency test them with a focus group.

I would like hope that our choice of political representative would be influenced principally by their politics rather than their ability to market themselves, but the poster is about the oldest method that these hopefuls use to convince us that they’re real people that look trustworthy and, in a lot of cases, we subconsciously judge by appearance. That’s why it surprises me that the execution in many cases is so poor.  The aspirations of party politics has only made the issue worse, adding not only multiple faces to each poster, making it look like a selection screen from the start of ‘Politics Fighter II’, but also a variety of brand logos of varying quality to differentiate and judge between.

We know how elections in the real world can be swayed by money, but good design has the power to influence too; prospective politicians who understand that benefit. Those that don’t potentially lose out, even if their politics are sound. It would be interesting to see how the presentation could be improved and standardised, allow each a colour, standardised photo opportunity and capsule design. Maybe then we would look deeper and seek to judge them on what they say, not how good they are at poster design.

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