Today is the closest and most interesting general election in the UK that I can remember. This blog isn’t the place to talk politics, but while reading the manifestos of the three major parties I was struck by their design, and particularly the design of their covers, and I’m going to share some thoughts today on this topic. I think it’s interesting to look at the message the each party is trying to convey with their design and in particular how they all, for me, got it wrong. In alphabetical order, here they are:
Gold lettering on a blue cloth binding. I knew I’d seen this before but it took a while before I remembered where: my parent’s old textbooks, which I used to leaf through as a child, had this kind of binding beneath their dust jackets. I looked through all my and my wife’s textbooks and didn’t find any the same. Add in the stuffy “Invitation” and to me this says old. Very traditional, very establishment, and very much at odds with the image of David Cameron, with no tie and top button undone, presented in the Tory advertising.
This is not a subtle cover. The illustration benefits from the fact the UK is a small country and most places look more or the less the same, so the patchwork fields will look like “home” to almost everyone. I’m a bit surprised the couple looks so white; I’d expect Labour to embrace diversity a bit more. However the whole feel of the cover is quite retro. The style of illustration and the rural setting (the UK is very urbanised) both seem to looking backward to me. I like the alliteration in the text. That blazing hot sun disturbs me; it looks more like a nuke going off than the gentle British sun I’m used to.
It’s hard to say much about this cover, as it doesn’t say much to me. The repetition of “fair” is effective, and this is continued inside. The colours are washed out. This cover doesn’t really inspire any emotion in me; it looks more like an annual report than a manifesto!
Of the three I like the Labour cover the most, but as you’ve seen none of them really worked for me. This isn’t too surprising; major political parties must paint with such a broad brush that they cannot really address any small demographic. Now enough about the manifestos; go out and vote!