It’s the morning after the BC election. Liberals are a minority government, running a very close second is the NDP. The Green Party did alright with some penetration. Conservatives non existent. From a design perspective, the BC Liberals failure was self inflicted–and it has everything to do with design and a forgotten brand.
What is the party colour of the NDP? Orange of course, might be your answer.
What is the colour the conservatives? Blue.
What is the colour of the liberal party? Red.
What is the colour of the Green Party? Green I hope.
Pretty simple questions with no complicated answers. For generations these colours have been embedded in the minds of all Canadians. Wikipedia has a web page dedicated explaining the history of these party colours.
Where did the colours, fonts, logos come from?
Through consultation and research graphic designers build graphics that assists in telling the business story and the business tells its story to its customers. The newly created graphics made up of colours, shapes, fonts, photos, are put into a document called graphic guidelines. The graphic guidelines assists the business in keeping its overall look of the business consistent so when a customer sees the product they unconsciously identify the colours and fonts used, logo and other graphical elements and an impression is made. The more times impressions are made the likelihood of a person thinking of the product when it’s time to buy are much great than no previous impression being made at all.
The BC liberal party is guilty of straying from the Federal Liberal parties graphical guidelines. The morning after BC Premier Christy Clark called the election I drove by some election road signs for Dallas Smith and thought wow the “Conservatives” sure have their stuff together. It wasn’t until days later when I realized Dallas Smith belongs to the Liberal party.
First impression. Confused. But why? I pulled over to look at the sign to see why this happened. Wow. BC Liberals went with 80% blue background colour, no Liberal fonts, no Liberal logo or Liberal red. I Googled their website on my iPhone, wow the same but more blue, no Liberal logo and limited use of red. Very Progressive Conservative’ish. (by the way…Liberal parties in all other provinces use the graphic guidelines). As you probably know, the BC Liberals have been distancing themselves from the Federal Liberal party brand for a while now, thinking it was hurting them. I believe from that exact day of launching their new brand the confusion started. Fast forward to today and we are seeing the results of the seeds she sowed.
The reality is the Federal Liberal brand was non-existent throughout the 2017 BC Election campaign, except for Christy Clark wearing Liberal red at special events (makes me wonder why wear red if you are trying to distance yourself from Liberal red for everything else?). This lack of commitment to the Liberal parties brand lead to confusion and left Liberal voters wondering if their party was leaning toward Conservative ideals.
This morning when you see ridings where the winners won by 8, 100, 500, low thousands, it makes me wonder if outcomes could have been different had someone paid closer attention to the Federal Liberal party graphic guidelines. The clarity with which all the other parties stood by their brand created a confidence that voters could take to the polls.
In business when you are selling, as in elections, the last thing you want to do is confuse the customer. If a potential customer is confused during the selling process chances are they will not buy from you. They will walk and shop around. Also, if your customers do not see you–it’s out of sight and out of mind.
Graphic Guidelines are meant to be followed by everyone on the same team. Sending out the same consistent message.
To be clear we do not favour one political party over another. This was an observation only meant to help businesses succeed.