Politics by Design

Ok – so it was never really in doubt who I was going to vote for in the Mayoral election today – Brian Paddick!

But when I sat down to complete my postal vote last weekend I did grab hold of the booklet (delivered to every household) containing the Mayoral candidates’ manifestos – just to see what they were all saying etc.

Before I became a local campaigner and then an elected Liberal Democrat politician in Hornsey & Wood Green I was a designer for around twenty years – a graphic designer. So I couldn’t help but notice that the double-page spreads allocated to each of the candidates to put their case and attract votes were some of the worst examples of graphics I have ever seen – except for Brian’s.

Design is all about communication. And if the layout is confusing or the photos rubbish quality – then the chance of a benign effect is minimal. And it is the first impression that carries most of the message. Yes – of course it matters what the content is – and of course many people will have made up their minds without reference to the content of the manifesto booklet based on the televised debates, political allegiance regardless or whatever. But if anyone out there is likely to be influenced these ‘advertisements’ then you would think the candidates would have made a bit of an effort to maximize the opportunity of this delivery of their messages to every household in London!

Just go and look at the three main contenders – and compare and contrast.

Paddick’s is well laid out, clear, clean and direct with an excellent (and clearly professional) photograph of himself. The visual impact is designed to work across the two pages making it by far the most dynamic layout of all the manifestos in the booklet. The type is neat and legible; the colour use effective with the key ideas easily accessible – decent homes for all, fares that work for you and a justice system that works.

Ken’s spread does communicate his key point – which is all about fares. So fair play on getting the key message across. But there is far too much text, and the two pages are not laid out to work together. The different messages on fares compete with each other and the opposing page is a ‘letter’ and seems disconnected from the main thrust. It all seems a bit messy.

But by far the worst of the big three manifestos – is Boris’s. The layout is dreary. There is so much text and so many ‘key’ messages that the reader won’t know which of the various blocks of type he or she is meant to go to first. The photo of Boris doesn’t run across the gutter and cuts off his shoulder oddly. So – I can’t really say what his key message actually is.

To me – design really matters – obviously because I was a designer. But more than that – if a candidate doesn’t know how to present themselves and their ideas to the best advantage (or finding someone to design their manifesto to do so) then that bodes ill for their ability to communicate properly as Mayor.

Politics is all about people and communicating ideas and policies and action. And if you do that – then the people will come!


0 thoughts on “Politics by Design

  1. “so it was never really in doubt who I was going to vote for in the Mayoral election today”

    TBH most of what I hear from you Lynne is far more in tune with the worst aspects of Labour and you really don’t seem to fit in at the Lib Dems. It would be the least surprising move in politics if you defected to Labour or backed one of their candidates.

  2. @ Harriet

    It is difficult to see what planet you are living on apart from planet misogynist of course.

    The one thing Lynne consistently does is to attack the Labour party especially on the local council. Of course had there been an election to Haringey council yesterday every single Lib Dem councillor would have been wiped out.

    What would be good to hear is Lynne’s views of the future of the Lib Dems who are polling frighteningly just above the level of UKIP?

    Is she going to continue to support policies that have lead to flatlining in the economy? Does she believe this is a mid term blues result? Would she like to put her current level of local support to the test? She might even win if Labour decide to run Livingstone against her….

  3. LMAO

    Yep. Its all about design- style over substance.
    A bit like your politics.

    No substance to your election pledges, and therefore soon to be electorally wiped out- by design!!

  4. So It;s misogynist to highlight the never-ending sexism against men by the female “equalities” minister. Interesting stance there. She’s blamed all the worlds problems on men, used the most incredibly flawed stats to support banning lap dancing, tried to increase rape hysteria by asking questions in Parliament about non existent date-rape drugs (and failed to apologise for doing so) and her approach to fathers and male vicitms of domestic violence is basically to ignore them.

    And just because Lynne attacks Labour doesn’t mean she wouldn’t be at home in the party. It’s not uncommon for politicians to attack their rivals. Both Lynne and Labour rely on playing the man hating card to get votes, I guess Lynne doesn’t like how Labour dominate in a field in which she is so effective and very clearly committed.

  5. Yep you are a classic misogynist.

    Lap dancing is a lovely thing for you to seek to back your argument. This is of course something men perform for the pleasure of sleazy women who exploit them for money right? Great example.

    “Rape hysteria”, “male” victims of domestic violence- all the the normal arguments of blokes who don’t like women, don’t like them standing up for their rights and choose to ignore the predominance of women as the victims of such things.

    I have little doubt your views are a product of your own circumstances and I am no fan of Lynne, not even close, but I would rather spend an hour in her company than in yours any day.

  6. I have to say I agreed with Nick. I cheered after he made the call for transparency and honesty in politics.
    When the musical chairs of the next general election stop and the Lib Dems are left standing without a single seat this will be his abiding legacy. For no future party will ever dare renege on an election pledge in the brazen way Clegg did over tuition fees. It will serve as a warning from history, a warning I’ll hope you pass on to the incoming generation of Lib Dem idealists as you skulk shame faced out of the back door of politics. ‘It was our fault’ you can tell them. ‘We didn’t realise how angry with us the voters were until one of our candidates lost to a guy dressed as a penguin.’

  7. Where did I back lap dancing? I have no strong views on the matter, I simply condemn anyone using such dishonest and discredit statistics to try to censor something. If Lynne wants to convince people that Lap dancing is bad then she needs to provide evidence that supports this rather than using discredited rubbish. I support polices based on evidence not on lies and hunches.

    Hating women you say? Who uses rape as a political football, Lynne or me?. Who tries to scare women into believing there was a made up date rape drug called Progesterx that would leave them infertile and announced as such in our Parliament? I suppose you make a good point really, Lynne doesn’t simply hate men but such actions shows she hates women too. Perhaps she’s not quite as sexist as I thought.

  8. Lynne, why were you looking at a manifesto? So you can be sure of what you are happy to rip up and turn your back on?