Election 2017: The Results

Here they are! The five candidates for the upcoming election, judged solely on their abilities to put together a quality printed leaflet.
Let’s see how they did!

In no particular order…

Helen Geake, Green Party

election 17, bury st edmunds, graphic designer, motion graphics election 17, bury st edmunds, graphic designer, motion graphics

 

Paper quality ****°

Paper has a good weight and the feel of a recycled paper. Good choice!

Typography/Design ****°

The leaflet makes good use of only two fonts, a tall all-caps face for the headings, and an easy to read sans serif face for the body. Impact without being overbearing and legible body. Just what is needed. There are no layout issues, and the eye is easily lead around the piece, highlighting the key points. One minor point is the misuse of m-dashes on the back page. “Long–term” should read “long-term”, and “well–researched” should be “well-researched”.

Photo/image usage****°

One photo of the candidate, sharp with a fitting background. Party logos are prominent, along with a voting box icon on the front.

Format ***°°

A6, single sheet. It won’t stand out in a pile of leaflets, but it’s a convenient, familiar format.

Printing *****

Printed in East Sussex by Pureprint, winners of a lot of awards for environmental excellence. While it seems odd that a candidate wouldn’t patronise a local company, it makes sense to use one that is environmentally friendly, especially for the Green Party.

Overall Impression ***°°

A friendly, easy to read, no-fuss flyer. Clear and to the point. The calls to action are clear, with a simple ‘Get in touch’ directive.


Jo Churchill, Conservative

election 17, bury st edmunds, graphic designer, motion graphics

Paper quality ****°

High quality, average weight paper.

Typography/Design ***°°

This is laid out to appear like a regular publication, with ‘news’ headings, and an ‘Election Special’ subtitle. I’ve not seen the other editions of InTouch, but I’m sure they are in the pipeline. Bold lead-ins add to the newspaper look and make skimming easy. The back page features a space-wasting border of diagonal shapes that neither enforce the message nor do anything to aid the design. A vertical line also seems to accentuate the heading, which is already the largest type on the page. With an third paragraph various mid-paragraph sentences in bold, it’s as if everything is emphasised. If there were any unimportant sentences, they should be removed rather than emboldening everything else. There are some alignment issues and several widows mean there  are a few patches of awkward white space. At the least, this shows a lack of attention to detail.

Photo/image usage***°°

One photo of the candidate, with the prime minister, one of the candidate standing in the street (poorly composed), and a campaign photo of the prime minister.

Format ***°°

A4, trifold, with the first headline showing above the fold. Not so well placed or considered is the reverse of the folded piece – the fold cuts through a line and there is no call to action.

Printing ****°

Printed by St Ives PLC, Bungay, Suffolk. Local printing gets extra points but loses them again by choosing a very large publishing firm, with a London branch, instead of a small business.

Overall Impression ***°°

An interesting, if not tired, design makes the flyer appear authoritative but not warming or personal. The over-use of bold type makes it shouty and there is only one small ‘Find out more’ call to action at the bottom of the first page. So small, that I nearly missed it.  Are they so confident people will vote that they don’t really need to ask you for support?


Helen Korfanty, Liberal Democrats

election 17, bury st edmunds, graphic designer, motion graphicselection 17, bury st edmunds, graphic designer, motion graphicselection 17, bury st edmunds, graphic designer, motion graphicselection 17, bury st edmunds, graphic designer, motion graphics

Paper quality **°°°

Lighter paper, presumably to reduce cost, without a silk finish. Feels cheap.

Typography/Design *°°°°

The inconsistent alignments, white spaces and lack of flow makes it awkward to read. The main points are emphasised but the leading and lazy hyphenation show a complete inattention to finer details. Widows and odd line breaks make me cringe!

Photo/image usage****°

One photo of the candidate, sharp with a fitting background. Party logos are prominent, along with a voting box icon on the front.

Format ***°°

A4, folded in four. Unfolds to be used as a poster and a form you can cut off and post. Very 1987! And to underline the time-travel experience, there even is a gutsy request for donations, asking people to send cheques. I can’t remember the last time I wrote a cheque! The campaign poster is a great idea. Asking people to waste money on envelopes, stamps and cheques makes it appear antiquated and out of touch. Perhaps a lot of political supporters like writing cheques. Perhaps they are of that age!

Printing **°°°

Printed by Printech, Chelmsford. They aren’t local and don’t advertise anything to do with their environmental conscience. Why were they chosen and not a Bury St Edmunds firm?

Overall Impression **°°°

A troubling and inconsistent layout with a call to action that hints at an older target audience. Support for local companies would have been encouraging, as would a better paper stock, which would have made the photographs appear stronger too.


Bill Edwards, Labour

election 17, bury st edmunds, graphic designer, motion graphics
election 17, bury st edmunds, graphic designer, motion graphics
election 17, bury st edmunds, graphic designer, motion graphics

Paper quality ****°

Good quality paper with a nice finish.

Typography/Design *°°°°

The display font used looks a little clumsy and needs attention paid to the kerning. The body font is lighter and easier to read, but spaced poorly. The leading seems a bit inconsistent with lots of white space that could have been used better . Widows and poor line breaks are everywhere, including one break in the middle of the candidates name. But, what is really bad is missing copy. Without taking into consideration the wording in the copy, it is obvious that the sentences have been cut off! This is easy to do if you paste text into a text box and resize the box to suit the design, but programs like Adobe Indesign will give you an indication (a red plus symbol) that there is overflow text. On page 3, the copy reads “Labour will give the NHS the money it”. That’s it! Not even a full stop. The next paragraph suffers the same fate – “Labour will build one million new homes, 50 per cent of them for “. For what? But wait! The THIRD paragraph end the same way – “Labour will make sure all children get the chance to succeed, by funding education fairly and “…and teaching children how to finish sentences?
If there was a proof reader, they should be fired.

Photo/image usage****°

The front features a large image of Bill, and the centre contains various stock images and a photo of a local resident. All are sharp and well balanced.

Format ***°°

A6, folded sheet. Again, familiar but not outstanding.

Printing ***°°

Printed in Sterling Press in Kettering. That’s 68 miles away. They are a large company with an office in Edinburgh. Come on, support local business. Please!

Overall Impression ***°°

The flyer gives a number of options for getting in touch and even states “We want to hear from you”, which is very inviting. However, this is in a cut-out-and-post form. “Please provide your own stamp and envelope.” The design misses a number of fundamental points and needed a better attention to detail.


Liam Byrne, Independent

election 17, bury st edmunds, graphic designer, motion graphicselection 17, bury st edmunds, graphic designer, motion graphics

Paper quality *°°°°

Poor. He gets one star for using gloss paper instead of the paper already sitting in the library printer.

Typography/Design *°°°°

Using Verdana throughout, Liam has clearly not considered other options. Understanding type means knowing how your font choice affects the content. Without reading a word, this says “uninteresting, lazy, effortless”. Phrases are dropped randomly all over the front page, without any consideration for placement. Spelling mistakes don’t help the cause (benifits).

Photo/image usage °°°°°

One small image on the front looks like it was taken on a mobile. It wasn’t even purposefully taken for the flyer! A face has been cropped out on the right hand side. How long would it have taken to ask for one photo of the candidate, against a plain background?

Format *°°°°

Single sheet, 105mm x 73mm – that’s eight per A4 page. Lots of white space on the back, and no call to action or invite to do anything.

Printing *°°°°

Presumably, this was printed on a laser printer. Most likely at the local library or his Mum’s office.

Overall Impression °°°°°

Yes, that’s zero out of five. I’ve seen people running for class president make more of an effort. For the price of a couple of rounds of drinks, he could have got thousands of A6 flyers printed and made a better impression right away. Those online printers even have a batch of templates to choose from, so there’s not even any real design involved! Looking independent and penny-pinching is one thing. Looking like you aren’t willing to make any sort of commitment is another.


So that’s it! From a designer’s point of view, this is how the candidates have decided to present themselves. Layout, font choices and use of space betray a person’s attention to detail and consideration of how something is received. While most of the leaflets were well presented and initially had a high level of impact, further inspection shows how a couple of candidates rushed the job to the printer.

As for me, I have made up my mind who I’m going to vote for. Have you?

 

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One thought on “Election 2017: The Results

  1. Hi Nick,
    Great angle one of the subtleties of an election. The quality of the medium plays a role along with the message that it delivers. At the next election here in British Columbia I will pay a bit closer attention to what shows up in my mailbox.

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