Episode #144
The Design of The Labour Party


In the lead up to the general election in the UK on June 8th, I’m doing a series of episodes about the design of UK political parties. Today’s is about Labour.

Music and links from this episode

  1. Simple Hop by Broke For Free
  2. Let me be by Soft and Furious

Line-by-line notes

  1. When it comes to design
  2. And branding, and visual stuff
  3. Basically, the thing I do for a job every day
  4. Political parties are really interesting
  5. No matter what country we look at
  6. Be it American politics, French politics, UK politics,
  7. They all make really fascinating choices when it comes to design
  8. In the lead up to the UK general election on June 8
  9. I’m going to be doing a series of episodes of my podcast looking at the branding of UK political parties
  10. Today, let’s talk about the design and branding of the Labour party
  11. Just a quick note: In this episode I talk about some visual stuff that you won’t be able to see
  12. If you want to see what I’m talking about, I’ve linked to any images that I’ve mentioned in the show notes
  13. This is AADA, and I’m Craig Burgess
  14. MUSIC
  15. Let’s start by talking about colours
  16. Each political party all around the world have a particular identifying colour
  17. In the UK, UKIP is purple, Conservatives are Blue, Liberal Democrats are yellow,
  18. And Labour is red
  19. You’ll notice they’re all really simple colours that are easy to differentiate
  20. For example, Labour isn’t lime green and Conservatives aren’t a dark green
  21. It’s important that each party picks a strong colour
  22. If you don’t know your colour theory, it’s also interesting to note that each major party has what’s called a primary colour as their main party colour
  23. Primary colours are the core colours on the colour wheel, and they’re the base colours that everything else is made from
  24. They’ve all picked these colours because they’re the strongest, and the most easily identifiable by pretty much anybody
  25. What’s particularly interesting about the colour red for Labour in the UK though
  26. Is that the left leaning party in America—the democrats—is actually blue
  27. Red is a very interesting choice for Labour in the UK
  28. Red, on its own, has all sorts of connotations around the globe
  29. It strongly means things like danger, or blood, but it also strongly means passion, and love
  30. In the political landscape though, red tends to mean different things
  31. It’s usually used to symbolise left wing ideologies
  32. The most famous being communism and socialism
  33. The oldest symbol of communism in fact is the red flag, which dates back to 1848
  34. So red is really old, and its long since been associated with communism and socialism
  35. As Labour started as a party to put forward the interests of the workers and unions, it’s pretty obvious why they chose red.
  36. And as they’re generally considered left leaning party, and according to wikipedia their ideology is social democracy, red makes perfect sense
  37. Just by seeing the name Labour, then the red colour, you’ll know this is a social democatric party.
  38. Whilst under Tony Blair Labour wanted to hide the fact they were a social party, talking about New Labour and The Third Way
  39. It makes perfect sense under Jeremy Corbyn that they shout the fact that they’re red
  40. Interestingly, during the New Labour campaign with Tony Blair, looking back at old pictures shows that they didn’t use much red in his campaign, particularly in backgrounds and when they wrote the words New Labour
  41. Let’s look at Labour’s logo throughout the years now
  42. If we look at the original Labour logo, used right up until 1983, they clearly spoke very directly to their core audience of workers and unionists
  43. The logo said LIBERTY across the middle of it, in a strong serif font
  44. And that word was crossed with a spade and a quill
  45. I actually couldn’t find a definitive history of the Labour logo after 1983, until I came across Logopedia and found an article on there
  46. Surprisingly, throughout Labours entire history they’ve only had 3 logos, showing a commitment to a logo that you don’t normally see with any company, let alone a political party who has to try and influence people during every general election
  47. Compare it to the Conservatives, who have managed to change theirs 4 times in 30 years,
  48. vs labour’s that’s changed 3 times in over 100 years, and you can see how significant that might be
  49. In 1986, Labour introduced the English rose as the logo, and they’ve kept the same symbol ever since
  50. In 2007 they modernised the logo slightly, and also made it more red, maybe meaning to signify their return to their original ideals
  51. It’s clear they removed the spade and quill—or maybe it was a feather—from their logo to modernise the party a little bit,
  52. and try to appeal to  a wider audience, which is never a bad idea
  53. They’ve actually simplified their logo quite a bit, and looking at some of their recent marketing material,
  54. and particularly their website, they’ve simplified their design too
  55. It’s not often you see complicated political websites because they have to grab somebodies attention very quickly
  56. And get straight to the heart of the message very easily
  57. And also, they’ve got to cater to a very wide ranging audience
  58. So this usually means that you see their websites looking very simple
  59. But looking at the labour website
  60. It does quite strongly remind me of a budget supermarket
  61. Not any one in particular
  62. But that’s the thing I think of the most when I see it
  63. I don’t think this is a bad thing
  64. As it needs to be simple so everybody understands it
  65. But it’s an interesting angle they’re taking nonetheless
  66. The labour party clearly want to be known as the party of the people
  67. And they want to be inclusive to anybody
  68. And this shows in their style of design and branding
  69. Used throughout all their marketing materials, logo, and website.
  70. MUSIC
  71. This was AADA, and I’m Craig Burgess
  72. Music featured in this episode was:
    1. Simple Hop by Broke For Free
    2. Let me be by Soft and Furious
  73. For a line by line rundown of this episode go over to …/ep144
  74. Tomorrow, I’m going to see how the Conservatives stack up against their message with their branding and design
  75. If you want more updates about my podcast, follow me on Twitter at craigburgess
  76. I’m back tomorrow

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