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                                                               May 2010

Illustration by Sam Gilbey: hi@samg...
10 years / 10 projects / 10 projects

Below, an example of the
    of change
words: sander herMsen / designsofchange.nl
Cameron makes His mark
what the conservative logo tells us
about what they want you to think

words: alice ross
(Continued from previous page)

                                 poster: jack richardson
illustration: aaron easterbrook
07779 032699 / aaroneasterbrook@googleMail.coM
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Project10 Newspaper (May) 'design in politics'


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Project10 Newspaper (May) 'design in politics'

  1. 1. ___ / 100 May 2010 Illustration by Sam Gilbey: hi@samgilbey.com / samgilbey.com
  2. 2. 10 years / 10 projects / 10 projects Dear Reader, contributors, thank-you: It’s late, I know. Lost in the post? Printers screwed up? Dog ate it? No. None of the above. Since the last ‘All-ladies’ issue hit your doormat/desk/ keyboard I’ve been going through something of a personal crisis. I won’t Andy Barefoot: mydavidcameron.com go into more detail, just to say that I will endeavour to be on track with Jo Murphy: jomurphyeditorial.com the next edition: The Graduate issue. Sander Hermsen: sander-hermsen.nl Project10 was put on hold. That is not, I repeat, NOT to say that Paula Benson: form.uk.com this is over. Oh no! I am still involved, I’ve just been taking a backseat. A Alice Ross: alicerosswrites.com very far back backseat. But far enough back not to be reporting on any DaBitch: Adland.tv project work this month. Jack Richardson: www.flickr.com/photos/jackrichardson Nonetheless this current ‘Design in Politics’ issue has been lovingly AaronEasterbrook: aaroneasterbrook@googlemail.com produced. As ever it’s the result of some brilliant people giving me some of their time, for free. Which is both amazing and brilliant. This month celebrates the subject of ‘Design in Politics’ given that contribute/contact: Would you like to contribute to next month’s instalment, we’re still all talking about the LibDemConCrats-Hung(!)-Parliament- or perhaps you want to discuss a project, or a feature Coalition. in your lovely magazine? Use any of the following: There is a brilliant piece by Andy Barefoot the mastermind email: project10@plan-bstudio.com behind mydavidcameron.com, a rather striking piece about heads of twitter: @planbstudio state, or rather the obeying of a head by DaBitch of Adland.tv plus Jo phone: +44 (0)7971 207 276 - Steve Price Murphy gets all ‘hung up on design’, Paula Benson typesets a fantastic poem by Hollie McNish and Alice Ross bigs up the Conservative logo, well, sort of. With illustration by Jack Richardson, Aaron Easterbrook credits: and a cover illustration by Sam Gilbey makes this issue just as moving as Design&Art direction: Steve Price (www.plan-bstudio.com) its predecessors. Editing: Claire Selby, Sarah Waterfall and Simon White As for Project10; onwards and upwards. Yours, Steve Price produced by: printed by: www.plan-bstudio.com www.newspaperclub.co.uk
  3. 3. Below, an example of the user generated posters created by people Barefoot lies visiting Andy’s web site: words: andy barefoot / MydavidcaMeron.coM / andy@andybarefoot.coM mydavidcameron.com Hung up on design Confidence, aspiration, and all that good stuff comes with a When we argue the toss over yellow versus blue or words: jo Murphy sharp suit, a trim waistline and a snazzy brand. Step up design, red, surely we’re not just discussing Pantone. Switch to the jo@joMurphyeditorial.coM a regular political bedfellow. We give an awful lot of weight televised debate that has helped put the three frontrunners joMurphyeditorial.coM to the way things look – political manifestos, for example – on an almost equal footing. Three ties stand before a carefully because of what good presentation represents. selected audience (one that ticks all boxes), and exercise We want our future leader to have it all, an elegant their media training with that annoying Blairite hand action wife and a modern brand, yet sometimes I wonder if we nonsense. Yet, contrived as this may be, the once apathetic are putting style before substance. The second the tabloids are indeed taking note. start comparing Sam and Sarah – sorry, Miriam, you were a I’m not massively informed when it comes to politics. latecomer – I think we’ve gone a step too far. Really, is that But I have been known to get a little cross when people handbag going to swing your vote? Admittedly, I’m inclined bemoan the state of the country, yet fail to exercise their to agree that behind every great man, there’s a great woman. democratic right. Moaning does not beget change. Voting But I’d also like to think accessories are not a great decider does not necessarily guarantee change, but it’s a step in on the voting front. Theoretically, you’d rather hope that our the right direction. Depending on how you use your vote, future leader focuses his energy on more important issues of course. I created the “Make your own David Cameron poster” page in January after being inspired by the The message might just have been a personal joke between friends, some song lyrics (apparently than the benefits of 100 per cotton versus nylon mix. As I step off my soapbox, I have to admit that to MyDavidCameron site. Clifford Singer’s site collected photoshopped versions of the newly released his milkshake brings all the girls to the yard), an advert (he is offering cash for gold in several posters) I’m not pointing the finger and casting aspersions whatever extent media, design and snazzy logos have played “We can’t go on like this” Conservative election poster and I thought it would be easy to create an or something relevant to the chat board or forum the poster was displayed on. On the Rugby message about anyone’s superficial tendencies (that would make me in creating this politically historical scenario, it’s yet more online generator for people without photoshop. boards DC is particularly rude about the fans of Bath whereas on the Wrexham message board he is one helluva hypocrite) because I believe we’re programmed proof that we want, need, and crave that things look good, You wouldn’t be able to change the photo but you would be able to add whatever words you threatening to buy and pawn Chester City. to gravitate towards pretty things. We want design, we sound good, and make us feel good. Design has got a lot to liked for the slogan, logo and tagline. Surely at least a few people would take the opportunity to Did any of this mischief have an effect on the election result? I guess we’ll never know. The want branding, we want fashion and a nice living room answer for, a lot of good stuff, so long as we know what lies create their own biting political satire? Clifford put a link to the generator on MyDavidCameron and stats are reasonably impressive. The site itself has had over 430,000 visits, over 1,435,000 page views arrangement. So I would assume we’re applying the same beneath. I fear that, even if it is all Clegg’s fault, we might end immediately the visits started to roll in. and 450,000 posters generated. And this doesn’t include the views of the posters when they have principles to political manifestos. If the latter are all up a little disappointed that underneath the glossy sheen, Did the people of Britain seize this opportunity to show their sharp satirical wit? Well, some of been imbedded in other sites (another 1.5 million views) or those users who saved their poster and wrapped up in a nice package, how many of us are going to we won’t get a fancy new NHS, even if it does have a fancy them did but many others went for a more “blunt” approach. From the versions of the poster I’ve seen published it themselves to Facebook, Twitpic, Flickr or similar. question them? new logo. they generally break down into the following groups: Will seeing a vandalised version of an official poster actually affect the way people vote? I’d A decent percentage of the posters generated mocked the policies of the Tories. Some with hope the average voter is a little more intelligent than this. It does highlight just how many people political accuracy, others less so. New Tory policies trumpeted by the posters included selling off the dislike Cameron and his party but who is to know whether a similar poster of Brown would have BBC, closing the NHS, “screwing the poor” and “free cravats for all”. garnered the same reaction? Labour cleverly haven’t released any easily mock-able posters however Others mocked the original poster itself: the airbrushed photo, the patronizing message, the they did try to jump on the band wagon by revealing their “Ashes to Ashes” poster that had been lack of a tie. Mr. Cameron’s large, shiny forehead seems to get a lot of attention as does his hypnotic “crowd sourced” from Labour supporters by Saatchi and Saatchi. Showing David Cameron as Gene gaze and the possibility that below where the poster ends he is wearing no trousers/masturbating Hunt it backfired (as Gene is actually a very popular character) and the Conservatives released their furiously/illegally pleasuring someone/thing. own spoof of it. If anything it shows that a bit of humorous photoshopping is all very amusing when Quite a large number took the opportunity to unleash their inner Malcolm Tucker with your friend has done it and it gets emailed to you on a Friday afternoon. It’s not quite as funny when it approximately 8% of all posters generated featuring the f-word and almost 4% featuring the sweariest is the best an ad agency paid millions can come up with. of all swear words. Some were taking the opportunity to colourfully call David Cameron something Overall I think the popularity of the poster reflected on the campaign as a whole. Following derogatory, others just found it amusing to have the leader of the Conservative Party apparently using the links to the posters I have read a lot of political debate on web forums and very little of it has been blue language when addressing the electorate. positive. The majority of voters seem much keener not to vote for a particular party than to support A lot of the generated posters had nothing to do with David Cameron, the election or politics their opponents. The parties own campaigning reflects this, it is easier to disparage your opponent at all. These were generated by users who just found the juxtaposition of a serious public figure with than to promote your own party. In a two party system the net result of losing your opponent a vote is an inane message amusing. the same as gaining one for yourself.
  4. 4. (de)signs of change words: sander herMsen / designsofchange.nl contact@sander-herMsen.nl call for entries for an online workshop on conteMporary political design initiatives, May 17th – june 9th From the 1960s onward, designers have played an active role technical means: silk screen and stencil printing meant few, in political debates. Contemporary designers appear a lot strong colours, and strong lines, and modernist ideologies www.sander-herMsen.nl less interested in engagement. Postmodernism has replaced supplied easily decipherable symbols. Today, the most the modernist ‘grand narratives’ and their clear imagery of accessible technology is obviously the computer connected stars, fists and Che Guevara. Designs are more personal, on a to the internet. Facebook groups are replacing posters, smaller scale, more about every day life. On the other hand, ‘tweets’ replace newsletters and no debate or political action the new practice of designers being their own commissioners is complete without coverage by blogs and youtube. comes with many new chances. (de)signs of change is an online workshop with myself The direct cause for this online workshop is the rise of and everybody who wants to contribute as participants. It the extreme right wing movement in the Netherlands around runs from May 17th until the night of the Dutch general Geert Wilders. Obviously, someone that extreme gives rise elections on June 9th and is meant to be a statement, a to protest campaigns. But, seen from the perspective of platform and a resource for design and political engagement. a communication professional, these are ‘harmless’ and A chance for designers to show how they are taking part in ineffective affairs, not rising above the common left-wing opinion forming and debate and a chance for me to analyse, visual idiome of fists and stars, giving Wilders the opportunity look for common denominators, research and describe the to position himself as a scapegoat. These campaigns only seem current political design practice. to deepen the divide between pro and against, and keep the I would really appreciate your thoughts on these focus on the man’s discourse. Definitely an area that would issues. I would welcome pointers, names and websites, seriously benefit from the help of professional designers and good texts, essays, theories on the subject. Of course, even their talent and skills... more welcome are any designs, campaigns, concepts – old, I am very interested in how today’s designers can new, seen everywhere already, unpublished, unfinished, take part in politics and what today’s counterparts think not beyond a conceptual stage... Your submissions are very of the expressions of engagement from the 1970s. These welcome. All copyrights and special wishes will of course be were defined by the boundaries of the most easily accessible respected. This poem about voting by Hollie McNish really caught my attention. She’s a young poet I saw win a poetry slam at Cheltenham Literary Festival last year, and her words are always powerful and intelligent. Paula Benson, Partner, Form (www.form.uk.com) With thanks to Lucy Purling for design assistance.
  5. 5. Cameron makes His mark what the conservative logo tells us about what they want you to think words: alice ross alicerosswrites.coM It’s the kind of thing that happens all the time: a floundering company a well-worn cliché that it almost deserves its own category (although realises its brand has become toxic, and picks itself a youthful, dynamic the Liberal Democrats’ use of a bird to symbolise hope isn’t all that new CEO, who in turn embarks on a massive rebranding exercise, far off ). starting with a funky new logo. At the time it was suggested that the tree was intended to When David Cameron became the leader of the Conservative communicate “strength, endurance, renewal and growth,” and it does Party, the party’s logo featured a fist clenched around a burning torch. all of those things. The problem is, that brief seems designed to lead to, Within a year, he’d overhauled it completely, commissioning agency well, a tree. Perfect Day to create an altogether cuddlier image – one that he hoped Then there’s the kind of tree. Conservative Eurosceptics would would help him convince the electorate that his party had shed its ‘nasty have loathed a Dutch elm, while the left-leaning press would have party’ history and Thatcherite tendencies for a more modern, right-on enjoyed a weeping willow too much. No, it could only be an oak, with (and, hopefully, electable) future. its tones of Britishness, strength and history (and monarchy – think of In politics, nothing is quite that simple: the right-wing press all those pubs called The Royal Oak). promptly had conniptions over the cost of the new logo – although at The oak is moss-green, with a blue trunk that seems solely words: dabitch In political posters we’ve seen the disembodied head for every political a reported £40,000, it wasn’t off the charts for a rebranding exercise on designed to shoehorn the Conservative Party colour in. It’s rendered in adland.tv party that you can imagine, from the 27th President of the United this scale. Meanwhile, the Tory old guard lined up to slag it off: Norman mock brush strokes, with a rather dated scribbling motion presumably States, Bill Taft, to Chairman Mao. Tebbit said that the logo looked like “a bunch of broccoli”, while Lord aimed at communicating energy, spontaneousness, and enthusiasm. If In literature and cinema, we’ve seen The Wizard of Oz float Saatchi dismissed it as “nicey-nicey”. you wanted to put clear water between your new-look Tories and the bodiless above his chair, while Hitchcock employed disembodied Still, here we are, and David Cameron is Prime Minister. Not old school, with its stern vector logo looking like something from a heads in several movies, including Psycho and Vertigo. In what might with the crushing majority he might have hoped for, but he’s in No 10 Russian poster, you couldn’t do it more emphatically than this. be the worst movie of all time, Zardoz, Sean Connery prays to a giant nonetheless. That’s not purely down to the sparky new logo, obviously. At the end of the day, your view of a logo is inextricable from disembodied floating stone head. But at the risk of dragging you back to an election campaign that your feelings about what that logo stands for. The old logo would Street art brings us more bodiless heads, most recently you can seemed to last forever, the logo itself is worth looking at: what does it certainly have scared the bejesus out of many potential voters, so as find General Patton screaming at passers-by, and the well established tell us about how the Tories want to be seen? And is it any good? a reassuring gesture Cameron’s oak may well have served its purpose. world famous “Obey the giant” image is bluntly asking us to obey Needless to say, the logo is the result of intensive focus-grouping. But to me, it instantly recalls the 1980s – surely the last thing our new without the need to spell the word out any more. Would it be mean to suggest that this shows? For a start, there’s the icon overlords want us to be remembering. The strange thing is, we obey disembodied heads. The Church itself: picking a tree to show that you care about the environment is such of Sub genius knows this. Their god is Bob, the disembodied pipe- smoking head. And so does the tobacco industry, recall Reg on Smoking? He never had a body that would wither and die from the effects of tobacco. You know who else understood the power of the disembodied head? P.T.O
  6. 6. (Continued from previous page) poster: jack richardson www.flickr.coM/photos/jackrichardson
  7. 7. illustration: aaron easterbrook 07779 032699 / aaroneasterbrook@googleMail.coM