The Labour party is finished; it’s time to invent a new party of the left — Stephen Moss.
With the Labour party seemingly on the brink of self destruct Guardian journalist Stephen Moss spent a month trying to work out a credible alternative. He asked us to help brand it. Fast.
This is Britain… was the first name we came up with.
Because it is, this is Britain. But not the Britain of the 80s, this is Britain today. Factual and proud, the name is honest and collective… all of this is our Britain, let’s sort it out.
Our brief from Stephen was, in the event of Labour’s collapse, create a political party capable of uniting all the now fragmented sections.
Read his full piece here — sound political research, in depth analysis and considered innovative vision. What you see here is the creativity, minimum viable brand strategy — we had days only to do this— clean logos and font love.
Over there for innovative political chat, stay right here for innovative political logo chat.
Back to ‘This is Britain…’ It created a sense that we’re in this together by throwing branded arms around the whole country, and it works great as a statement. Kinda sneaky.
Here’s Designer Nick Wavish on the font choice:
Gill Sans is the quintessential British typeface. From the steam railway to the BBC to *that* poster, it seems to crop up wherever we need a dose of good old reassurance. As one of the original humanist typefaces Gill embodies the British stiff upper lip wonderfully making it a natural choice to launch from.
But there were problems.
Firstly it’s a blatant rip of Shane Meadow’s marvellous ‘This Is England’. And it was too — I watched the trailer for the latest instalment minutes before coming up with it.
Second, it’s a bit big. The last thing we really need now is a big promise, or oddly more pride.
‘This is Britain…’ tells us who it is, but not what it’s going to do, or how it’s going to do it.
We needed something fresh — simple, humble, practical. Something that worked harder. And we needed it quickly.
Our second name, suggest by Mark Whelan, was ‘Just’.
That’s it. ‘Just’. Or that’s just it.
No big statement here. Just a simple promise of fairness, and social justice.
Nick on fonts again:
We moved on to Transport. Transport is no-less a British typeface but it’s a little more obscure than Gill. Ironically it’s actually far more ubiquitous having been designed for the Motorway system, so you see it every day… even GOV.UK uses a version of it. It was this subconscious familiarity with the fabric of the country that we wanted to hit upon.
‘Just’ almost made it. We really liked it. Only four letters — direct, honest, hard to argue against and really fun to write off. The sentence thing from ‘This Is Britain…’ really carried through.
We even came up with a logo that was happy-ish.
Why not? You never see that kind of thing in politics. It’s all so ‘correct’. This was charming and human. Positive. It says ‘things are getting better.’
It went right to the line, but sadly ‘Just’ is out there already in the US, and that gave us pause.
‘Just’ was great at simple, humble and positive, but it fails at collective and it’s not fresh.
It tells us what it’s going to do, but not how it’s going to do it.
Damn. I loved the idea of www.justpolitics.com.
Hours to go, no logo and seriously, this is what we did — we stopped.
Went to bed.
Saying “we would wake up with the answer.”
And so it was!
Platform was there waiting in the morning. Literally the first thing I thought of.
Platforms already exists in politics. They are the group of policies a party stand on. Interestingly a policy is called a Plank which i learned on wikipedia at 6am, which is the first page I looked at — Plank would have been a fun name.
Anyway, in marketing, platform is a very common phrase. A platform idea is something that all work is built on.
So a platform idea in this instance would be an idea that enables many parties to stand together. That’s actually the brief?!
So that’s why I thought of it that morning. I didn’t really click that it was a political word already — although I knew it somewhere in my brain from general use I suppose.
So take the brief literally, and given it also means party policies, then you’d call this PLATFORM. You simply would.
PLATFORM. For Parties To Stand On.
It’s nice when your brain does the work for you when you are asleep.
Then its all gravy from there, graphically make it very solid and stack things on top of it.
This brand, unlike the two prior, actually tells us how it’s going to do it. It’s going to create a platform for many different types of political party to stand together. Again go to Stephen for the details.
It does what it says and it looks like what it does. No messin’.
Akzidenz Grotesk got the Platform gig because it felt that we were going back to the roots of socialism. So with a nod to Marx and Engels this German victorian sans — a precursor to Helvetica — started to make sense. It’s loud but clean, assertive but not too shouty, and there’re enough rough edges to it to give a sense of urgency, rather than the stoicism of the other two.
Now, in an amazing piece of serendipity or perhaps just natural outcome, Stephen was also waiting for this name to land.
His research had led him to a theory about getting the existing to work together in new ways, rather than create something new.
A new party simply wasn’t enough. It had to be a new way of working. Something much bigger.
What I like about this is it embraces the problem. A classic creative trick. Don’t hide.
The problem here is fragmentation. If you try and ignore it and create something new, you are just adding to it. Therefore fragmentation is the answer, not the problem. Better to face it and make a strength of it.
The answer here is collaboration — make a platform for collaboration. If that wasn’t simple enough, call that platform, PLATFORM. A political term for party values.
Also this is digital culture in action. Solving the problem through a platform, collaboration and open minds. This is exactly the Work Club way.
If this idea was ever delivered it could have real digital soul, and be built on service design. It could be exactly what we need to change the political game and introduce digital in a meaningful way.
Now that’s a brief!
Create a service platform to make politics what we need it to be. Anyway, that’s another day. For now…
B.I.N.G.O. Everyone’s happy.
Funny how creativity can work out that way.