Lessons from Canada: political poster design

Whilst I was in Canada, there was a Provincial election under way in British Columbia. I snapped a few photos of the election posters as some things struck me in particular about them:

1. Both the two main parties in the Provincial elections (Liberals and NDP) predominantly used blue on their posters, and it also featured heavily on the Conservative posters (also rans in BC elections, even though in power federally). Although the NDP have an orange stripe across them, overall it’s easy to miss which party is doing best in the poster campaign in an area given this similarity in colour. It’s a good reminder of why dayglow orange works so well for Liberal Democrat poster campaigns – it’s clearly different.

2. Most of the posters were small, even when in places where nearly all the people seeing it would be passing in traffic. Although there were some larger posters, small predominated. Add to this the similarity in colour and shape and the impact of the posters is further undermined. Again, a healthy reminder about the benefits of Liberal Democrat diamond posters as the distinctive shape and colour means you can know what you’ve passed, even if you only got a very brief glance.

3. A lot of the posters were situated parallel to the edge of the road or pavement, making them much harder to see as someone passing would only see the thin end of the poster for most of the time. Not clear why this was so common as it was followed even in cases where there didn’t appear to be any issues about protuding onto the public highway. I didn’t spot any of the usual ingenuity used in Britain to locate posters in places where drivers can easily see them, even if there is a blocking wall or hedge. Instead, the habit seemed to be one of plonking the poster in an easy if ineffective location.

4. The one Green party poster I spotted was obviously different from a long way away…

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