The ChallengeWhilst the existing brand is well established in political circles, the Electoral Reform Society wanted a refresh that would engage with new audiences, have better brand recognition, and would convey their values.
The ResultWorking with the Electoral Reform Society, we undertook a brand refresh for their main identity (and national sub-brands), with the goal of improving brand awareness and recognition, and appealing to all major political parties.
The Electoral Reform Society is an independent campaigning organisation working to champion the rights of voters and build a better democracy in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
In addition to working alongside them on the redesign of their website, we also undertook a brand refresh.
We worked with the client to identify numerous challenges and goals with the project. The Electoral Reform Society work with political parties on both sides of the Commons trying to secure a fairer voting system, which meant that the existing brand was well established within the political scene. We didn’t want a complete overhaul that would kill the existing brand recognition that the Electoral Reform Society had worked to achieve.
Colour was also a key concern – the Electoral Reform Society work with political parties, so it’s essential that they do not come across as partisan by incorporating colours associated with key political parties.
The work of the Electoral Reform Society is also about more than just political support. Major reform can only happen with the support of the people, and the Electoral Reform Society are funded by their supporters, so it‘s essential that the new brand can engage with new audiences, and distinguish itself from competitors.
What we did
We carried out an audit of the existing Electoral Reform Society logo, detailing what elements were effective and which were failing. We then mapped out what success would look like, and how we could achieve those goals.
One of the most effective elements of the existing logo was the accompanying symbol. It hinted at the political purpose behind the organisation, and carried with it a subtle hint at the Single Transferrable Vote system that the Electoral Reform Society believe would create a fairer democracy.
The elements that most needed addressing were colour, typography, and layout, with a particular emphasis on how the logo would perform in a digital setting; it had to be flexible enough to work on desktop devices, mobile phones, and on social media.
The colours used in the logo did not provide the Electoral Reform Society with enough creative flexibility; there were issues with accessibility which limited the use of the full palette. The colours used were also those that tended to be favoured by left leaning parties. The brand refresh had to reinforce that the Electoral Reform Society are an independant organisation.
The existing typography was difficult to scan, which can have a negative impact upon brand recall. The word “Society” is a differentiator between the Electoral Reform Society and some of their competitors, so in order to increase brand awareness and brand recognition, it was crucial that users were able to read, and remember the entirety of the brand name. The leading (the line height) on the existing logotype was too tight, and the typeface had very narrow apertures (these are the openings and enclosed negative space found in letters such as “c” and a double storey “a”). The combination of these factors made reading the logo an uncomfortable experience. The eye was not drawn down the logo, and this resulted in it being more unlikely that users would remember the brand name.
We explored a number of typeface options before settling on FF Din. It’s a strong and robust typeface, with a distinctive uppercase R. The apertures are nice and open, and it provides a pleasant reading experience.
The symbol, comprised of three ballot boxes, was redrawn with a stronger weight, and an alternate version was created for smaller sizes to ensure legibility. We adjusted the leading and general layout, providing more space for the logo to breathe. The combination of the new layout, typeface, and adjusted symbol also helped ensure the logo could scale to small sizes (essential for the mobile view of the website and for social media profile images).
The word “Society” was also given a lighter weight than those words stacked above it. This was to provide an unusual, memorable element to the logo, and to draw the eye down to the final word; encouraging a user to consume the logo in its entirety. This approach performed well under user testing with flash cards (a lean technique to test unaided brand recall).
The final element we addressed was colour. It was our belief that a bold use of colour, and a daring colour scheme, could help the Electoral Reform Society logo stand out in a crowded space.
We decided to narrow the colour palette, a move that could be seen as restrictive (particularly when compared to the previous colour scheme), but we felt the visual elements of the brand required more focus. The new bold, and focused, colour scheme will help move towards the goal that in the future, just a glimpse of the logo symbol atop a certain colour, will become recognisable as the Electoral Reform Society.
The Electoral Reform Society also required logos for their Scotland, Northern Ireland and Cymru bases. It was important that these sub-brand stand out, without overpowering the umbrella Electoral Reform Society brand. The use of a tertiary colour helped to provide a differentiator. Once again, we had to be sensitive to political issues; the use of reds, orange and green had to be avoided. and
“Even though our name says exactly who we are, we’ve long suffered from members of the public getting us confused with other organisations. Reason Digital’s refresh has kept the core of our brand recognition, whilst further differentiating us from everyone else in our field”