With the big vote coming ever closer on June 8th I decided to look at colour and symbolism within some of the political parties’ branding.
Nowadays everyone knows that Conservatives are blue, labour red, Liberal Democrats yellow and greens… erm, green, but that hasn’t always been the case, early Labour occasionally used green, Liberals used blue and the Conservatives had dalliances with red! These variations were even different locally to the colours used by the same party elsewhere, but with the advent of colour TVs these colours seem to have stabilised into the familiar ones we know today, it makes sense to have obviously different party colours even if it’s just to be forewarned when opening your front door on canvassing days!
The Conservatives use Blue predominantly within their branding, blue is traditionally associated with peace, trust and has an air of integrity, however on the negative side it can be seen as cold and clinical.
Prior to the current symbol, a blazing torch was the emblem of the Conservative movement and was, interestingly, used by Labour in their early days, now the current branding features a scribbled tree. It was initially rough and chalk-like, nowadays it has been simplified with an added Union Jack. In my opinion, the symbolism of the brand has lost it’s way a little compared to the red, white and blue torch that came before. The tree is a representation of an Oak tree, it’s the national tree of England and has been an image of pride and patriotism for centuries so I’m assuming they figured it’s a symbol that would resonate with a lot of voters.
The Labour movement is relatively new compared to the conservatives, it was born out of a need for a fairer deal for the working classes, and the socialist party has used red predominantly in the modern era as its brand colour. The colour red is seen as warm, positive and physical, however it has negative connotations with anger and war and, generally in the west, communism.
The main emblem for Labour for a while now has been the rose, there have been a few iterations over the years and although the new flat colour version isn’t as obvious as previous roses, it’s harder to see when knocked white out of a red background, it ties in well with the whole brand and sends out a strong and powerful message. The rose itself, is a national emblem, just like the Conservative tree and was probably chosen for similar reasons the Conservatives chose their tree emblem.
The Liberal Democrats
When the new Liberal Democratic Party was formed, initially the colour used was orange but more recently a softer yellow has been used (sometimes referred to as as ‘gold’). Yellow is a vibrant colour that evokes freshness, light, uplifting feelings and happiness, on the flip-side, however, yellow is the colour of illness, egotism and cowardice.
In 1988, when the new Lib Dems were founded, the branding was a rather ugly orange diamond with black writing and a small bird of liberty overlaid, more recently the colour has been refined to yellow and has the additional colourisation of the flying bird of liberty, AKA ‘Libby’, the emblem itself is an elegant symbol with gradient shading to give it a pseudo-3D effect, the whole brand gives a clean crisp and uplifting feeling, which is precisely what the designer was probably aiming at, interestingly opinion about the logo within the party are split and it could have been dropped however, it was saved by the results of a poll.