It's funny sometimes how we can forget that not everyone is online or really needs to be online. We are becoming complacent due to our laissez-faire attitude that social media will reach everyone, but sorry guys, it won’t. Good news for the political postcard or brochure, you’re still relevant!
We really need to put our best foot forward when designing materials like this because it may be the first and only time that a voter hears about you or your campaign. A good first impression is important because the competition is always elevated around election time. There are numerous factors you need to be aware of; content, images, colors all play a vital role. We are going to talk about our tips to creating the best brochure you can for any campaign going forward.
This is the starting point; know exactly what you want to communicate to your voters. Normally people running for election have lots of things to say and when it comes to getting it all onto 3 pages of paper, a significant amount of editing has to occur. We need to focus on key content, what separates you from your competition, remember always to keep it clear and simple.
The rise of the tri-fold: The tri-fold has proved the popular choice for lots of people running for office in 2016, simply because you can fit more into it than the postcard size leaflet we are used to seeing. As you can see below, US presidential candidate Dr.Ben Carson opted for the tri-fold option, containing a brief background, his days as a surgeon and reasons why you should elect him. While it looks a bit text heavy, the images used are simple and his message isn’t compromised.
Set out your stall from the beginning, placing one idea in each paragraph. Keep your sentences short and snappy as this will help grab the readers attention. One thing I find very important when putting content together is to use informative headings. It helps you scan through the leaflet quickly and take away the main points without feeling like you’ve been made work hard for them.
Separating your brochure under common headings such as :
- Social welfare
Sections detailing your stance on policy are always important to voters and outlining them in bullet points helps give a concise overview when you need to limit your text.
It’s also important to have your contact details visible:
- Address of office/clinic
- Contact number
- social media channels
If you are a member of a political party you must align yourself with them when designing your brochure. This means using the party colors and using the party slogan, usually located on the front page of your brochure. Independent candidates have a little more freedom in this department but make sure that the colors aren't overpowering because the messaging is the most important part. Photographs are a strong visual tool, so your leaflet should include at least one shot of the candidate. Natural headshots are the preferred pick amongst the Irish candidates which can be seen above in Anne Marie Dermody’s leaflet from the 2016 Election.
Other visual options worth considering is an image of you working in the community and any polls or graphs to help illustrate your point in a clear manner. We always tell our users to keep in mind that people will only glance at election material, so make sure they remember you!
Let us never forget Booby Sands…
Sinn Fein TD Mary Lou McDonald made the faux pas earlier this year when her campaign leaflet read Booby Sands instead of Bobby after the Irish Republican prisoner.
Mistakes like this are usually the butt of jokes but they are the ones you are remembered for, so it’s best to proofread everything before sending it to print. Printers will usually put the onus on you to ensure the copy has been proofed so there is no comeback there.
Call to Action
Aside from the obvious "asking for the vote", we would strongly advise a section asking people to get involved. This call to action needs to stand out from all other sections and should include more contact information. Your leaflet is a tool to not only secure a vote but also a tool to help you grow your team.