Commuting around the city one cannot help but take in the countless election campaign posters adorning the lampposts. The posters range from the drab to the sophisticated. I will be reviewing each poster and giving my two penny’s worth.
DA leads in election campaign poster design
The Democratic Alliance has adopted the American style to good effect; no doubt their posters as with their logo were inspired by the US election campaigns. The use of Mmusi Maimane is a well-thought stratagem in the party’s quest for the black vote, his youth and suave disposition might appeal to young black women, something that the Jewish-funded party is counting on. The DA leads the pack in sophistication and presentation and one should not be surprised if the ambitious official opposition, despite its fork-tongued talk on pro-black legislation and policies, manage to pull it off.
Following hot on the heels is the African National Congress (ANC), the ruling party posters at first glance seem to have been designed with the young voter in mind. However messages such as: “Step up for your hustle” and “Step up for your beliefs” do not necessarily resonate with the majority of the people the decade old movement is trying to reach out to. The use of Zuma is another downside, while the ‘funky’ design does the posters justice, the scandal-ridden presidential candidate does not. The ANC would have been better served by using neutral faces in their campaign posters.
AgangSA, the party with the coolest logo by far chose to stick to the ‘less is more’ rule when it comes to its campaign posters. Although its identifier colour is green, it resisted the urge to use that as the dominant colour on its posters opting instead for a white colour much to its credit. The frugal use of colour however could also be an economical decision, a sign that the London donor the party was courting did not come through. The party’s catchphrase: “Restoring the promise of freedom” aptly sums up what the party is all about, even I could not have come up with anything better that this . The simplicity of its presentation renders the message palatable and despite the compromised public image of its leader, it could be one of the parties to look out for.
Congress of the People (Cope) campaign posters are a victim of an over-zealous, bottom of the pile graphic designer. While the presentation itself is passable, what is it with the coloured-stripes? As soon as the eye moves away from the dominant image of Lekota, they are drawn to the unsightly stripes and the not-so-perfect curve they seem to try to create. Sadly it is the last thing that one sees and it does not leave a good impression.
The Inkatha Freedom Party, true to its tradition takes a no-nonsense, take-it-as-it-is approach in design and presentation. Its leader, the South African political fossil, Dr Mangosuthu Buthelezi occupies prime real estate on the party’s campaign posters. In keeping with the general appearance of the poster, the message: “The power is yours”, seems banal and lacking of ingenuity, however unlike other political messages that seem condescending to the voter, it is instead a reminder of the power that through the ballot the voter wields. However the poster is unsightly and does not stay in the mind after one passes it.
Someone should tell the Economic Freedom Fighters that people do not stop to read posters. Secondly; black and red colours do not make good friends. The campaign posters of the EFF are a design nightmare. Firstly the small black text is subsumed into the red background rendering it illegible. The full sized image of its leader does not stand out; it too becomes one with the background resulting in an unsightly mishmash of text and image. As I got closer to read the message I began to wonder as to whether the poster was intentionally designed in a way that would make it harder for people to read what was written on it. One of the promises reads: “We will increase social grants by 100%”. Any sane, educated person will sneer with contempt at the foolishness of such a message and it is at this point that the design and presentation flaws become a blessing.
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Your 2014 Election Summary
Smaller parties, notably, took a beating. AGANG never made it to the start and COPE became a footnote. The IFP's support was halved, a prime reason being the NFP (IFP rebels), entering the KZN political arena.