Branding a new wave of British politics

Whatever your political leanings, there's no escaping our tumultuous times. Still reeling from a Brexit referendum that fell on a side nobody really expected, the two big parties crumble as new political movements pop up left, far-right and centre. Meanwhile—pouncing on the brief Easter Recess Brexit news vacuum—Extinction Rebellion exploded onto the scene and deftly placed itself centre stage.

All this change has brought four new political logos to our screens, which we're likely to see a hell of a lot more of in the coming months and I’d wanted to take a quick look at here.

I’ll start with the Brexit Party, which Farage explained he had ‘come out of semi-retirement' to launch. (Never mind he is still a Member of the European Parliament and therefore in no position for his self-declared semi-retirement.)

The whole thing is more like a logo a bank might use to promote a new cheque paying-in service

The whole thing is more like a logo a bank might use to promote a new cheque paying-in service

It's by no means awful but does lack finesse, like a Fiverr commissioned logo or something knocked up of an evening on the sofa, with half your attention on the kids prancing around the living room refusing to brush their teeth and go to bed.

The arrow suggests a large mass moving boldly forward but I'm not sure why there's a chunk missing from its back. A hint to an emergency exit sign? An abstract letter 'E' and ‘X’ for the Europe we should have long since eXited (FedEx, much)? Whatever the answer, it probably places too much demand on the perceptive powers of its intended audience.

Helvetica stops the choice of typeface saying much at all, while the condensed cut suggests urgency. The heavier 'BREXIT' leaves no doubt about the party's narrow gamut of policy.

The choice of colour is curious, a tone of blue perhaps chosen simply because it's very much not the gaudy purple and yellow of UKIP, the red that Vote Leave stole from Labour, or the red white and blue Theresa's failed to deliver. Like the type, it's trying to say nothing at all really. The whole thing is more like a logo a bank might use to promote a new cheque paying-in service than the foundation of a serious political party.

Of course, if all goes as the Brexit Party hopes we'll be out of Europe and their logo will become redundant. So maybe it's supposed to be a bit throwaway.

Moving on, to the confusingly monikered Change UK The Independent Group.

How to design a visual identity before you have any idea what you stand for

How to design a visual identity before you have any idea what you stand for

Crikey. The four stripes are like a bit of cheap knock-off Adidas sportswear or a redacted section of the Mueller Report. The text doesn't even line up with itself. The way 'UK' sits out there on its own makes it read more like 'Change The Independent Group'. As a social media avatar it fails completely—the type isn't legible at icon size, and using the stripes on their own just makes it look like a hamburger menu.

It's confusing, void of emotion and lacks any kind of flair. It's the perfect example of designing a visual identity before you have any idea who you are or what you stand for. The Independent Group could have come up with something bold and daring—God knows the country is crying out for it. What a waste.

Third up, we have the official logo for the new Yes Campaign here in Scotland.

You can't help thinking about multiculturalism and people of many different persuasions coming together

You can't help thinking about multiculturalism and people of many different persuasions coming together

Launched only a few days ago and very much fuelled by the chaos of Brexit, the SNP have been careful to position Indyref 2.0 as the beginning of a movement which will only prevail by listening carefully and including everyone; where Brexit is anti-foreigner and pro British protectionism, Yes 2.0 is all about opening the country's arms to new people and new ideas.

I think the new logo suggests these things beautifully—it's bursting with life, you can't help thinking about multiculturalism and people of many different persuasions coming together. Crucially, it's sufficiently different from the old version to say this is something new, not just a rerun of the 2014 referendum.

Grassroots campaigners will grab it and quickly make it their own, so I'll be interested to see how it evolves in their hands over the coming months.

Finally, we have Extinction Rebellion.

It borrows just enough militancy from the CND logo or the anarchists' circled ‘A’

It borrows just enough militancy from the CND logo or the anarchists' circled ‘A’

I really love this. It's a brilliantly simple, bold, instantly recognisable and unique logo—a rare achievement these days. The shape is obviously an hourglass, expressing the urgency of their campaign, but also borrows just enough militancy from the CND logo or the anarchists' circled ‘A’.

One need only study the circular logo for a second to be able to reproduce it accurately by hand. It works as a 50ft tall banner or the smallest icon on a digital display screen.

The type is soft but full of energy, in a typeface every middle-aged brit recognises. It harks back to the propaganda posters of the 1940s, when loose lips sunk ships and everyone dug for Britain.

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