With the recent election coming up, we’ve all seen the posters for the different parties, and they have recently expanded into social media, with David Cameron and Ed Miliband using it the most successfully.
But print is still a huge factor for the election, with posters, leaflets and letters being sent out over the recent months about each political party and what they stand for, but just who comes out on top when print is involved.
According to printweek’s analysis the Conservative party appear to have the biggest print budget, compared to the other parties, the Conservative party have decided to print with At mailer, this where the voter’s Christian name will appear in the election message on both sides of the paper. The Tories have also gone big, with a folder A2 door drop poster, whereas the Labour version was A3. As well as this Labour party also develop a 4pp newspaper.
The Conservative party have released two different styles of a mini 8pp A-5 magazine style design that shows, and the design of the magazine does not look at all like it is made for the Conservative party. Portsmouth printer Bishop Printers have developed mailers and leaflets for both the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party.
“We have done a quite substantial amount of work relating to the Election – both directly for principally the Lib Dems and Green Party, but also indirectly for all other parties through our trade customers,” says managing director Gareth Roberts.
It is a more personal feeling by getting leaflets and mailing through the door than it is on social media, for example a door drop leaflet can reinforce the candidate at a more local level, he goes on to say “The candidates and their teams can do all the tweets and Facebook messaging they like, but I think knowing they have delivered concise and key messages through the doors of, say, 50,000 residences gives them great reassurance. I would expect every party in every area will have spent as much on print this campaign as they did in 2010,
The Green Party are practising what they preach and making a statement by choosing to only print on recycled or FSC-accredited paper stocks, and are also using billboards for their campaign.
We’ve also seen some election leaflets that are veritable crimes against graphic design and typography. In the interests of championing the power of print at this crucial time, we’re drawing a veil over those particular examples.
Other calamities highlighted in the national media include typos, mix-ups over constituency names and a plethora of mis-placed apostrophes and grammatical errors.
In the local and European elections last year PrintWeek revealed that both UKIP and the Labour Party had dropped something of a clanger by having election materials printed at Saxoprint in Germany – oh, the perils of web-to-print purchasing, where the factory behind the web portal could be absolutely anywhere.
This time around, it looks like the Labour Party machine has stamped out such embarrassing and easily avoidable errors, but UKIP is the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to egg-on-face incidents – the party managed to print ‘Believe in Britain’ leaflets delivered in Cheltenham in Germany (again), this time via web-to-print specialist Onlineprinters. What’s more, the printer doesn’t even have the sort of UK limited company address that caused confusion five years ago. Oh dear, oh dear.
Talking of cock-ups, an unfortunate fold on an election leaflet for Conservative candidate Matthew Hancock (not much imagination is required to envisage what word appears next to his face when it is folded in half) caused widespread amusement in the West Suffolk district.
Perhaps the pièce de résistance (thus far at least) in terms of election-related print gaffes comes via Signcraft in West Drayton, which hit the headlines after greeting VIP visitor, budding local MP, and current Major of London Boris Johnson with a bespoke printed poster that proclaimed ‘We love you Borris’.
A hasty reprint ensued amidst much hilarity, not least from BoJo himself who in typical man of the people style said “he preferred it that way”.
Now, with just days before the election itself, the postal votes have been cast and come Thursday 7 May all attention will be focused on millions of boring-but-important polling cards and ballot papers.
An example of the scale of the print that surrounds the actual voting operation comes via Adare, one of the printers tasked with producing a chunk of this collateral. “We’re producing 1.2m postal voting packs, 5m polling cards, 7m ballot papers, 100,000 ballot books and 600 different types of envelopes across 40 councils,” says the firm’s chief executive Robert Whiteside.
Power to the people when it comes to choosing this country’s next government is facilitated by the power of print.