Less than a fortnight left, and the latest political leaflet for Chris Tregenza to examine and then repeatedly bang his head against the brick wall over; this time from Soubry and the Independent Change Something Something Are They Still Going Party.
Chris also had a great spot while perusing Twitter – which he does each day in a manner that cannot be deemed healthy – and finding a rare tweet in support of banned-from-the-constituency Amy Della Mura:
Ah, ok. I’m sure Amy is a patriot in the sense of a mythical England with no brown people, homosexuals or anyone whose cultural outlook dares straight past 1952.
But hold on, who is that warrior behind the slogans?
Oh, hold on, isn’t that woman who fought in the 15th Century, whatshername….
Ah yes. Joan of Arc. That English patriot who loved this country so much she went to war against it. Joan of bleeding Arc.
Will the standards rise with our latest leaflet review? Over to Chris to find out….
Politics By Design – Judging politicians by their leaflets No: 5. – Anna Soubry – The Independent What-Are-We-Called Again Party
Overall: In a bold and expensive move, Anna Soubry has opted for a four-page tabloid newspaper as her latest leaflet. Given her previous leaflet was awful, I plucked this missive from my letterbox with trepidation.
Colour Use: Whereas leaflets tend to be a glossy white paper, the quality newsprint used for Anna’s tabloid is a natural off-white. This works nicely with the overall colour palette however the designer has gone a bit over the top in giving each block of text or headline it’s own colour. The individual parts work well but collectively they lack cohesion or anything that ties them together. A problem which will sound familiar to Anna Soubry.
Typography: The body text is highly readable with a nice, crisp modern font and the headlines are similarly well done but with typesetting the devil is in the details. There’s about 10% more text then is really desirable. A sentence cut here, a word there would give the designer a bit more whitespace to play with. Plus the use of bold fonts in the body text is heavy-handed – almost as if Anna was leaning over the designer’s shoulder going “Bold that line, and that sentence, and that paragraph and that …”
There are some crimes against readability in the header and footer bars. Coloured text on a coloured background requires a very careful chosen palette when used on paper. I bet it looks great on the designer’s monitor but in print it’s a waste of ink. (If anyone wants my lecture on the difference between emitted colour and reflective colour, find me in a pub and wait until the third pint).
Images: The Good – Lots of photos of Anna with people, all clearly amatuer shots but decent photos which are used well to give a sense of authenticity.
The Bad – There’s a weird border applied to some text boxes. It’s use is erratic, pointless and the line itself is some odd micro-pattern. I think this is a deliberate choice but it could be a strange printing glitch.
The Downright Fuggly – The top-right of the back page is dominated by an ill-conceived, badly done graphic trying to show Soubry as the centre ground between the two extremes of Boris and Jeremy. I described a similar image on Darren Henry’s leaflet as a “gold-plated turd”, this one is more a goldie-looking turd.
Truthiness: There are quite a lot of statements here about her constituency work and I’m pretty sure local Labour and Lib-Dem councillors will have views Anna’s claims. However there are no massive porkies.
Message: There is almost no mention of Anna’s party name nor a single appearance of her party’s appalling logo. This is a smart move and I think it was a colossal mistake forming a political party in the first place. Setting themselves up as a loose group of truly independent MPs would have given Anna and her gang a unique selling point when large parts of the electorate are fed up with the major parties.
The paper focuses on two key messages – Anna the hard-working local MP and Anna attracting support from voters across the political spectrum. These are good choices but her role as a Remain hero (at least to some) is remarkably low key. This is a mistake.
Independent candidates cannot win seats unless they clearly stand for something. That’s why most who get elected tend to be single-issue candidates but according to this leaflet, Anna doesn’t stand for anything other than being a vaguely competent MP (citation needed) .Summary: Going with the tabloid paper format and getting a half-decent designer involved is a great move by Soubry but it falls short and fails to capitalise on the opportunity. Anna has escaped the fetid prison of the Tory party but like many ex-cons, she is struggling to define herself in the outside world.
Chris Tregenza doesn’t have a real job so spends his time on Twitter as @Tregenza