Creative Weekly: SDA Posters, Chee's Campaign Tees, Independent Horse
Time to vote! This GE has been far from civil, but hopefully this creative weekly would help you take your mind off politics for a while and appreciate the creativity which goes into making campaigns work (or not). Try to savour the moment, this only happens twice a decade.
This is the second GE2020 edition of creative weekly. The first one can be found here.
Singapore Democratic Alliance’s Posters
The SDA used to be a formidable opposition party, but support for them has been muted in the past 2 GEs. In fact, SDA chief Desmond Lim holds the record for the lowest vote share in an election (0.57% or 168 votes during the 2013 Punggol-East by-election) since Singapore’s independence.
Nonetheless, their posters have always been different from standard candidate portraits, breaking the monotony of election poster designs.
These posters may have broken a design rule or two, but they would make you stop to take a second look. The copy is hard-hitting but rather off-brand for candidates who are gentler in their approach to politics compared to their contemporaries. Pairing “you make them pay” with a smiley, thumbs-up Desmond Lim reminds me of Michael Scott from The Office - well-meaning but toothless.
When West Coast GRC candidate Tan Cheng Bock visited Desmond Lim on the campaign trail to promote opposition solidarity, a special poster was added to the collection. Just imagine how vibrant campaign aesthetics would be if all parties used bold colour palettes.
On a branding note, the phrase “touch your heart and ask yourself, why” used repeatedly on the campaign trail is powerful and effective, especially so when paired with an illustration of senior citizens living in poverty. It forces you to self-reflect.
Chee Soon Juan For Bukit Batok Tees
Dr Chee Soon Juan’s second bid to win Bukit Batok SMC is supported by volunteers who wear custom tees featuring his face in stencil.
I have always found it weird to wear a person’s face on a tee, but this design was quite tastefully done. However, detractors may interpret it as an attempt at personality-centred politics. A 4Y1N (SDP’s campaign name) graphic could have been a better choice.
If you want to see an example of how NOT to design a campaign tee, look no further than Marymount SMC candidate Dr Ang Yong Guan’s battle armour.
Please stick to the party shirt, doctor…
Not Horsing Around
In a rage against the political machine, independent candidate for Pioneer SMC Cheang Peng Wah believes he is answering the call by Lee Kuan Yew when he said he would “get up when things go astray”.
In an interview with Today, Cheang said he chose a horse symbol to represent how hard he would work for the residents of Pioneer SMC, like a workhorse. According to him, his monochromatic campaign attire ‘mirrors that of the Japanese Cabinet’, which is a stretch - just because one wears yellow does not mean one is dressed like an emperor.
Printed on the back of his campaign shirt appears to be the same graphic as his Facebook account’s cover photo. The right side shows the chinese character 爱, meaning love, while some random icons of nature adorn the left. Unfortunately, I could not find any reference to what this symbol means.
Cheang selected the horse symbol from a list provided by the Elections Department (ELD), which included a rhinoceros and a torchlight.
ELD should seriously consider using icons from the same icon family which share the same stroke thickness and art style. Now, this just looks like a page off a cheap colouring book.
Bonus: Political Mortal Kombat
Amid the election chaos on the Internet comes a definitive battle for Singapore’s favourite political avatar. A Good Citizen’s Parliament Deathmatch sees a colourful cast of politicians battling each other, irrespective of electoral boundaries and party affiliations.
Wins are determined by the number of Facebook reactions per fighter, and the fatalities are brutal.
The avatars make references to some noteworthy quotes this season - Heng Swee Keat’s East Coast Plan and Chan Chung Sing’s ‘cotton sheep’. Oh, and Yam Ah Mee makes a comeback as the battle commentator. What more could one ask for this season?
Now these avatars are what I would consider wearing on a tee.
Creative Weekly is a roundup of local news stories from a design angle. Explore Singapore’s design scene with us on Facebook and Instagram.