How do those responsible for running an election measure success? Clear objectives need to set at the beginning of the election process in order to determine its overall success. Two key goals are common in most elections; one is to get enough nominees of the right calibre to run as candidates, and two is to encourage the electorate to cast their vote. In UK Engage’s experience both objectives rely on one thing – how engaged people are in the election process. Having participated in and supported hundreds of elections for public sector organisations including NHS Foundation Trusts, social housing providers and universities, UK Engage has found that the success of an election can be associated directly to engagement.
So how do we go about improving voter engagement? How do we try to make members feel more involved with and engaged in the electoral process? UK Engage believes that the effective use of colour and design in electoral materials such as nomination forms, candidate statements, election notices, ballot papers and marketing materials can improve electoral engagement and make a significant contribution to a more successful election. For example, statistics taken from elections for Homes for Haringey and Sheffield Health & Social Care show that voter turnout doubled after election materials were redesigned in colour. And, while colour design and printing is more costly than black and white, the experience of our customers suggests that the extra cost is more than justified, no longer is it a case of can you afford to print in colour and more can you afford not to.
Why is colour so important in electoral engagement?
Although many election managers may choose to stick with black and white election forms such as candidate nomination forms and ballot papers due to tight budget restrictions, the statistical evidence available would suggest that this approach may be a false economy. Various studies clearly demonstrate that colour communicates better than black and white. Indeed, research shows that colour visuals increase a subject’s willingness to read by as much as 80%. More importantly for those organisations wishing to improve engagement and increase voter turnout, further research discovered that the use of colour can increase motivation and participation by up to 80 per cent, and can enhance learning and improve retention by as much as 75%
So why is colour so appealing? It appears that it simply appeals more to our senses. We process the information around us in colour, so naturally respond more favourably to it. Text is physically analysed by the left hand side of the brain, whereas colour is processed by the right. Materials that combine both text and colour accelerate the mind’s ability to assimilate and understand printed materials. Colour gives viewers an extra visual ‘tag’ and can help us to process, store and retain images and information more efficiently. In fact, the understanding of any document can be increased by as much as 80 per cent if colour materials are used.
There is clear evidence that the use of colour materials, in conjunction with the election support of an experienced electoral services provider like UK Engage, can make a significant contribution to the success of any election. Customers like Homes for Haringey and Sheffield Health & Social Care have experienced improved voter engagement and turnout, ultimately helping to achieve their election objectives.
For more information about electoral engagement, election services, voting, surveys, scrutineering, adjudication services, member engagement and referendum management: –
Call UK Engage on 0161 209 4808 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
References:  &  Loyola University School of Business, Chicago, IL., as reported in Hewlett-Packard’s Advisor, June 1999; (http://www.hpadvisor.com).  &  Pantone Institute, The Power of Colour http://www.mondigroup.com/products/PortalData/1/Resources/microsite_dsf/presentations/03_DSF_Transpromo_Kodak.pdf