Jenna Steely is a designer/maker in the Bay Area working toward a more progressive future.
thumbnailsLabour2.png

2015 UK General Election

UK General Election 2015

Client: The UK Labour Party

Project type: Election Campaign (Social media, email, website components)


The challenge: In the spring of 2015, I shipped off to London to join the Labour Party's digital team ahead of the UK general election. A brilliant but awkward underdog named Ed Miliband was challenging the then-current Prime Minister and Conservative Party supervillain David Cameron to his place at 10 Downing Street. This was my first taste of #campaignlife, and an experience unlike anything I have ever encountered in my professional life before. 

The process: The campaign pace was grueling, but the Labour digital team were some of the kindest and most passionate people I have ever had the pleasure to work with. And they desperately needed a designer. I dove headfirst into a combination role of strategic partner and production monkey, as learned how the parliamentary system works. I even eventually came to enjoy the subtleties of British politics and language. (they're so polite!)

 

The result: Six weeks, countless cups of tea and over 800 graphics later, the Labour Party suffered a defeat far worse than any of the polls had ever predicted. (Note: This was a year before Brexit, and 2 years before Trump. In hindsight, we've got quite a problem on our hands regarding the inaccuracy of pre-election polling methods.)

In the fallout, there was plenty of discussion over what went wrong, but I learned a valuable lesson: despite being the most successful online campaign the UK has ever seen (measured by KPIs of online fundraising, reach and volunteer activation), if the broader public outside of your echo chamber isn't buying what you're selling, you simply can't win.

So you have a good cry, retreat to lick your wounds, then get back out there to fight the good fight for progress.

Above is a small sampling of the graphics I created over the course of the campaign. We'd often design a graphic with variations to see which language and styles performed the best. Graphics were planned around whatever the policy team was pushing that day, along with the unplanned heaps of rapid response to moments happening on the campaign trail, and a smattering of good ideas worth exploring along the way. 

 

We made this fun little interactive emoji Election Day Planner to encourage people to plan out when they would get to their polling station. 

 

Along with social posts, I designed many many graphics for all of the Labour Party's various social media accounts, and created resources for party members to show their support.