Brand Refresh for 2021 Political Candidate

Brand Identity & Website Design
Role: UX Designer, Graphic Designer, Web Designer
Client: Attorney General Candidate
Tools: Adobe XD, Wordpress, Illustrator, Photostop
Deliverable: Website

Attorney General for 2021 political campaign hired me to redesign their website, logo, and overall branding in order to reach a wider demographic and increase engagement.

(It should be noted that, while the content on the campaign website was drafted and created by me, I do not identify or align myself with one political party or another.)

Background

Understanding the Problem

Client wanted to have a more "seemingly modern" website along with an inspiring logo that better reflected the Attorney General Candidate.

Defining the Goal

Redesign the website, logo, and overall branding to present a polished product that better represented the candidate and decreased bounce rate.

Getting Oriented

Since my experience in politics was rather small, my first step was learning more about the space. I asked me client questions such as:

  • "What does success with this project look like to you?"
  • "What are your values as a candidate?"
  • "Who would you like to see an increase in engagement from?"
  • "Who are your primary supporters?"

Competitive Analysis

The next step was seeing how other political teams had approached their website and logo design. I researched, not only Attorney General candidates within State, but all candidates who ran for any office within the last five years via https://ballotpedia.org/. I also looked at political logo designs and how they have evolved, with great reference materials likehttps://www.ebaqdesign.com/blog.

Original Campaign Logo

Identifying Users

With these questions we arrived at users being equally male or female, predominantly conservative, with an age range of 35 to 60. (Further notes were taken, and, in the interest of remaining politically neutral in this post, am happy to provide on a case by case basis).

User Interviews

I was able to make a quick change to the website, adding a new field to the existing "Volunteer Form" to include "Provide Feedback." I also asked the team to submit posts on their social media platforms asking the same and was able to meet with 7 users, asking them:

  • "What do you expect from a campaign website?"
  • "When visiting a campaign website, what is your intended purpose?"
  • "How do you normally go about making donations to political campaigns?"
Volunteer Form used

Key Feedback

  • Users did not want a "fancy looking site" but wanted to be presented "with the facts."
  • Users did not want to spend time having to find the donation link.
  • Users wanted to understand who the candidate was, what their values were, and identify whether or not they could see themselves supporting said candidate.
  • They felt that the color Red really embodied their political beliefs.

Design

UX Audit

Given the feedback I got from users, I began an audit of the existing website compared with best UX Practices. Findings below.

Mood Board

After presenting the client with my findings I put together a small mood board to refine branding and restructure colors.

Wireframes

Before diving into XD, I wanted to get my thoughts onto paper so that, without being too committed to one direction or another, I could begin thinking through possible design solutions.

Logo Design

I began developing logos in Illustrator with the research I had conducted so far. I knew that ultimately, my design would have to convey strength and either have Red in it or reference the state of Virginia.

Wordpress

With the research, user interviews, and branding in a stable place, I began learning how to build a website on Wordpress.

I had experience on Wix and Squarespace and thought wordpress would be pretty similar. I was  wrong in my assumption.

1st Iteration

With research, feedback from users, and wireframes in hand I was able to produce the first iteration of the website.

My design implementations were as follows:

  • Decreased the amount of items in the Nav Bar from 8 to 5
  • Removed drop down items in the Nav Bar
  • Prominently included the CTA Donate Button in the Navy Bar
  • Included the Logo in the top left of the page
  • Created a more concise "Meet Chuck" and "platform" pages
  • Changed the language on the volunteer page to encourage more participation

2nd Iteration

I presented the client with the new website. They mentioned their desire to have a few more items in the Nav Bar, along with a less traditional landing page, with references to the Richmond Capital building.

Delivery/Upkeep

www.chucksmith4ag.com

Election will be held late 2021, as such, the website is still live and updated weekly.

Lessons Learned

  • Empathetic design requires a significant amount of compassion. Politicians and their base are very passionate about their views and beliefs. Its important to remain unbiased and compassionate throughout the entire process.
  • Generally, clients have a significant amount of knowledge of their user base, lean on them as a resource not just in the research phase, but throughout the whole process to identify possible gaps in personal knowledge.

Success Metrics

  • The campaign has raised over $70,000 since the launch of the website, with most donations occurring in January, after the launch of the second website iteration.
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