All over the world, political parties are constantly trying to sell themselves, which is why party logos must be potent and well-designed. A party logo must also be attractive enough to draw the attention of voters. It is important to underscore the fact that logos are used to communicate information about a party's history and intentions. Political parties, like businesses, are selling a product, and hence must demonstrate expertise in the nonverbal language of graphic design.
The recent announcement of APC formation as a new opposition political party in Nigeria has been greeted with loud applauses. APC, which is conceived as a formidable alternative to the ruling party in Nigeria, is already enjoying tremendous goodwill and support among different strata of the polity. The new party's name is simple to pronounce and it is novel in the history of Nigeria's democracy. Consequently, APC deserves a very attractive yet simple logo to match. This will help in selling its manifesto and vying for votes in the forthcoming 2015 general elections with relative ease.
Against this backdrop, the proposed logo of APC which seeks to include the colour and symbols of the major merging opposition parties should give way to something unique, smart and compelling. This notion is supported by preponderance of opinion amongst Nigerians who clamour for merger of opposition parties into a new, virile and all-inclusive party that has no direct resemblance with any of the existing parties in terms of name, logo and slogan. Other reasons against the use of the colour and symbols of the major merging opposition parties include:
1. The outlook of the logo is clumsy.
2. It is difficult to sell three different and hitherto competing symbols to the polity.
3. The three symbols will be tiny on ballot papers and hardly recognizable during election.
4. The logo will discourage other opposition parties from joining the merger, seeing their movement as if it is decampment to one of the three major opposition parties.
5. Members of the leading opposition parties merging may display nostalgic and problematic attachments to their former parties' symbols, leading to working at cross purposes.
6. The negative perceptions associated with each of the merging parties and some of their leaders will be carried forward into the APC.
7. A distinctive logo will afford APC a wider followership not only across the opposition but also among discerning members of the ruling party as well as new entrants into partisan politics.
In this regard, it is apt that in designing a logo for the APC, the following universal features should be taken into account:
(a) White denotes peace and peaceful co-existence.
(b) Blue suggests strong democratic ideals.
(c) Green is used to demonstrate nationalism and concern for agriculture/environment.
(d) Gold is used for patriotism.
(e) A circular shape makes people feel included while a rectangular shape depicts authority.
At this juncture and after x-raying the logos of all registered and deregistered political parties in Nigeria, one symbol recommended for the APC is 'Book'. Book as a symbol is recognizable by urban and rural populace; educated or otherwise.
A Book in this context symbolizes: to the individual, knowledge; to the people, economic empowerment; and to the nation, rebranding. The Book symbol denotes APC's determination for discipline and orderliness. Besides, by adopting the Book symbol, APC is committing itself to transparency and accountability in governance as a basis for the social contract between the Party and Nigerians.
A pictorial view of a sample design, which utilizes the aforementioned universal colours and shapes and, at the same avoid the pitfalls of the suggested maize, pen and broom symbols logo are presented for review and comments.
Finally, it is pertinent to advise that APC's intended image and what the Party is offering to Nigerians must be seen clearly through the use of symbols.
Dr Bello, Advisor on ANPP Interparty Merger Committee, wrote from Abuja.