The Victorian Liberal Party recently released a T-shirt designed for its members to wear on upcoming election day. The T-shirt features a blue fist holding a paint brush with the slogan; ‘paint the town blue’. It sounds like an appropriate piece of design, that is until you actually see it…
The hand holding the paintbrush is more of a fist, but not just any fist – a graphic, clenched fist in the style made famous throughout history by communists, socialists, and a whole host of far-left groups including the Black Panther Party, Hezbollah and the anti-capitalist Occupy movement.
Fair to say, the graphic, clenched fist emblazoned on the new Liberal party Tee is an piece of visual language with exceptionally rich and widely understood meaning. Ordinarily this might make for an excellent piece of brand communication – but not-so in this case. The problem with this T-shirt design is that the visual cues are wildly inappropriate.
In all our years as a specialist brand design agency we have never seen an organisation of any type in any market be so radically miss-represented by the visual language of their brand communications. Victorian Liberal Party members must be mortified, and rightly so at the potential for humiliation these ill-considered T-shirts will attract – or perhaps there’s more to the colour of Tony Abbot’s (their National party leader) budgie smugglers than meets the eye.