FRUITS OF OUR LABOURS
The Labour Party
Tony Blair, Prime Minister 1997-2007
At 10pm. on Thursday 7 June 2001, the polls closed and history was made, as Labour were elected to a consecutive second term for the first time in their history. Tony Blair's off-the-cuff comment at our presentation was about to be tested as key cabinet members proudly displayed the new manifesto at the official launch of the campaign.
In the 8 months leading up to the election, Atelier Works had been secretly preparing a range of materials for a very, very big audience; spending many hours at Labour's Millbank HQ and regularly popping in and out of 10 Downing Street. But despite the frantic pace and extraordinary turn of events, we managed to design and produce a coherent range of materials which met the needs of the whole population, communicating to CEO's and foreign investors and the man on the street. Perhaps this breadth of achievement was something to do with our own business philosophy — blending the creativity of an artist's 'Atelier' with the industriousness of a 'Works' in as informal an environment as possible. As we stood outside Blair's office, waiting to present in our puffer jackets and jeans (no time to change), Alastair Campbell quipped "You guys must be the designers!"
A designer's diary (abridged).
For the party
An important tactical weapon in the fight for votes: The Policy Handbook was issued to MPs and Party workers to ensure that everyone was clear about Labour Party policies and had effective comparisons to those of the other parties. It included facts, quotes, lines of attack and rebuttal and was continuously updated throughout the election campaign — an essential item for all candidates and a 'must have' for any journalists worth their salt.
In the press
A manifesto for the whole of Britain: A key election document, dissected by TV pundits and newspaper commentators and sold nationwide in all major high street stores. three regional versions Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales were produced simultaneously, each with their own imagery and even language! The informal cover shot of Blair, the square format and uncoated cartridge paper feel was designed to be accessible and outline some very complicated messages in a friendly, digestible format.
On the doorstep
The highly successful pledge cards were carried over from the 1997 election, and promoted the new election pledges. They also reminded audiences of the previous election pledges which had since been met. All Labour Party members also received a tabloid summary manifesto, 'Your Family', covering the key electoral concerns. These were used extensively at rallies and for doorstep campaigning in key marginal seats.
In the boardroom
Reassuring big business: 'The economy is stable under Labour and the business community endorse the Party's record' — a serious message to be conveyed in a business-like tone. This manifesto took on the guise of an annual report for company CEOs at home and abroad. As a serious pointer for foreign investors, the manifesto also had to do its bit for Britain.
In the workshop
Encouraging small businesses: 'A stable economy and a supporting role for small business under Labour' — a nurturing message portrayed with case studies of real life entrepreneurs. This manifesto was designed to speak to its audience via its audience.
And the design?
As each manifesto appeared, the press reviews feverishly dissected the style and tone, slating both the Lib Dem and Conservative offerings. Ours was last to be launched, so it was with great relief that we read Jonathan Glancy's highly complimentary review: