The Best Colors for Election Campaigns

by Dr. Kelly S. Meier - Updated August 21, 2018
Woman Standing in an Election Campaign Office

Graphic design in an election campaign sends a message about the tone and interests of the candidate. Choosing the right colors is one of the most important variables. Color choices leave a mental imprint in the minds of voters and ultimately represent the campaign platform and message. Understanding the interests of constituents plays an important role in choosing the colors that will have the biggest impact.

Contrast Counts

Contrasting colors help a candidate stand out from competitors. Using color combinations that include a light and a dark color increases visibility. Two diverse but compatible colors are more likely to leave a lasting impression with potential voters. Colors need to work both in print and online. For example, road signs should have the name of the candidate in a light color against a dark background. This helps with readability, especially when it’s dark. Similarly, campaign color selection needs to work for an email solicitation as well as on printed materials.

Be Unique

Campaign color choices make a statement about the uniqueness of the candidate. Red, white and blue are an obvious combination that many candidates choose but it isn't advantageous if voters see it from more than one candidate. Colors that mirror the opposition may leave voters confused. Campaign colors need to be crisp, recognizable and connected to the overall marketing scheme. They should also represent the vibe of the campaign. Creativity is a plus as long as it isn't more of a focus than the overall campaign message.

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Color Psychology

Campaign colors are more than just decorative. They are a powerful way to influence voters and emphasize a campaign theme. Color choice should be rooted in the message and tone conveyed by the candidate. Green and blue are colors frequently used to convey a sense of understanding, sincerity and trust. Purple is less common in political campaigns and sends a message of privilege and respect. Yellow, orange and red are high-energy colors and suggest action or fast pace -- consider their connection to emergency vehicles, road construction and fast-food restaurants. Darker colors like black or navy blue can be construed as gloomy or negative.

Branding

Campaign colors set the tone for the identity of a candidate. Color choices need to work with various marketing pieces and appeal to a wide audience base. They should be used to accentuate the message and connect the overall marketing plan. For example, if the target voter group is diverse, select colors that create a brand image that reflects this and showcases the candidate's commitment to their issues. Dynamic colors that reinforce the brand of the politician are one of the best ways to grab the attention of voters.

About the Author

Dr. Kelly S. Meier is a professor and college administrator for a large public institution in Minnesota. She received her undergraduate degree from Western Illinois University and her master's degree and doctorate from Minnesota State University, Mankato. She has published more than 15 books on education, group development and diversity.

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