Pentagram, the world’s largest design consultancy, has created a sharp new campaign called “I Give an X” to address the dismal youth voting turnout in the UK. Only 65% of citizens voted in the last UK general elections, with a majority of the non-voters being young people.
This video lays out the campaign’s manifesto:
Inspired by the viral success of social-media avatar campaigns, such as the Human Rights Campaign’s red equal sign, the campaign encourages people to download an X logo, and swap it in for their social media photo as a kind of “anti-apathy” badge—a cooler, virtual version of the ”I voted” stickers used in American elections.
“There’s a disengagement with this election, which is very dangerous,” observed Pentagram’s Naresh Ramchandani, referring to the upcoming UK parliamentary elections scheduled for May 7. “Parties are campaigning with carefully scripted sound bites and very little emotional or intellectual honesty. I’m not surprised the younger electorate are disinterested.”
The non-partisan campaign’s visual branding hinges on the letter “x,” symbolic of the voting mark.
The graphic design, by Pentagram’s London based-team, adds to the growing canon of monogram-based election branding, including the Barack Obama “O” and the much-maligned Hillary Clinton “H,” which Pentagram’s New York team created.
Instead of one consistent design, Pentagram devised 90+ variations of the X mark, to echo the spirit of their initiative. “We didn’t want to just do one logo, because we’re all different, and each one of us has a voice,” explained Pentagram partner Marina Willer, who led the design team with Ramchandani. “We’re fed up with people telling us what to do.”
As a measure of the campaign’s success, some people seem to be seeing its X everywhere they look:
UK voters have until midnight tonight to register to vote.