the graphic design blog that speaks the truth

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past 10 months you will know that the 4.3 million people of Scotland will today answer the simple question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”. There are only two simple answers: Yes or No.

Even though the political arguments for each side will and should be at the forefront of voter’s minds, the subliminal design choices to present each option will have had a subliminal impact for some. I have no ties to Scotland, other than the fact that I’m British, so if I put my political/financial beliefs aside, it’s been interesting to look at the referendum from a typographical perspective. I’ve already seen people on Twitter claim that they didn’t feel like they voted for something, it felt more like they were picking their favourite colour. That may be a simplistic view but you cannot ignore the fact that the power of branding will have played a small part along the way in deciding the outcome.

The words ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ are probably the bare essentials of the English (or should I say British) language, which proves making them visually appealing to voters a tricky concept. Let’s take a look at how both sides of the argument chose to present represent their vote.



  • Yes is a positive word, which is an advantage already.
  • They have used the traditional blue and white colour scheme that is taken from the Scottish Saltire which will make pull at the patriotic heartstrings of Scots.
  • The font used is strong to symbolise a bold message.
  • The type has been set very tightly which could be seen as representing people coming coming together to vote for a new future. This makes it look more approachable and friendly.

Uses of the Yes campaign logotype:
scotland-independencePhoto: Phyllis Buchanan CC



  • Conversely, No is a negative word which proves making it appear attractive to people a difficult task. Unless of course, you really really think that independence is a bad idea.
  • ‘THANKS’ has been added to make the statement seem more polite.
  • The colour red is a controversial one. Red is often perceived as a warning for something dangerous which is strengtened when paired with the word ‘NO’. ALternatively, Red is a subtle hint towards the Labour Party.
  • The logotype has also been used in a variety of other colours, even in a blue that is similar to the Yes campaign. This inconsistency causes confusion.
  • A rounded font has been chosen to make it look less aggresive and abrupt.
  • There is a subtle cross within the filled ‘O’, which reminds the viewer what they have to do. When used in blue it looks like a reversed out Scottish saltire.
  • Interestingly, the main campaign for staying a part of Britain doesn’t use ‘No’ in their identity. Better Together use a completely different logo, which is more suitable and friendlier. The problem is, they have to still promote the word ‘No’ to make sure people know what to vote for.

Uses of the No campaign logotype and Better Together logo:
nothanks-scotlandPhoto: Colin Hunter Freelance CC

The referendum result won’t be decided until Friday 19th September, but if I had to choose based on the campaign design efforts, then I can’t help but think that ‘Yes’ edges it, mainly because they are consistent throughout.
Looking at it purely from a design perspective, who would you vote for?



  1. 05/05/15
    7:38 am
    Nice Post !
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