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Work / Graphic Design

Koln Studio’s bold typographic call to action for Madrid’s referendum

Between 13-19 February over 200,000 citizens in Madrid participated in a referendum that allowed them to offer their opinion of citizen proposals. The decisions would inform the vote on policies that determine the sustainability strategy for the city, the introduction of a single ticket for all public transport and the remodelling of the Plaza de Espana and the Future of the Grand Via.

In the run-up to the referendum, the city was plastered with posters and banners designed by Madrid-based Koln Studio urging people to vote. “‘The main challenge was to communicate the idea successfully and to make sure the campaign was not lost within all the noise and information that exists in a big city like Madrid,” says the studio. “It was a great opportunity to explore different ways of communicating the message. The message was carried on buses, canopies, screens and newspapers.”

The design uses a bold typeface and a simple colour palette of blue, red, yellow, black and white across a strongly defined grid. The word ‘vote’ is the focus, providing absolute clarity on the message from city hall. “The City Council was clear that it did not want to stand for or against any of the proposals, they were most interested in getting the public to participate in the vote wether it be ‘yes’ or ‘no’,” say the designers. “we proposed to fill the city with “VOTE YES”, “VOTE NO”, “VOTE”, “VOTE”, “VOTE”, our aim was to repeat this four worded letter and present a clear message which was big enough to attract the public’s attention.”

With the first referendum over, Koln Studio is keen to develop the project and relationship it has established with Nacho Padilla, the creative director of Madrid City Council. “The results have already been published with a participation of 214,000 people in total. This is still a moderate figure (9% of citizens) however on this occasion we feel this figure is optimistic in comparison to previous campaigns,” says the studio. “We feel the campaign has been well received and met the project’s objectives, although there are always things to improve! We hope that the project will continue to grow, allowing the public to continue voting and improve the future of Madrid.”

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