How To Design Printed Election Materials To Meet AEC Guidelines

As the 2022 Australian federal election is wound up and the final votes counted, many of us will no doubt have had our fill of seeing election posters on every street corner, and endless leaflets coming in through the letterbox!

However, what you might not have noticed when examining your local candidate’s pitch for your vote is the fine print, i.e., the authorisation that election materials must include in their design.

In our previous post on printed election materials, we looked at what should go into a successful poster, corflute or leaflet design. In this post, we will now look at the authorisation requirements that need to be included as part of any form of electoral communication.


What communications require an authorisation?

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) issues guidance intended for candidates, political parties or anyone else issuing or publishing communications in an election or referendum, about how the authorisation for that communication is to be displayed.

These apply to any materials that are designed to influence how constituents cast their vote, and includes posters and brochures, how-to-vote cards, campaign letters and flyers that are sent directly to voters.

The purpose of including an authorisation on electoral communications is to give confidence in the transparency and accountability of the electoral process, and to ensure the traceability of all advertising and promotional materials released and distributed prior to an election.

Designing print electoral communications

When you are designing electoral communications that are intended for print, the AEC guidelines say that the particulars of the person or entity who has authorised the material have to be incorporated into the design. The way in which they should be displayed will depend on the type of communication or media. 

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For example, a printed poster for display on the street during an election that is authorised by what the AEC terms a ‘natural person’ needs to include that person’s name and address, e.g., Authorised by Jack Smith, 14 Station Road, Cityville 1234. 

If the authorisation is by an entity, or someone who is not a natural person, it needs to include the name of the entity and the town or city in which it is based, e.g., Authorised by The Vote For Me Party, Cityville.

As well as the scope of information, the AEC guidelines also describe the manner in which authorisations have to be displayed. 

These relate to the prominence and legibility of the authorisation. For instance, it needs to be able to be read easily in the context in which it is displayed (e.g., if it’s on a billboard, it should be large enough to be read from a distance), and not placed over or under images. The colour of the text needs to stand out against the background, while if the authorisation is on a sticker, it should be designed not to fade or peel off.

Therefore, when you are preparing postersbrochuresstickers or leaflets ahead of an election, it’s important to understand that every element of the design is crucial — not just the candidate’s image, name, party and colours, but the authorisation requirements as set out by the AEC as well.

Clockwork print, your electoral print marketing partners

It is important for anyone printing electoral communications to understand the AEC guidelines with regard to the inclusion and clarity of authorisations. 

As highly experienced designers and printers, Clockwork Print will work with you to ensure that any materials you are preparing ahead of an election — whether local, state or federal — are compliant in this regard.

What’s more, our experienced team of designers can help you to create a wide variety of election advertising materials that effectively and positively convey your message to as wide an audience as possible.

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