News analysis: Pick your color wisely

To students who haven’t been on campus during election season, a candidate’s campaign colors may seem insignificant.

But in a few weeks, the U will be covered in T-shirts, posters and banners bearing the colors of the four parties competing in student government elections: orange, green, red and yellow.

Every year, candidates running in the Associated Students of the University of Utah elections spend thousands of dollars on materials to get their name out. Often, students identify the parties by their colors by the end of elections.

So choosing a party color tends to be a decision motivated by campaign strategy.

Bright, florescent colors are chosen most often and can play to a candidate’s advantage because they may stand out above more muted colors.

“People are trying to do whatever they can to raise attention to their party,” said Ali Hasnain, former student body president who ran with the Students First Party and the color yellow.

In the past four elections, the winning party has used either yellow or green.

Lorraine Evans, elections registrar, said it is no accident that the same colors reappear in elections each year. She said the same colors tend to be reused because candidates think “they have a luck or flair.”

Using a recycled campaign color from recent years may, however, be a disadvantage for the Forward Party (yellow) and the FUSE Party (green) because students may think they are the same party or are unhappy with the party that first used the color.

There is a tie between the parties that are “reusing” colors and the parties that used similar colors in previous elections.

FUSE Party presidential candidate Spencer Pearson and his running mate, Basim Motiwala, are using green, the same color their fraternity brother and current Student Body President Jake Kirkham used last year with the BLOC Party. Pearson and Motiwala worked on the BLOC Party campaign.

Pearson said he is using a brighter shade of green and did not intentionally choose the same color.

Rick Pehrson, Forward Party presidential candidate, is using the same color Hasnain used in his campaign: yellow. Pehrson, who worked under Hasnain as ASUU attorney general, said he doesn’t mind mimicking his former boss.

While Pehrson said his party will have a different platform, he said he chose yellow after initially considering orange partly because of his respect for the Students First Party.

Other candidates said they purposely picked colors that haven’t been used recently to distance themselves from previous parties.

“I chose (orange) because I didn’t want to be affiliated with any other party,” said Joe Coccimiglio, presidential candidate for the More 4 U Party.

Cameron Beech, presidential candidate for the Activate Party, said he also chose red because he didn’t want to copy past parties.

Red may be advantageous for his party because it could appeal to students’ sense of school spirit and it is not as flashy as the more florescent colors.

Beech said students were irritated two years ago when Hasnain’s opponents, the PINC Party, plastered the campus with bright pink posters.

“(Red is) a flashy color, but it’s not annoying,” Beech said. “I’m sure people weren’t happy to have pink everywhere.”

Coccimiglio, who worked with the PINC Party, said he wanted to use orange because it is not trendy like pink.

“I didn’t want a color that is GQ,” he said.

Ariana Torrey