Voting has not always been universally accessible, or pleasant for everyone. More than likely, a stale old community hall or school gymnasium has hastily been rearranged into a temporary polling station, making balloting tricky for certain individuals. EGGS aspired with Blanke Ark to change the status quo by transforming an often inconvenient environment into an available and appealing space for all Norwegian citizens. By 2014, Blanke Ark was implemented in over half of the municipalities in Norway.
Combining each design principle
In 2008, Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development (KRD), along with Norsk Form launched a design competition to create a fresh and holistic design for future Norwegian elections. EGGS won with their contribution Blanke Ark. Together with Innovativoli, combining service design and product design, we collaborated on an universal design project. Blueroom Design Studio did the complete award-winning graphic design applying similar design-for-all principles.
Carefully considering every user group
Throughout the project we worked as a consolidated team, communicating on every aspect of the design process, from physical products to all graphic design material. Each step was based primarily on user-driven insight with a focus on creating a concept that would appeal to absolutely all user groups. We carried out a succession of interviews, whilst developing and testing various theories with user representatives of the disabled, visually impaired, janitors and election officials. Spokespersons from the ministry, various municipalities, Norwegian Association for the Blind, Norwegian Association of Disabled and The Delta Centre, all proved to be invaluable research sources.
Visually striking and user friendly
The end solution is a totally unified election system which incorporates multiple contact points, including individual elements. Combined they allow for all Norwegians, whether they are able bodied, indisposed, disabled, young or elderly, to understand and master how to cast their vote with relative ease. Every detail has skilfully been addressed from a contact level point of view. Specified recommended text size from Norwegian Association for the Blind and effortless wheelchair access in and around the voting booth were taken into account, along with the use of clear contrasting colours in all the visual display material and online communication. Every practical and formal requirement most municipalities stipulate was carefully considered, including making life much easier for those with frail or trembling hands to accurately place their voting slip into the ballet box.
A brilliant template for future elections
Consequently, Blanke Ark is a resounding success, and has become a template for future parliamentary and municipal elections. Its practical, stylised look and layout is apparent throughout every single design feature, from the voting booth, balloting box and voting slip to its website and visual profile. Blanke Ark has acquired numerous awards and honours along the way. One could call it a landslide victory!
About the design collaboration
Blanke Ark was designed in 2008 in a collaboration between three design consultancies. Øyvind Grønlie in Innovativoli (now Comte Bureau) worked with Jan Walter Parr in Kadabra Produktdesign (now EGGS Design) together with the team in Blueroom Design Studio.
Blanke Ark won the Norwegian Government's Design Competition for Design and Democracy (Statens Designkonkurranse) in 2008.
In 2011 Blanke Ark won the Innovation Award for accessibility/universal design from DOGA.
Order material from Blanke Ark for your municipality from www.valgutstyr.no
You should talk to Chief Creative Officer
Jan Walter Parr
+47 908 54 339