Graphics and imagery - the art of the brand - is very important in the election process. That is my own design for Bloomberg in the middle. Deconstructing the logos yields clues to winners and losers.
So here goes an analysis of the marketing via the image branding of the candidates.
Hillary has the best and cleanest and most consistent graphics by far. She's taken her lessons from the Bush campaign branding but Rudy has used Bush's Texas design firm for his graphics. Both are using the first name identification - Rudy because it is more politically expedient and memorable and Hillary because her design firm wanted to not keep away negative association of her last name with the shadow candidate. Richardson couldn't use his first name, Bill, for the same reason that the name Bill equates to Billary. Richardson and Kucinich have to work around more than a simple one-syllable name. Hillary and Obama have such strong name recognition that they can use additional graphic elements. Obama's design element is supposed to look like a politically new global landscape/horizon and his design firm wanted to use web-like imagery so the line art/shapes have more nuance than the graphics of other candidates. Is this a reflection of political statement via design?
Hillary uses the patriotism symbol with a tryptic shorthand for the flag. Designs in threes are mnemonic - they enhance memory and it is a rhetorical trick used graphically. Three stars. Three graphic elements to the flag. The upward slant, from bottom left to upper right, of her graphic flag element creates the dual ideas of mementum and positive ideas, as well as progressiveness. Hers is one of the few to use graphical motion as an element.
Why they don't stand a chance: Biden just looks silly in his photo. It doesn't give him the sense of seriousness and, unfortunately, the gravitas that his experience should communicate. He has other designs but this one I've pictured stinks. Kucinich is just all over the place with his graphics. They are inconsistent and don't sharply portray a single idea. He's sinking himself with the inability to brand himself concisely.
McCain's black and white? The only one not to use patriotic colors (except Huckabee, who is using yellow for his name letters) but can't you tell McCain's design firm clients are mostly in the defense industry? His logo looks so...well... military and warlike. Very stark. Elsewhere he's taken the graphic look into red white and blue. That might give him a fighting chance.
Bloomberg, who may yet throw in his hat, might have a chance. I did this design for a variety of reasons: Should Bloomberg run for President, he should use this logo: red to symbolize the flag, patriotism and to get attention (red is the most attention-getting color); 08 to designate the political year and to take out the "oo"s in his name so that you don't see "loo" or "loom" and to put momentum in to the name and break it up as it is long; and to use green, the new color of the environment and the color of money. The use of the color of the greenback is significant as the economic woes loom and Bloomberg's financial management and expertise could be his most significant trump card should he decide to run. The lines equate with an expanding horizon -- good for global foreign policy and signaling a new "line" of action. Not placing the bars with the stars represents a new patriotism - something needed in the new markets and world forum.
Sales of bumper stickers and other campaign graphic products might be an indicator of the candidate's potential to get elected. Graphic designers would say so. One place charts it and has Hillary and Obama in the lead for the democrats.
A good example of presidential graphics deconstructed is that for the '04 Bush/Kerry bumper stickers via the NYTimes. Things are certainly becoming more sophisticated than the graphics of yesteryear but why, with all that we know about branding and marketing and message communications do we have, still, poor designs out there? Deconstruction of these campaign logos can be fun.
Hillary does have a consistent look and that is important for building the brand. She has ideas inherent in the elements. When you have a limited space to capture attention and build a brand, it can't be changing and inconsistent. She knows that.
Rudy's campaign takes lessons from Bush's strong graphic communications with the red, white and blue with the four-letter name being the most prominent element. With a strong one-syllable name, he uses no other graphic elements besides color. Perhaps because he associated himself too strongly with patriotism and 9/11, he has to pull back with some associations.
Obama shows his inexperience with a lack of consistency in his graphics. They are too messy, too diverse, and he uses too many designs - some with name as central element, some with color as central element, some with (variations) of his photo as the central element. Yet perhaps because he does push the borders with new imagery, he is reinforcing his brand as a newcomer, communicating his lack of traditional form.
Obama's main graphic: his name. On the main graphics, the use of white as a main background and then blue as a main background is a mistake. The blue is not as legible from a distance and the lettering typeface for the name is too light. It should be heavier for legibility at distances. Again, this shows a lack of experience.
John Edwards has a clean, easily recognizable and memorable design and he uses both first and last names in red, white and blue with a very consistent graphic. The use of both names in the same typeface weight shows solidarity and strength.
Even though he is not an official candidate, Gore's Greeness holds appeal. Two important graphic elements that give Gore authority and design weight: the full use of the American flag on elements and the use of the star symbol. He is the only one to be using these important symbols with the exception of McCain, who uses a more complicated graphic star as the only complicated element in his entire design, and Richardson.
This year's campaign graphics include the dotcom adress which is new in the history of what must be communicated right up front, politically.
2008 logos and 2004 logos for the presidential election can be compared. I'm surprised we don't have a break-out by democrats to strongly communicate new directions after eight years of Rebublican sway. Has anyone thought of using the eagle?
The Logo Decoder with background into the candidates designs and the design firms is a good resource.
Others doing presidential logo reconstruction and reviews show interesting insights. A comparison of this year's logos to those of the 2004 election show more standardization of designs than creative departures. You can go vote for best '08 logo.
The basic look won't probably change until you have the vice presidents on the ticket. So later on I will revist the graphics and the media of the campaign messages.
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