a campaign logo – what makes a good one?

twitter exploded yesterday with politicos and designers alike, all abuzz… what the hell was team Clinton thinking?!?


the blue ‘h’ and red arrow came under a ton of not-so-friendly fire yesterday with the formal launch of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.  not exactly the way you want to roll out your formal bid for the presidency.

designers weigh in:  too blocky. bad colours. primary colours- ick!  immature and clunky. flat and cold. stark, corporate, hard-edged. ouch!

what exactly is her campaign trying to say through this branding? how does this artwork speak to who she is and the platform she is trying to convey?

…probably not what they were going for.

so… what makes for a good campaign logo?  what image or graphic element will effectively encapsulate visually what a candidate stands for? and while a logo isn’t going to ultimately make or break a campaign or a candidate, it will be the image (unless you pull a Howard Dean!) that begins to settle into people’s minds throughout the months.  it will sit alongside her next hairdo in the greater campaign narrative.

is flat, cold, stark, corporate and hard-edged the image that Hillary is going for?  she’s already fighting these characterizations, why compound it by incorporating these sentiments into her campaign icon?

as in photography and the pleasing impact of a meandering s-curve, the same holds true in design.  consider the most popular and successful brands we have: mcdonalds, coca cola, nike. all utilize a more curvy approach in their logos.  in presidential artwork, Obama’s 2008 and 2012 logos, followed the same model with great approval.

Hillary’s team opted for the choice of the primary colours red and blue- typically avoided together as they tend to give the illusion of vibrating text which is hard on the eyes.  add the basic geometric aesthetic and you’re moving towards the juvenile. think kids’ room… though never a combination seen in any ikea, ethan allen or ashley furniture- where Hillary’s prime demographic shops for their babies.

perhaps had the arrow not been placed directly on top of the ‘h’;  had they utilized some buffer with white space, their messaging may have been less offensive more effective.  but, alas, they did not. clearly, they were aiming for the overtly patriotic; and perhaps the arrow is meant to imply focus, direction and forward movement.

on the bright side, what it has going for it, is simplicity… graphic elements easily scaleable for a variety of collateral, electronic and print.  so maybe, if you can overlook the flat and cold, stark, corporate, hard-edged first impression, perhaps her team can, in fact, chalk this one up as “nailed it”.

no argument, Hillary has created a successful career, honing hard edges to meet the demands of always being the lone gal in the perpetual penis club of washington.

but perhaps it’s time to let some softness in, gal. maybe not in your approach to the dicks on the hill, just a little for the sake of your brand… and relatability.



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