Presidential Campaign Logos 2016: Part 1

Did politicians learn anything about design in the past 8 years? Let’s take a look at the first announced Presidential Campaign Logos!

 

At just 575 away, we’ve already got three presidential nominees announced. To coincide with their announcements, we’ve gotten three new Presidential Campaign logos. They were all met with much ridicule and criticism online. In my opinion it’s because people are letting their ideologies cloud their judgement, but I could be wrong. Probably not.

As there’s sure to be more announcements throughout the summer, I would like to take a look at Presidential Campaign logos from a purely design standpoint. Sure, I’ve got my stance and position on politics, but for this blog I’m more interested in the design aspect. Politics aside, I promise.

With that being said, it’s pretty well agreed that President Barak Obama set a new standard for Presidential Campaigns. His “O” icon was a creative and calculated brand. No other Presidential Nominee had branded themselves like that before. It made a difference. It at least made the other guys seem not as organized. Since our society is bombarded by brand awareness, it was a natural extension of our times.

So now we have a new range of candidates. Let’s hope they’ve learned something about branding themselves in the past eight years. I believe political design is an extremely tough field to work in. You’ve got a large chuck of the audience who is opposed to what you’re representing right at the start. Generally speaking.

Can any of these candidates overcome that hurdle? Will their design “cross the aisle” to get the attention of a wider base? Let’s take a look.

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN LOGOS

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) source

What it is: The first to announce his candidacy for the 2016 election. Sen. Cruz unveiled his name and year alongside a flame/flag icon. Two red stripes make up a majority of the flame. The lower right portion is blue with a white star inside. It certainly allude to the United States flag. Others have noted that the single star reflects back to Sen. Cruz’s Texas background. I thought the clean teardrop shape seemed a bit like oil, another Texas stereotype. The type is surprisingly set in grey, not black.

How does it measure up: While it’s not an overall bad start, it doesn’t compete with the Obama logo. Let’s get that out of the way, the Obama “O” is the new guide for which all Presidential Campaign logos will be measured. So it doesn’t beat that, but what does it do?

It’s clean. It’s patriotic. I think the serif font dates it bit. But it is in grey, which is a modern touch. Using the upper/lower cases to visually differentiate words, as opposed to a space, fits with current trends. The icon is nice, but it could be paired with any other name. The strongest tie to Ted Cruz lies in the single star, if it does tie back to the Texas flag. In my opinion it’s not bad, but it doesn’t break the mold either.

Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) source

What it is: Pretty easy to read. Just using his first name, Rand, in all caps, italicized. There is a torch cap and flame just above the name, centered. The negative space between the “A” and “N” create the handle of the torch. The flame of the torch is slanted right to match the angle of the name.

How does it measure up: I love a logo that uses negative space, so Senator Paul gets points for that. The flame is simple but unique. Just two flickering flames dancing up. I can’t help but feel like there’s too much empty space between the “R” and “A.” I want to see what it would look like if there were closer together. The legs touching. Fortunately I can, since Senator Paul released a vector version of his logo online. You can download it here.

As you can see, my suggestions warps the symmetry between the four letters. I like the space better between the “R” and “A” with them touching.  Time could be taken to make small adjustments in the “N” and the “D” that clean up the symmetry. But I’m sure the original designer has their reasons for keeping the four letters separate. Perhaps they tried it and the letter strokes suffered.

This design doesn’t really blow away the competition for me visually. It does succeed in having a unique tie with the name. Although it reminds me of some early 2000-era designs, the Rand Presidential Campaign logo excels as strong and simple.

Hillary Clinton (D-Former Secretary of State, Senator from New York, First Lady) source

What it is: An “H” with a right facing arrow. Obviously alluding to moving forward. Designed by Pentagram partner Michael Bierut. Using a blue “H” and red arrow on a white background is the classic patriotic colors tie. I wouldn’t imaging using any other combination. If she would have dabbled in a blue/navy combo it may look too Democratic, since during the 2000 elections blue was assigned by the media to Democrats and red to Republicans.

How does it measure up: Some of the harsh criticism it received is too much in my opinion. My only real complaints are that it may be a little too thin to be seen clearly at smaller sizes. You wouldn’t want it looking like an “H” with an angle on its side. The red sitting right on top of the blue is a little hard on the eyes. It could be corrected with a thin white line or a harder contrast in colors. Check out my ideas below:

On the plus side, I like it’s simplicity. Simple logos with messages are trending right now. The message is clearly conveyed too. Moving forward with H. H is Hillary. Easy enough.

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I don’t presume to trump anyone’s logo design with my edits. Just a logo designer and enthusiast speaking out loud. Visually, of course.

But I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at these Presidential Campaign logos! We’ll be sure to cover more in the near future as they are announced!

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Rick

Rick has been a Graphic Designer since 2005 and is the Community Manager at 48HoursLogo.com. He holds an Associates Degree of Applied Science in Visual Communications. He believes Batman would beat Superman, sometimes good typography is all you need, and Howard Shore's music usually brings him to tears.