There’s no escaping it: campaigning for the 2016 presidential election has officially begun. Although the election is one year and seven months away and two major parties have only four candidates thus far, those four candidates have spent years building up their reputations and solidifying their positions. But despite all the work they’ve put in and the sheer variety of issues they address, one of the real challenges is truncating those positions into easy-to-remember slogans and eye-catching logos.
The role of design is often underestimated in politics. When done right, it can define a generation. When done wrong, it turns into the sort of regrettable faux pas forever stamped in the public consciousness.
In the Information Age, reactions are instantaneous and often very strong. Such was the case with the start of campaign season. When each of the four candidates announced their nominations, reactions to visual aspects of said campaigns were as sharply divided as opinions about the candidates themselves.
(via Wall Street Journal)
The Clinton logo – whose font has already been parodied – has been compared to a road sign or delivery logo. The Cruz logo features the stars and stripes in the shape of a flame, an image with which some have taken issue. The Paul logo has been compared to that of an oil company, while Rubio logo’s use of the mainland United States to dot the “i” in his name has been criticized for its exclusion of Hawaii and Alaska. In short, none of the logos have been met with much immediate acclaim.
Still, it’s important to note that the impact of these logos on the campaigns is, like the campaigns themselves, still in its infancy. As such, it’s impossible to determine the long term effect they’ll ultimately have. Yet the reactions have ultimately proven the importance of design in the digital world and necessity for brand recognition in distinguishing oneself. As Wired design writer Liz Stinson points out: “A political candidate’s logo isn’t just a static thing that gets slapped on the side of a bus. It’s a symbol that will be deployed in all sorts of different material, potentially in many different forms.”
When one wishes to lead one of the most powerful nations in the world, the strength and influence of that symbol cannot be underestimated.