Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Open Season on Political Logos: Democrats

Having just done some new logo work with a client, I've become more "logo aware", and have been sizing up the logos (or bumper stickers) for the presidential candidates.

I was going to do a logo appraisal of all the candidates at once, but they're are still too darn many of them. So I thought I'd break things up into two sections: Democrats today, Republicans on Friday.

Nothing I write here should be interpreted as an endorsement - especially if it turns out that my favorite logo belongs to a Republican.

First, a general observation: although I wouldn't mind seeing a little more green in there occasionally, candidates are generally wise to stick to the tried and true, red-white-and-blue color scheme. Anything else seems just weird. Unamerican, almost.

A few years ago, when Shannon O'Brien ran for governor of Massachusetts against Willard "Mitt" Romney, she chose purple and yellow as her colors. Now purple and white might have worked - I think that O'Brien went to Williams College, so there would have been a rah-rah connection to their colors - but the overall impact of purple and yellow was amateurish and cheesy. Do I think that the colors had anything to do with O'Brien's loss? Who knows? I don't think they helped her out any, and may in a modest way have given a boost to Romney's presidential aspirations.

Serifs are mostly in, too. Maybe what this country needs is a good, sans serif candidate. Maybe not an Arial or a Helvetica, but a Tahoma or a Verdana.

Another observation, some of the Democrats have green and/or rainbow versions of their main logos. I didn't find anything comparable on the Republican side. It's certainly plausible that a least a couple of the Republican candidates could make a green or rainbow connection, but that might be a path they'd want to avoid during the primary season.

Final observation, I've seen remarkably few bumper stickers out there yet. I've seen a few Hillaries, a few Obamas, a Romney or two, plus a Joe Biden belonging to a neighbor (with whom I had a recent conversation about hopeless causes).

So, here's the Democratic field (in alphabetical order):


Sorry, Joe, but this is boring. Safe but sorry. Strong font, but other than that. BOR-ING.


Not bad. I like the stylized flag motif, and the way the "y" in Hillary dips into it. Hillary's the only Democrat going with first name only, which I think works given her name recognition. (I was starting to type "broad name recognition", but figured I didn't want to quite go there.)


I kind of like this one, but the use of the red and white strips reminds me of the Polish flag. (At least I think it's Poland.)  Good that he used both "Chris" and "Dodd", because "Dodd" looks too D'ODD standing on its own. I also like the navy blue.


Hey, John, thanks for having the guts to go sans serif on the font. And for going a little green, too. It breaks up the monotony. But the green looks like an afterthought. Better if you swap out the red lettering for green and go after those greens directly and head on. Remember, they do vote in Democratic primaries.


I don't think the flag works here, and I think with those two "I's" and two "C's" I might have gone with an upper and lower case mix, since I find this a little dizzying to read. And as for Strength through Peace - I like the sentiment, and it's something we really ought to be talking about, but is it just me or does it sound a little Chairman Mao-ish?


No guts, no glory, I guess, but this logo looks like it belongs on a box of organic cereal, or a slab of organic butter. The circle ("O" for "Obama") is kind of cute, but other than that. I do like the look of the Obama'08 and I think it works well.


Too much going on here for my taste, and I really don't think the logo works. What's with the powder blue on the star? Yuck. And my eye is just drawn to that red splotch of flag, so I lose the reset of it. Nice balance of the Bill/Richardson/President, however.

I hope I got them all.

In any case, I've got to say I have to give it to Hillary, with Chris Dodd as the first runner up (despite the Polish flag thing).

Again, this is not intended to be an endorsement.

At this point, I am still undecided....



The other day, I mentioned that I had written a post on political logos, and my brother-in-law told me that The NY Times has just done something similar. Honestly, I didn't see The Times article. I know you're not supposed to admit it, but I rarely read The Times.


John Whiteside said...

The Obama logo always makes me think of Pepsi.

Mary Schmidt said...

I've seen very, very few bumper stickers here in NM - a few for Richardson (He's the guv after all) or two for Obama...and two for Fred Thompson. (I'm assuming the one that simply says "Fred" followed in the second line by "2008" is for Thompson. How's that for assumed name recognition?)

Of course, I don't think a logo (or brochure or yard sign) is ultimately going to cinch the deal for either a politico or a business. That said, I'd have to go with Edwards logo as a personal preference.

Frank said...

I like Richardson's design but I believe all of them need some sort theme or message that at least communicated what everyone is looking for in ALL parties and that is a *Change* Perhaps something that expresses how we must unite or the time for change is now. Otherwise, most presidential candidate logos are just way too boring and meaningless. As every marketer knows you must keep pounding your message (USP) in order to have a real impact.

JRH said...

Glad to see the party of change is really demonstrating that throught their bumper stickers.

Other than Obama, could you basically just change the name in any of these with all the republicans and would you know anything more or less about he candidate?