From copyright accusations to conspiracy theories of secret political agendas, voters are surprisingly opinionated about the logos of presidential candidates this election. Logos have been ridiculed and debated just as much as policies, and in some cases the logo conversation has detracted from the campaign message. Campaign successes and failure are proof that it's crucially important to have a strong logo to support your brand.
As soon as Hillary Clinton announced her campaign for president, the internet erupted over an issue seemingly minor compared to her policies or experience: her campaign logo. Design critics argued that the bold H-arrow resembled a hospital sign or the Fed-Ex logo, while Twitter users mused that the red right-facing arrow implied Clinton leaned conservative. Over time, the campaign has evolved the logo to relate to the day’s issues, and critics have grudgingly accepted the logo’s strengths. The constantly changing logo takes a fun approach to campaign issues – whether it’s marriage equality, supporting Planned Parenthood, or specifically appealing to Iowa – and ties in to the interactive and shareable nature of the 2016 campaign. Clinton’s supporters repeatedly retweet the logo’s new iterations, giving the campaign more attention and interactivity.
Republican campaign logos received similar scrutiny. Designers panned Senator Marco Rubio’s use of the continental U.S. to dot his last name, while critics on social media grumbled that Hawaii and Alaska were left out and typography sticklers griped about the font’s odd kerning.
You could argue that it’s just a logo, but a logo can set the tone for an entire campaign. A logo determines an organization’s color scheme; used for the website, social media, and printed materials. Most importantly, a logo can decide how a voter interacts with a campaign. Is the organization fun, serious, or edgy? Is it cool to be a supporter?
Replicating Obama ’08 will be the goal of any future digital strategy campaign, and one great strength of the Obama campaign was the way voters could interact with a logo. Logobama allowed supporters to add their photo inside the strong “O” logo. Several sites and plug-ins let fans “Obamafy” themselves in the iconic HOPE poster format. In the hands of supporters, Obama’s logo took on a life of it’s own, and defined him as the cool candidate.
Even not-so-iconic logos can be used to positively define a political candidate’s brand. When the logo-rati piled on Ohio Governor John Kasich for his logo’s resemblance to three strips of bacon, his digital team embraced the joke and turned it into a successful Snapchat geo-filter that garnered positive earned media in the national press.
On the other hand, Governor Jeb Bush’s logo highlights how bad design can warp a campaign’s message. The reasoning behind Jeb Bush’s campaign logo is evident. To distance himself from his brother’s questionable legacy, Bush became a one-name, exciting “Jeb!” The exclamation point would invigorate his campaign and appeal to young voters. The strategy completely backfired. Typographers bemoaned that the logo defied basic design rules, and Stephen Colbert joked that Bush’s name must now be yelled. Twitter users happily joined in on the ridicule.
Presidential campaigns might have millions of dollars, but their mistakes highlight how even small organizations can benefit from a professionally designed logo. A cohesive logo and digital branding strategy supplements an organization’s message, rather than detracting from it. Get a logo supporters are proud to share, and they will carry your message.
At Veracity our creative team helps campaigns and non-profits visually define their brands with professional logos and other design services that can be integrated across digital and traditional materials. If you’re looking for a professional logo and branding that can galvanize supporters, contact us using the form below.