Monday, February 18, 2008

Who Has the Most Presidential Logo?

Why is corporate America quick to embrace corporate identity as a brand builder? Because they know a strong identity helps build and maintain a strong brand, and brands means money. Political campaigns aren't corporations, but they are ALL about branding. The best candidate will likely win in spite of whatever logo identity has been cooked up for them. But what if the presidential race were based on the candidate's logos?

When I was thinking about this, I was sure that Obama would lead the pack as the candidate most likely to be elected because of their logo. But after looking at and thinking about the four frontrunners; Clinton, Huckabee, McCain and Obama, I have come to a different conclusion. I'll start with the worst:

4. ) Mike Huckabee has by far the weakest identity of the four remaining candidates. The logo doesn't display confidence. It has too many elements and colors that make it appear to be trying too hard. He's the only candidate who has to remind us of his first name and that he is running for PRESIDENT. It looks as though he is running for Little Rock School Board, and not President of the United States.

3.) John McCain's logo is very strong. If George Patton were running for president this is what his logo would look like. It screams military. Not that military is bad, but it's a reminder of McCain's persona as a war hero and strong war supporter. The font is even the same one used to engrave the names on the Vietnam Veteran Memorial wall. It makes me think of big business--specifically defense contractor.

2.) Obama's identity is refreshing. For a presidential campaign, this one goes out on a limb and creates the impression of something new on the horizon (though the stripes are slightly reminiscent of the Bank of America logo). It stays safe with the conservative serif typeface and red and blue colors. It seems silly that they have included "08" as though people wouldn't know which presidential election he is running in. One could easily describe it as idealistic. This is not a bad thing, but unfortunately, it's too light to be seen as presidential.

1.) Hillary Clinton's logo is simple, strong and the most universally appealing. While not groundbreaking in its design, it uses proven elements: stars and stripes. Interesting use of three stars; a third term for the Clintons? It has a no-nonsense appeal shouting "Hillary" in a traditional, bold serif typeface. I would rate this identity as the "most presidential."

A Warning From the Past

Let's hope that the nominees don't make the mistake John Kerry made in 2004. The Kerry campaign started with one of the strongest logos seen in any race. But for some reason--probably a rush decision by a campaign aide--it was changed to a very generic treatment at the announcement of John Edwards joining the ticket. One story is that the campaign plane had to be repainted overnight--without letting anyone know about the Edwards announcement. Did it matter?

1 comment:

Ellen said...

This is a wonderful analysis of the candidate logos! I enjoyed it!
Although I think the work 'blog' has morphed a bit as it's being used business leaders on their sophisticated web sites! This is one fancy blog! I think of a weblog as being more like ramblings from a teen about mundane things.
But I applaud your blog anyway, and look forward to reading more!
Ellen Hamilton | Yellow Dot Designs