Celebrating Presidents’ Day By Judging Their Campaign Branding

Hey, did you know we had an election last year? Apparently some reality TV star won or something —who knows? All snarky jokes aside, it was a tumultuous 18-plus month campaign that featured lots of rallies, ads, speeches, debates, and, most importantly, presidential branding. While the idea of presidential branding has existed as long as having presidents (shoutout to George Washington and his dope campaign buttons), the execution of them has grown by leaps and bounds in the last two presidential campaigns. One of the most iconic brand and logos came with our 44th POTUS:

(The Rising sun logo of Barack Obama)

This branding carried a sense of hope among the people, was easily recognizable, was used in so many different formats and scenarios, and even had parodies of it. Regardless of your political leanings, how many other presidents could you say had a personal logo so iconic that it could be used as a parody?

Building off this enormous growth in presidential branding, this last election saw some highs and some very low lows in brand design. While it would be very fun to sit and judge every single one of the candidates and their brands, there were WAY too many to do that, so instead, I am going to highlight my personal favorite and worst from each side.

Good Democratic Branding

Hillary Clinton

I know everyone was very split on this brand initially, but I truly believe this was the best of the bunch and could have reached Obama levels of staying power (you know, if she won). While everyone called her out for it being so simple, pointing to the right, and even featuring Republican colors, once people settled down and saw it being used as a vessel for her message, people’s opinions seemed to sway. It was this ability to use it for so many different messages that drew me in.

(From celebrating holidays and being patriotic to making an important political stance, this thing was a powerhouse in its ability to transform and adapt.)

Bad Democratic Branding

Bernie Sanders

It says Bemie … you can’t tell me otherwise. But, it’s hard to beat that catchphrase:

(Can’t deny the catchiness of this phrase.)

Good Republican Branding

Rand Paul

Look, Republicans had a rough year for these. This one is clean, bold, and only looks like he ripped off Tinder ever so slightly. Let’s call this the winner and move on.

Bad Republican Branding

(Jeb! Jeb! Jeb! Jeb!)

Jeb!/Rick Perry

Apparently Jeb! (this is the only way I will write his name now) was running on the Yahoo! platform, while Rick Perry was making America a minor league baseball team again. What’s even more astonishing is Jeb! has been using this idea as a campaign design in some form since 1994! Hasn’t anyone taken five minutes and pointed out to him how awful and childish this logo looks?

Rick Perry’s design looks like the classic and always dreaded design by committee frankendesign. I can see elements of this concept working on their own, but the committee wanted to mash it all together.

Closing Thoughts

Now, obviously as a designer, I am biased in my thinking that these brands have more influence on the election than they probably do. But at the same time, the brand I highlighted as my favorite won the popular election by almost 3 million votes, so maybe I am on to something.

Image Sources:

Barack Obama logo: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obama_logo

Hillary Clinton logo: https://www.facebook.com/hillaryclinton/

Bernie Sanders logo: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernie_Sanders_presidential_campaign,_2016

Rand Paul logo: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rand_Paul_presidential_campaign,_2016

Jeb Bush logo: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeb_Bush_presidential_campaign,_2016

Rick Perry logo: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Perry_presidential_campaign,_2016

Post by Zach Rupert