If you’re on Twitter, you’ve no doubt seen the onslaught of “I hate Hillary’s logo” tweets or the news coverage on the Clinton campaign logo.
I’m not a big fan of the logo either, but it’s not all bad, so let’s start with the good.
Igniting a Conversation
The logo started a conversation. And, in social media, it’s all about the conversation. Maybe this was the campaign’s intent and they really have an epic logo waiting in the wings to release.
Also, the campaign stuck with the traditional Uncle Sam colors – a good move – as opposed to Rand Paul’s campaign logo, which incorporates black (anti-establishment, I guess).
Hillary’s solid and stable “H” does align nicely with her image as a strong, tenacious and steadfast leader.
The logo is simplistic and flexible enough to be carefully adjusted and used across many contexts and materials from mobile to social to print.
Finally, the folks who created this logo took a chance and departed from the norm and tone set by the Obama campaign (See below: This logo is very different from Obama’s; maybe that’s what they were going for…). I do appreciate branding risk-takers, so kudos to them for being fearless.
Failure to Light the Spark
Aside from feeling like I’ve been placed in a time machine and transported into this season of Mad Men, which takes place on the cusp of 1970, what struck me most about the logo was its lack of movement and overall feeling of rigidity.
I know it has an arrow and arrows are the quintessential symbol of movement, but even with that arrow, the logo just seems to stand on the two chunky vertical pillars of the “H” like Stonehenge. It’s thick horizontal and vertical lines cancel out any movement the arrow might offer. Not a single curved line to be found to offer some much needed motion.
A campaign logo is an opportunity to help launch the journey a candidate is about to take us on. It needs to spark our interest in their story, ideally one about moving forward to better days ahead. This one, sadly, failed to light a spark.
Great Political Campaign Logos
Let’s contrast Hillary’s logo with two other campaign logos. This is a blog post about branding, not politics, so I’m choosing one from the Dems and one from the GOP just to keep everyone happy.
Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaign logo: This logo, and the overall campaign design, made political campaign design history. You can read all about it in Scott Thomas’ book Designing Obama. You’ve got to love the “O” in the logo used for both the 2008 and 2012 campaigns. First off, “O” is a pretty letter, full of curves indicating movement and providing a visual continuum (good for a candidate certain to seek a second term, as Obama did). According to this article by CNN on political campaign logos, “They say the image was able to embody Obama’s message of “hope” by using sunrays on a horizon made of white and red stripes.”
Reagan-Bush 1984: I like this logo for its generous use of white, which makes it a bit unique. The white frames the blue and red elements nicely, providing room for the candidates’ names to breath and for our minds to rest and ponder a bit. White is associated with safety and purity as well – an interesting choice for a dominant color within a presidential campaign logo. The brighter blue and red used in the logo also set it apart. The logo does, however, use a traditional font, a nod toward the more conservative party of which Reagan belonged and its values. The way the “8” jumps out is a nice touch, too – it reminds me of the infinity symbol and adds an element of flow. The horizontal red lines, notably the broken one on the top subtly provide an element of motion.
Come on Baby Light My Logo
A great presidential campaign logo should convey the themes of the campaign. It should hint if it’s a traditional campaign or if we can expect something fresh and new. Most importantly, a logo should connect with voters on an emotional level. It should make us feel something that compels us to want to listen to the story of the candidate that will unfold across every medium over the many months to come. Of course, a campaign is much more than its logo. And, voters are cynical, and rightly so. A good logo has the potential to help breathe hope into a fractured political system. So, listen up, candidates, you’ve gotta give us good logos – ones that light fires and spark movements.