First of all, I just want to remind everyone that this is a Non-Partisan blog, and this is a Non-Partisan post, the majority of my comments below are about the designs, and do not necessarily reflect my opinion on the candidates themselves.
That said, I do have to say that I think that Barack Obama’s campaign was masterfully managed, and that the powerful branding surrounding the campaign (including but not limited to his logo) was one of the big reasons that he won so easily (he’s also a pretty charismatic feller, that didn’t hurt at all either!).
In this post I am going to point out how I think that Barack Obama’s logo set him apart from all of the presidential candidates that have run before him, helped to reinforce his message with voters, and ultimately made him the next Presidentof the United States!
First of all I quickly wanted to go over the logos that different Presidential Candidates have sported over the past 28 years:
Reagan & Bush VS Carter & Mondale 1980:
Both logos are very, very simple, and the logo for Carter and Mondale deviates sharply from most other logos for presidential candidates over the past 30 years by choosing NOT to sport the familiar red white and blue colors that are seen in all the others (Reagan and Bush choose not to go with red but they still have that all-important blue!)
Reagan & Bush VS Mondale & Ferraro 1984:
Both of these logos feature red white and blue prominently, and the Mondale/Ferraro logo even works a flag into the design.
Bush and Quayle VS Dukakis & Bentsen 1988:
Deviating only slightly from the successful logo of ’84 the Bush/Quayle logo throws a few stars in to mix things up. Meanwhile, Dukakis/Bentsen promote themselves using possibly one of the most hideous logos ever designed.
Bush/Quayle VS Clinton/Gore 1992:
The Bush/Quayle administration unsuccessfully tries to turn up the heat by throwing in a couple of stripes from the flag. Clinton/Gore ultimately win with a hip, cool logo that includes a star as the “i” in “Clinton”.
Dole/Kemp VS Clinton/Gore 1996:
Dole/Kemp make their bid for the white house with a simple logo that includes one “star” and two “stripes”. Clinton/Gore win the election with a inferior (although not bad) logo that just isn’t quite as “professional”
Bush/Cheney VS Gore/Lieberman 2000:
Bush/Cheney use a flag reminiscent of a lapel pin in the logo that landed them in the white house for their first term. Gore/Lieberman are unsuccessful with their logo that includes one (falling?) star.
Bush/Cheney VS Kerry/Edwards 2004:
Bush/Cheney decide there is no need to “fix what ain’t broke” and redesign their logo only slightly. They win against Kerry/Edwards who sport a clipart looking flag on a blue background that is slightly paler than the blues used in past logos.
THIS PAST ELECTION (2008):
Although the McCain/Palin logo goes in some design directions not seen previously, it still stays within the “safe” boundaries established by previous elections, it is in fact fairly similar to the Dole/Kemp logo from the ’96 election.
The Obama/Biden logo uses shades of blue considerably softer than traditionally used in past logos (it is actually a little similar to the color choices of the Kerry/Edwards logo), and features a crisp, professional and extremely hip icon that blends the US flag and the sun rising over a field and underscores the campaign’s “Change for America!” platform. The choice of typeface for the logo is also very profound and compliments the icon nicely.
WHY OBAMA’S LOGO HELPED HIM WIN:
Change for America!
Barack Obama was looking for votes from an America that was tired of the past, tired of the politicians of the past, tired of the ineptness of the current administration, and was looking for CHANGE, and by featuring a logo that goes in completely different directions creatively than any major political parties logo from the past 30 years he has reminded people of that in a big way.
The Coolness Factor:
When I first saw Barack Obama’s logo my immediate thoughts were “that is COOL! I want something with that logo on it!” As many people have pointed out, Barack Obama is (was) much more than just a presidential candiate, he is a celebrity, and the “hippness” of his logo has certainly helped with that image. Also, having a logo that people WANT to wear (think Nike) is one of the most powerful viral advertising mediums you can have.
The “Young Voter”:
Barack Obama inspired the younger generation in a big way, they responded to his inspiration by turning out to vote for him in record numbers. A large part of what enabled him to connect with the younger generations was the fact that his campaign and campaign’s logo made use of design elements and styles made popular in the past few years. John McCain’s logo did somewhat of the same, but much more conservatively.
So in closing, I think that Barack Obama’s logo,while not being (obviously) the ONLY reason he was elected, really helped him deliver his message to the American public (and the world!) in a big way, and set his message apart as being “different” from all that had come before.