Anyone else getting really tired of the political “ads” (read as: bashing) that have taken over our commercial breaks this season? For me, the ads are all the more reason to put the DVR to good use. I like to go find my political information when I want to – I can read, afterall – so please stop using me as a captive audience in my own home! End rant.
The highlight of every political season for me is always seeing what sort of design monstrosity comes out of a political campaign. I love it all. From the high-end, poorly planned, needlessly expensive design pieces for the presidential candidates down to the bitter, homemade front yard billboards of America’s rural (and sometimes not-so-rural) homesteads. It’s a shit show (pardon my language!) and I cannot get enough. Generally, I feel that the logos are not terribly different from year to year. Lots of red, white and blue, plays on letter scale and figuring out how to communicate a really vague message through one small, clear mark. I think very few candidates knock it out of the park, but there are many truly horrific pieces out there, to be sure. A vast majority of the pieces look like their designers never took a typography class in their life.
Campaign advertising is a serious business these days. For his 2008 run, Obama spent more than $280 million on advertising, which was more than a third of his total budget. There is (hopefully) some serious thought going into these pieces and logos – and obviously behind every logo is a logo designer. Obama’s designer has been fairly well publicized over the last several years. The famous O was designed by Sol Sender, who was initially approached by the firm Mode, of Chicago. Read Steven Heller’s 2008 interview with Sol Sender. Watch a video of Sol Sender’s process.
Image from Mode Project website.
So this year, we have more of the same Obama logo – it’s been mostly well received, though there has always been some talk about the Pepsi logo similarities…
Image from The Logo! factor.
I do have to wonder if the “might be confused with Pepsi” conversation ever came up in the early stages of the O logo. The Romney camp is now in a similar situation with their logo. There is a lot of talk about the similarities between the Romney logo and the Aquafresh logo.
Image from NY Magazine website.
The Romney logo doesn’t hold anymore resemblance to the Aquafresh logo than the Obama logo does to Pepsi, but these two do beg the question: Are the designers purposely being inspired by logos that are very familiar in order to create something that is already memorable? This may be a stretch, but it has occurred to me that there is a lot less work on the subliminal side of advertising if the mark is already recognizable.
Unfortunately, I have been unable to find anything about the designer behind the Romney logo. I had hoped to find the story behind it and the thought process, like that of the Obama logo creator. There is no information on the web that I have been able to find. I promise this is not a political bias on my part. I would like to be able to highlight both designers equally, despite political affiliations. I’m wondering if the lack of information on the Romney design has anything to do with the generalization that those in the creative field often lean a little more to the liberal side of the house. More liberals writing means more liberal-leaning articles? Just a thought. I did find a fairly entertaining article where Steve Heller, Debbie Millman and Alice Twemlow critique all of the 2012 logos. I’ll keep at the research, though, and let you know if any information turns up. In the mean time, please enjoy Romney’s Logo is Toothpaste tumblr.