Presidential Graphics – Hillary Edition.
Ok. I am a little late on the band wagon this year, but its time to talk about the graphics of this presidential election. Our political system has been greatly polarized, it seems that the voter is on one of three sides. Clinton, Trump or neither (Third Party or not voting). As a graphic design professor I am always interested in figuring out if graphics play a factor in who gets elected. If you look back at some of my posts from the 2008 and 2012 elections, I certainly think that Obama had a more clear campaign. It is my intent to start viewing some of the graphics.
First up, Hillary Clinton.
This logo was designed by Michael Bierut at Pentagram design. (On a side note Michael and I used to be friends on Facebook, I think he defriended me because of my over posting of 365 pieces of art, one for everyday last year. If you are reading this, Michael, sure some of them are going to be shitty, not everyday can be a masterpiece. I don’t hold this against you, I would have done the same thing).
This new brand for “Hillary,” is a big difference from the previous brand.
The old logo there are 3 different type styles. The flag almost looks like a bird. Ever since the Obama logo came out there has been a move to make political logos more simple and symbolic. The main problem I have with this, is that there is no organization. The flag appears to be one length, Hillary another and HillaryClinton.com another.
The new logo, two colors, an H and an arrow. It gives a very simple nod into, moving in the right direction. It is a play on words.
David Carson was quotes in a politico.com post, “The Worst: Hillary and Jeb!—With the first Obama campaign, America saw for the first time the importance a logo can have on an election—something sadly overlooked throughout American political history. Obama’s win and excitement among new and younger voters can be partially explained by the strong use of an emotional logo.
Hillary’s, on the other hand, is a huge misstep. The first response I have is: Hospital on the right, got it. It feels distant, cold, non-inviting and possibly too much like the perception of the candidate herself. It feels like anyone with access to a Dell computer could have done it. In graphic design, and thus logo design, it’s a very thin line between simple and powerful, and simple and boring. I mean, really—an arrow? Forming an H? The Hillary logo dumbs down the profession of graphic design. It’s an embarrassment, making graphic design and designers look silly. A recent poll said close to 70 percent of Americans did not like or feel good about the Hillary logo. In my book, as a graphic designer, that’s a clear miss.”
I semi agree with what David Carson said. I don’t feel the same way about the Hillary logo as I do the Obama logo. It could just be simple from the fact that the edges aren’t rounded and its a bit harsh. Where I don’t agree with Carson is that the logo dumbs down the profession. With a presidential logo a graphic designer is trying to communicate a message to the masses. This logo is simple enough to do it, in comparison to her old logo. With that being said I do believe it misses the mark some.
So what would happen if I gave this very same project to a group of students. (Well only two students, whom I had in my advanced graphic design class. Instead of months, I gave them two days… To keep it fair and bi-partisan they could design a parody.
Honestly the work that was done this quickly, I could see the possibility of using some of the ideas that the students came up with. There are a few that feel more friendly, that hit the mark.
I am sure Hillary had a lot of questions she had to ask when she designed the logo though. A lot of these questions would have to come down to gender. She is a female trying to make it in a male dominated field. The logo might need the harsh edges. It might have to put up a fight. What do you think?
I guess we will find out in a few short days if this logo works or not…
The next post coming up will be about Donald Trump and also the presidential debate graphics, Stay tuned.
Mitchell Eismont, is an assistant professor of graphic design at Central State University. He has worked on licensed projects for Hershey, Nestle and Tootsie Roll. In his free time he runs marathons and loves whole heartedly.