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I just listened to a great NPR podcast with Steve Heller about what campaign materials say about candidates. Steve says these pieces say more about who is making the materials versus whose name is on them. But wouldn’t they also say which candidate has a better eye for design? Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know enough about campaigns to know who really has the last say in a candidate’s design. Though I’ve been looking for a great excuse to talk about how much I love Obama’s logo. And this is it.

I have loved Obama’s logo from the very beginning. It is a simple, ingenious design that speaks about unity (Barrack’s O initial) and change (the flowing ground beneath the horizon). It is simply one of the best logos, and literally the best political logo, I have ever seen. 

Steve Heller says that Obama’s look is consistent and modern, with stickers, shirts, posters and buttons that speak for women, asian americans, veterans and more. McCain, on the other hand, has a weaker design aesthetic. His simple but ineffective look falls short of the sophistication of his opponent. McCain’s stickers come in dark blue with white or (eek) yellow type. The look is just not appealing.


I wish I knew why McCain’s committee chose yellow. Navy and gold will always remind me of high school (which I wasn’t particularly fond of) and U. of Michigan (which I hate). Plus, I’ve just never seen a good combination of these two colors. If somebody can find me one, by all means. And he’s got this clipart star that doesn’t mean anything and a serif wannabe sans font. In addition, he has a completely different design with an elephant that breaks so far away from the others that it seems out of place and unprofessional.

Heller makes an interesting and amusing comparison about where the two parties put their logos.

Republicans = polo shirts and champagne glasses. Democrats = T-shirts and beer mugs.

The subject of where a logo goes is an interesting one. There was talk of a candidate for the California governorship sending out thongs with her logo. Now I personally think that is going way too far. And it saddens me to see losing candidate’s stickers still on cars, years after they’ve been defeated. Why do we keep those? Hope? Or is it just because regular stickers are way too hard to pull off of vehicles? But I do enjoy stickers. And buttons. And Obama has an amazing poster that I would buy if I had extra money to throw around.

As a last note, I want to make clear that I am not bashing the McCain. Nor am I endorsing Obama. I just like good design.