2008 Presidential Campaign Logos

They’re all here. From strong graphic designs to weak and listless typography. How the various Democratic and Republican primary campaign logos stack up.

The Democrat and Republican primary campaigns are in full-swing and over the upcoming months we’re sure to see all sorts of ads, fliers, posters, buttons and other trinkets promoting this Logo Go Round Newscandidate or that. Each of the campaign has unveiled their official logos so I’d thought it would be interesting if we were to take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of each. In no particular order (and without any partisan favoritism – this is an exercise about the logos, not the candidates themselves,) here’s a look at the various designs and a quick ‘Here’s what I think of ’em Factor review‘..

John Edwards.

Boring. Boring. Boring. The odd green screen background (which doesn’t even add anything to the design) and the trailing star are out of place. Font placement is not the best, but at least the font is bold, and the spacing is decent. Not terribly offensive but certainly not ‘that’s my boy’ inspirational either.

Hillary Clinton.

Not great but best of the bunch. Simple, bold, and the only logo that actually features a American flag graphic in a recognizable format. If I was to nit-pick, I’d opine that the smallish italic serif may lead to some reproduction issues and even take away some of the potential strength of the overall design. Tru’nuff – if we nuke the right hand portion of the logo (going only with the Hillary and flag motif) this design would be more effective. After all, doesn’t everybody know that Hillary is running for president – so why use up half the real estate to proclaim it, especially in such a namby-pamby way?

Jim Gilmore.

Gilmore’s logo has the apostrophe in ’08 upside down and backwards. The stars and stripes graphic is passable (barely), but lost under the ‘G’, which is a bit iconic for a politician (the 3D highlights are a little trite to boot). While others have chosen to use only their first and last names, Gilmore has decided to use his initial as the focal point. Bad descision. The lettering portion of the logo looks like it has been slapped on as an after-thought, while too much real estate is used up by the redundant use of his last name.

Rudy Giuliani.

Not a great logo. I understand that Guiliani’s last name may represent some graphic challenges (and ‘Rudy’ is the campaign ‘buzz’), but used in this way, it’s nowhere near as graphically strong as the Clinton graphic which also presents itself on a first-name basis. Like McCain, Giuliani has chosen to go the minimalist route, but it certainly isn’t the rah-rah design that the voting public have come to expect, and certainly doesn’t represent any central themes of his campaign. The red keyline looks like someone realized “hey – USA colors are red, white and blue! Let’s git some red in there”, and crow barred it in seconds before launch. Overall – bland.

Mitt Romney.

I guess this is supposed to reflect seriousness, but the flag background is far too dark to be effective. In many uses the flag will blend into a muddy quagmire. If the stars and stripes aren’t gonna be ‘loud and proud’ why bother with in the first place? The sombre nature of the design renders it devoid of any charisma and the logo is almost devoid of any personality. Having said that, the simple font treatment has an almost ‘Top Gun‘ movie marquee feel which might appeal to some.

Chris Dodd.

The colored background is nasty. Boring use of typography. Not much of a logo at all.

John McCain.

While I understand its inclusion (military experience and all that) the star portion of the logo is oddly off-center (and might be hell when it comes to smallish reproduction). The simplistic nature of this logo almost works, though I hate the font and the yellow and black color scheme reminds me a little of McCain’s French Fries design.

Bill Richardson.

The physical closeness of Richardson’s name to the red bar combined with the completely unnecessary overlap over the star makes me uncomfortable and gives this logo the appearance of 10 lbs of sugar being squeezed into a 5lb bag. The design elements are starved of breathing room (and there’s tons of space that could be utilized for lovely negative space). The blends are a strange touch that don’t add anything to the design and runs of the risk of turning the graphics into low-contrast mud.

Barack Obama.

At least he got the apostrophe right. Unlike the other candidate’s graphics, there’s some sort of visual imagery going on with this one (new dawn over America I guess). Not extremely effectively, but points for the attempt. Too, it will be interesting to see how it works in context. The web address addition is a good idea, but far too small for any use smaller than here (thought to be completely fair – I’m not sure if the web address is used in all instances). The font choice is extremely weak and the spacing is a bit hinky. One too many shades of blue – without any purpose. The Obama logo design is pretty good. Not great.

Joe Biden.

Not bad balance of typography (though the poor spacing in Biden weakens the word). Same sort of deal as Dodds, but a little better use of typography and the little star helps. Not even sure what the background image represents and its addition clutters up the logo without adding anything. I find the star point that peeks out from behind the ‘B’ troubling – I know it’s a star, but I keep trying to find the rest of it. To be fair – this is more than likely a web only version, and on a neutral background it would be a little better.

Duncan Hunter.

Truly awful logo. Mismatched type, very badly placed 08 (complete with backward apostrophe), the Hunter campaign’s logo is very weak visually. The scrawny president type (as well as the word Duncan) aren’t going to translate well when reproduced smallish. The various fonts and colors are all competing for attention, while the use of the logos footprint is extremely poor. Worst of them all.

Ron Paul.

The new media darling of the Libertarian side, the logo for his campaign is not the logo I’d expect from someone who otherwise seems so Internet savvy. Weak type, awful kerning. Paul’s logo is the only one that features a campaign slogan – The ‘Hope for America’ – generally a good idea. Alas, the tagline typography is so sickly and small that any ‘oomph’ of the slogan is neutered. I would have thought that Paul and his gang would have gone Web 2.0.