how to pick a republican presidential candidate like a graphic designer

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Thursday, January 12th, 2012

how to pick a republican presidential candidate like a graphic designer

we’ve spent the better part of the last 12 months watching the dog and pony show that is known as the republican primary season. this entire process has been, to say the least, entertaining to behold. this is quite the crop of candidates. i mean that in the so-painful-to-watch-yet-so-awesome sense of the word.

i’ll reserve much political commentary in this post. quite frankly, i have plenty of opinions of the republican field, but regardless of who wins the nominee, i’ll be voting for barack obama. and i really think you should also.

in the event that you will not be voting for barack obama or that you still haven’t decided, i’d like to help you whittle down the republican field by using a tried-and-true litmus test: who has the best logo. (you can thank me later.)

regardless of your political stance, it should be clear that barack obama has the gold standard of campaign logos. but what about his potential foe this november? i’ll be ranking the republican candidates from worst to first, based solely on the strength of their logo. whether they have policies that tear apart america or kickstart a great american renaissance, this evaluation looks only at the strength of their logo.

alright, here we go, kids.

7. buddy roemer

[first of all, yes, there’s a guy named buddy roemer who wants to be your next president. there’s actually a couple more dudes who are currently in the race (on varying state’s ballots), but buddy’s the only “other guy” who i could find a logo for.]

oh, buddy. you tried to create a unique shape with the hemisphere, which i appreciate. it’s good to differentiate yourself. but what you didn’t differentiate yourself from was the 90s with that blue to red gradient. without the gradient, this logo could’ve easily jumped at least a couple spots in this list. also, buddy, you gotta kill the stars in the “O” and the “0”. or at least choose just 1 of them. (sidenote: i actually really like his website and he employs a different logo on the site…which would’ve gotten him near the top of this list.)

6. mitt romney

barring some freakish turn of events, mitt romney will be the republican candidate facing off with barack obama in november. while he wins the republican race, he’s losing the logo race. one word is all we need in this conversation: aquafresh. in fact, i think when romney unveiled this logo, either the word ‘aquafresh’ or ‘toothpaste’ started briefly trending on twitter (no, i’m serious). toothpaste aside, we’ve been there and done that with the font trajan and the kerning is terrible, particularly with the ‘E’ & ‘Y’.

5. rick perry

would you like to take the blue pill or the red pill? guess what!? with rick perry’s logo, you get to take both simultaneously. it’s not so much that the design is bad, it’s just more that this tells us absolutely nothing about him or his campaign. i don’t think a logo has to be literal (far from it, actually), but it should indicate something about what the candidate stands for. this logo tells us nothing.

4. newt gingrich

the fact that this logo comes in 4th place tells us much more about spots 5 through 7 than it does about itself. really what saves the day for newt gingrich’s logo is the fact that his name is newt. i’m not saying newt is a good name, but immediately differentiate your logo by using a first name and because it’s concise, it lends itself well to a tidy logo. of course, there’s plenty of bad news. primarily, of every font on planet earth, he chooses times new roman as if to say, “eff it, i’m just using the first font that comes on in microsoft word.” plus, good try with the web 2.0 gradient vibe on the logo, but, well, no.

3. ron paul

i went back and forth about this one. by no means is a good logo, but for ron paul, it more or less works. it’s straightforward and lacks flash—just like ron paul. it gets downgraded for a couple reasons. first of all, the little swooshy thing on the ‘A’ adds a little interest, but that’s exactly why it’s there: just to be there. it doesn’t serve any other purpose. the second reason is that ron paul stands for something different than the rest of the field, yet his logo is about as predictable as possible. an uppercase minion font that says his name is what we’d expect from michele bachmann…oh wait

2. jon huntsman

jon huntsman wants you to believe he’s a different kind of candidate. so he created a logo that’s different. and while it’s certainly different than your run-of-the-mill presidential red, white and blue logo, it’s ultimately more different in the i’m-not-sure-if-this-is-a-presidential-candidate-logo-or-a-logo-for-the-new-line-of-slacks-at-jc-penny sense of the word. i mean, come on, you’d buy some slacks with this logo on the tag, right? it says, “i can wear these for a weekend at the hamptons or i can wear them that one time a year they make me dress up for the work christmas party.” but hey, i’m giving him the benefit of the doubt for trying something different. you’re second place, jon!

1. rick santorum

look, i’m not saying this is a good logo. i’m simply saying that it’s the best of this sordid lot of logos. what works for rick santorum’s logo is that he stayed traditional/conservative, but not in a completely cliché way. the use of baskerville (font) is just enough to differentiate from times new roman and minion and the color palette is traditional while not being gaudy (i’m looking at you, newt & mitt). the eagle also manages to walk a fine line between too literal and too clip art-like. as an added bonus, (and it’s difficult to see) rather than circle above the eagle being completed with stars, it’s actually the word ‘freedom’.

alright, there you have it. the winner—despite his frothy googleness—is rick santorum. that’s who you have to vote for. the logo gods demand it.

[of course, if you want to vote for the best logo (not to mention the best policies) from any political persuasion, you’ll just wait until november and cast a vote for brother barry…]

2 Comments

  1. Sean Canady says:

    Well played, sir…well played! Nice analysis of the logos. It made for a pleasant read!

  2. SmoovP says:

    The kerning on Rick Santorum’s logo is horrifying. It’s just random. You could drive a truck between the R and I, yet the R and U are giving each other an uncomfortable manhug. And why in the God Who Hates Gay People’s name, are his first and last names in different colors? Was it just because he had to use all three of the red, white and blue? That has to be it.

    Newt gets his kerning right… until you hit the last 2. Why, designer person, did you simply forget to tuck that last 2 in? Was it just not ready to go to bed yet? Maybe it’s a template deal, so he can just plug in a 6 in four years without too much trouble.

    Dead on about Jon Huntsman. I’d buy those slacks from him, and like them.

    The Roemer logo on his website is awesome.

    I’d have to go with Newt or Ron Paul as being the best of a mediocre lot.

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