The Presidential Brand-off. Cast Your Vote!

Let’s face it; politics is about marketing. It’s about creating and selling an image–a brand– that motivates people to get behind a candidate. Who do you think has the better 2012 presidential brand?

For Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, a team of designers with no previous political experience created the freshest, most recognized political brand logo of all time. In fact, they created the first actual presidential logo. It is a good, clean, strong design, and it is a complete departure from the dated, meaningless political graphics of the past. You know them: typographic solutions with some graphic suggestion of stars and stripes. (Not logos.) Presidential logos over the yearsObama’s logo is particularly striking because it is layered with meaning and is entirely contemporary and different. The graphic “O” conveys the idea of a rising sun and evokes a sense of unity. One country, not blue states and red states. It is beautifully balanced and can stand completely on its own. The instant recognition of this graphic icon is extremely powerful. (Kudos to designer, Sol Sender and team.) Obama's campaign logo.

Of course a brand is more than a logo itself. The look and feel of the Obama brand really stands out for its effective use of white space and expressive photographic style. The design of bumper stickers, window clings, buttons, and the website really cut through the clutter and visually tout the Obama difference…a brand well done.

Romney, on the other hand, could be viewed as a bit of a copycat. They have taken more of a “logo” approach, although when you Google “who designed Romney’s logo,” you don’t get much in terms of search results. It would be helpful to know what the creative team was striving for strategically.

What you will find mentioned about the Romney logo, over and over again, is that the wavy tri-colored “R” is reminiscent of the Aquafresh toothpaste graphic. (A different kind of freshness from the Obama logo.) You might also find critiques pointing out that the “R” draws the eye down…suggesting a negative direction. Yet others describe the three “R’s’” to be a takeoff on the Girl Scouts logo, or on a positive note, profiles of people shaping the letter “R” implying teamwork. Romney's campaign logo

Other things to note about this brand, is the campaign slogan, Believe in America. I believe it is a bit broad. And the overall look and feel of the Romney brand lacks impact and is not very well designed. I guess that’s why Obama’s website has 31M Facebook “Likes” versus Romney’s 9.9M. But, you can still cast your vote!