Political campaigns hinge on creative logo design

Advertisers are not the only ones who slave over logos. As more and more candidates announce that they are running for president in 2016, teams are dying to find the perfect image that will propel their candidate to victory.

That may seem like a stretch, but logos are seen as just as important in the political world as they are in business and advertising.

That's why the marketing team that designed President Obama's campaign logo in 2008 went on to win Advertising Age’s “2008 Marketer of the Year” award for their work.

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The logo they designed was seen as one of the strongest parts of Obama's campaign.

In fact, just like for corporations, political logos in general are seen as pivotal for creating name recognition for a candidate and properly organizing their campaign strategy, according to an analysis done by Carissa Nee.

And while campaign may logos look simple, there is an incredible amount of thought, time, and effort that goes into creating an effective one.

That's why the same year that Obama's logo was plastered all over the country, John McCain's logo failed to stick with voters and made it difficult for his team to push for widespread promotion.

According to Nee, this is because it failed moderately at two of these three “best practices”:

1. Create a moderately elaborate logo
2. Create a logo with a natural image
3. Create a logo with a high level of familiar meaning

McCain's logo was completely void of elaborate design, and while featuring the naval star offered some familiar meaning for audiences, the disconnect between that message and that of his running mate, Sarah Palin, confused voters.

McCain also failed to strike any similarity with an existing brand, unlike Obama, who's logo was very similar to the latest iteration of the Pepsi logo.


Still, despite all the praise Obama's design was actually seen as risky to some, due to its complicated and hidden meanings, (the logo is supposed invoke visions of the sun rising over the ocean, a symbol of hope).

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But already, hopeful 2016 Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton has seen widespread criticism for her simplified logo which features nothing but a prominent blue “H” with a red arrow pointing through it to the right.

The problem being that the color red and “the right” are symbols of the Republican, not Democratic, party.

The branding attempt inspired so much hate online that one company, Moving Brands, tried to create a better one in just five days.

Ultimately, they decided not to use a logo all together, stating that Hilary's face and persona are iconic enough that any attempt to portray her campaign through a logo would be far less effective than just using her image. They focused instead on her brand and slogans.

And so, just as in business, politicians rely on logos to keep their campaign imprinted on your mind, and based on the criticism and praise given to the marketers behind them, political logos are just as difficult to create as those of your favorite brands.