When I first established my major in college as marketing, I pictured myself selling products to a bunch of like-minded people. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered all the different routes there are under the “marketing” umbrella. Political marketing must be one of the most interesting types of marketing I have heard of. While interesting is a vague word to describe it, I think political marketing just makes sense. Personally, I have only been alive for three presidencies but, the designs of many candidates (even before my time) are iconic.
Legendary logo designer Paul Rand says that a logo’s decree is to be clear, memorable, and distinct. Presidential candidates are essentially being marketed as, “the best for their country” during their campaigns. The campaign and design team have the hardest job which is to market their candidate to the most diverse demographic and psychographic: the American people. Americans come from all different backgrounds, upbringings, identities, etc. therefore a presidential candidate’s design presence must have the same effect on a voter in California as it does in Missouri.
The simplicity of these presidential logos is what makes them stand out, but in the same essence unify their supporters whom could be across the country. Michael Bierut – the creator of Hillary Clinton’s famous “H” logo – received much criticism for the simplicity of his design in a negative light. However, the simplicity of it allowed people from around the country to mimic it (from a kindergartner cutting a paper “H” to chefs preparing “H” dishes). President Donald Trump produced his infamous “Make America Great Again” design imprinted on $3.2 million worth of hats during his campaign. These red colored hats – which signified the color of the Republican party – joined with white Times New Roman font made waves with those who wore them; from Canadians wearing them as a joke to middle America wearing them in support of Trump’s campaign.
The Trump and Clinton race was the most prominent one in my life, but I think it would be remissive of me not to include the “Reagan-Bush ‘84” designs as famous political logos. Ronald Reagan took on a role of political branding that was never seen in politics with the help of PR expert Michael Deaver. Millennials and Gen Z have adapted the Reagan/Bush shirts as their own powerhouse of fashion and typography. Many are using the famous font and typography to input words of their own (in replacement of “Reagan” and “Bush”). The wave of bringing back nostalgic things in fashion and entertainment has not left the Reagan-Bush administration out. When my generation’s children venture out into a wave of classics, I hope the Trump and Clinton logos are put to nostalgic use.