Do we vote on principle? Or is there visual science that persuades our votes? Does the logo of a political candidate really matters?
Top Political Logos:
We all know logos are important for companies to help build their brand image.
But logos are not just for companies, there are for people too, more specifically – political candidates.
In this article, I will explain the meaning behind some of the most successful political campaign logos, specifically of presidential candidates.
If you want to see all the political logos check this website.
First, let’s take a look at some of the important elements that go into logo design.
Candidates tend to play it safe with logo colors and not get too creative.
As a presidential candidate you wanna show patriotism, but at the same time it’s hard to differentiate yourself from other candidates.
It’s hard to criticize going with the colors of the American flag.
Past candidates have typically use red and blue exclusively, but can notice some shift from that, which I will explain on examples below.
Check this interesting article on Washington Post that examine the use of blue vs. red in political campaigns of 2018.
Typography choice is a critical element any logo and has a big impact and creating perceptions.
Using a sans serif font and bold all caps conveys strength and leadership.
While serif font in upper and lower case communicates that the candidate is more friendly and approachable.
Obviously the symbolism used in logos influences perceptions as well.
Past candidates used the American flag in all possible iterations of stars and stripes to convey patriotism.
As you will see still most of these political logos have something in common, especially when it comes to color.
Let's have a look at some of the best political logos:
1. Donald Trump
Whether you love him or hate him, his campaign was successful so was his logo.
The power in his logo lies in strong typography which is about 95% of the logo.
The logo is set in a simple and bold font with a distinctive red frame around it.
The use of navy blue and the 5 stars further reinforces the logo with feelings of patriotism.
The slogan isn’t quite original as Ronald Reagan used something similar: “Let’s Make America Great Again”.
Trump opted for a simple word-mark without any unique symbol, and a slogan that had already proven success.
The Trump’s logo is well executed and makes an impact because of the contrast between the extended bold typeface caps and the condensed typeface caps.
It looks very impressive when surrounded just by a delicate red border with little stars.
2. Barack Obama
In 2008 Barack Obama launches an extremely good campaign with his ground breaking logo.
This logo was very different and extremely effective.
The "o" is the the perfect symbol as a play on the first letter of his name.
This beautifully executed symbol portrays a sunrise over the horizon.
Which further nicely aligns with his campaign message of “hope and change”.
When you talk about perfect visual campaign for a presidential run – you surely talk about Obama’s logo.
Check this article where Matt Smith meticulously describes details about why Obama had his political campaign branding on point.
Here’s the Youtube interview with Obama’s logo design – Sol Sanders.
Obama also used the same successful logo in 2012 and 2016 campaigns.
3. Hillary Clinton
Hilary Clinton’s logo is probably the most distinctive of the bunch as it’s just a mark, made of an H and an arrow.
The strong arrow pushing forward symbolizes that she’s for future progress.
The Hillary’s logo was designed by Pentagram partner Michael Bierut is undeniably different than other logos and therefore memorable.
The logo evokes feelings of strength and power and conveys that she will take the country forward.
Here’s a lockup of that logo with the campaign’s tagline:
The visual identity for Hillary Clinton’s campaign is simple enough for clear communication, without being too hip.
Some people say the logo is too thick and rigid which makes it feel very masculine and therefore inappropriate for a women.
Read more about the Hillary’s logo here.
4. Rand Paul
Rand Paul chooses to only use his first name in a bold sans-serif font and all camps – which conveys strength and simplicity.
This is a very clean and simple logo and aligns nicely with his message of smaller, simplified government.
The torch is modeled after the Statue of Liberty torch.
Rand Paul’s logo “nicely merges the typography and the image of a torch,” said Sagi Haviv, partner and designer at Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv.
This symbolism is nod to his libertarian position as he tries to evoke feelings of freedom and liberty.
Paul Rand’s logo is not using traditional colors, but he goes for Navy Blue because it is iconic, strong, and timeless.
Paul Rand's logo is not using traditional colors, but he goes for Navy Blue because it is iconic, strong, and timeless.
5. Bernie Sanders
Did Bernie pick his font for a particular reason?
The star over the "i" letter is a visual nod to the American flag.
The logo appropriately uses the first name typeset in an informal, approachable serif font.
The intention was to make the campaign friendly, accessible and unmistakably American.
This particular logo is simple enough but lacks any real unique identity that would help it stand apart from the rest.
Interesting fact: the logo became so popular that it inspired a famous clothing line - Balenciaga to adapt it in its fashion line.
6. Scott Walker
While this logo seems to be genius.It actually seems to be heavily inspired by The America's Best, a company with 400 retail stores around US.
The logo uses the American flag as a starting point to create an “E” letter.
The argument is clear as both: the company and the campaign's logo use very similar rendering.
It’s a clever concept but it’s not exactly groundbreaking nor does it require a Ph.D. to come up with that idea.
Whether the designers copied the idea or came up with it originally – concept aside, the execution of this logo is very good.
See a more thorough analysis of this logo here.
7. Jeb Bush
Jeb Bush by using a traditional serif font presents a casual and approachable way.
The large exclamation mark is trying to drum up some excitement.
By only using his first name, he's clearly trying to distinguish himself from his family.
Also by having his first name in red, Jeb is trying to send a message that he is the Republican to choose.
The logo is very simple and some people say that was trying to rival the strong Hillary's logo.
8. Ted Cruz
Ted Cruz has used an interesting graphic symbol - the flag within a flame.
The flame mark is trying to convey a feeling of reigniting.
However, it's quite risky as it kind of looks like a burning flag.Some people even see it as a flag within a teardrop.
Either way, the flag burning or crying is probably not the perception he's trying to evoke.
This is my least favorite logo that's why it's the last on my list.The type says old and the flame says odd.
Over the past forty years campaign logos have become more and more important to the brand image of its candidates.
Branding is what people say when you’re not in the room.
We can’t control what people say, but we can surely influence how they see us.
Part of which is your campaign’s visual identity (look & feel) and the other part being you and what you say (messaging).
- Does it align well with and reinforce our overall messaging?
- Is it triggering the desired perceptions with the American public?
As you can see the sensory cues of a logo say a lot about a candidate and can actually advance or hinder your campaign goals.
Use it to your advantage and hire a professional to create your campaign logo designs.
Graphic designers know the punch that a star, an arrow or a font can pack and create something that will resonate with your voters.
Looking for a logo designer? – Start a project.
Share this article on social media and leave a comment below.