Have you seen this logo before?
Or, how about this Shepard Fairey inspired poster of Obama?
Of course you have.
These two images have become synonymous with the name Obama and they will be forever etched into our minds. While the Obama 2008 presidential campaign was significant on so many levels, it was also notable for the profound impact that it had over the way that we see logos in presidential campaigns and the depth of their influence over voters. It is now abundantly clear that logos are a vital tool that can be used very effectively in presidential election campaigns. They help to bridge the gap between the candidate and his/her community while communicating a candidate’s ideals, ambitions and goals. Obviously, a Presidential candidates logo alone won’t win an election, but it can have significant influence over voters and the overall success of a campaign.
It is now undeniably clear that a candidate’s logo can be a very strong visual symbol that ties everything together in a candidate’s election campaign. That is why everyone was in such an uproar earlier this July when the Donald Trump campaign released its new logo after announcing Trump’s new running mate, Mike Pence. The new Trump-Pence logo showed the two candidates initials intertwined with the famous red and white stripes of the American flag. Here it is below:
This logo sparked much debate on the Internet and amongst the design community. Perhaps the most enduring comments about this logo alluded to its sexual nature citing that it was a quite obviously a ‘T’ penetrating a ‘P’. While I completely agree that the sexual reference in this logo is undeniable, I can’t help but think that, like much of the debate over the two presidential candidates themselves, the issues surrounding this logo are purely being fueled by emotion and not actual by thoughtful critic. Inevitable, this is politics and some people don’t like Trump so I completely understand the backlash however I also believe that it is important to step back for a moment to look at this logo design objectively.
While overall I do feel like this logo is a failure, some aspects of it were executed fairly well and with purpose. For example, this logo connects the two candidate’s initials, T and P with a classic logo design technique. It is called a monogram and monograms have been used time and time again in logo design. A monogram is when two or more letters overlap together in a logo design. This is a very conventional and traditional logo style that was perhaps used in Trump’s logo in order to offset some of his more unconventional political views. Also, by using this monogram in interplay with the American flag, the logo uses a symbol that we are all very familiar with to convey strength, power and leadership.
Although there is nothing wrong with the monogram part of the Trump-Pence logo (besides the underlying sexual reference, obviously), in terms of design, the logo fails because it takes this traditional element and mixes it with a modern sans-serif font and geometric angles. This simply doesn’t work. It combines elements from different eras, which is confusing and renders the logo less powerful. The Trump campaign could have easily created a much more powerful logo if they had used the T-P monogram with a serif font or even just ditched the monogram all together.
All this to say that the Trump-Pence campaign did come to their senses last week as they pulled this monogram logo and replaced it with a simple logo where the name Trump sits above the name Pence. After drawing so much social media criticism and realizing the logo blunder that they had unleashed, this simply was their best option. Here is the newest edition of the Trump-Pence presidential election logo.
Let me know what you think. I’d love to hear some of the opinions from my readers.
As an aside and for those of you that are interested, here are some other presidential election campaign logos that were used in the past: