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June 17, 2015

Hillary’s Campaign Logo: Design Fail?

Hillary’s Campaign Logo: Design Fail?

As if running for president on a first-name basis weren’t controversial enough, now Hillary is generating a ruckus over her campaign logo.

Oh, Hillary. Between fighting the urge to swipe right and unlock some as-yet-unseen-screen and driving around in constant right-veering circles looking for a hospital, we hardly know where to start with your political logo design.

Whether you’re Team Red or Team Blue, graphic design experts on both sides of the fence can finally agree on one thing: Hillary’s logo is just plain not good. Within virtual nanoseconds of the public unveiling, her campaign headquarters was barraged by redesign suggestions and her Twitter feed was overrun by pithy one-liners.

Ouch.

Just for kicks, let’s take a look at some of the biggest logo no-nos that Hillary’s stalwart H-with-an-arrow so majestically encompasses.

Lack of Contrast

One major problem with Hillary’s political logo design is the lack of contrast.

What’s that? You say red and blue provide plenty of contrast? We’ll just stop you right there with yes, we do realize that red and blue are standard political logo colors and contrast in a very patriotic type of way. The problem is that the contrast value will not translate well to black and white so hot. (And by “not so hot” we mean “absolutely not, will not at all in any way.”)

The design isn’t interesting enough on its own to carry its weight in greyscale, which means every pamphlet that’s sent over to the monochrome printer in the interest of saving on color ink cartridges will end up looking pretty much like an H with a slightly pointy tumor on one side, nary a dramatic arrow in sight.

One of the first rules of logo design in any capacity is to make absolutely sure the design works across a wide range of circumstances: billboards and business cards both; full-color brochures and crappy photocopies equally. Hillary’s logo does not pass this test. (And by “not pass” we again mean “absolutely not, will not at all in any way.”)

Brand Identity

Does anyone else remember that old joke about how Hillary and Bill pulled into a gas station and her ex-boyfriend is the guy at the pump? As they drive away, Bill says something like “Boy, it’s a good thing you married the guy who became president instead of that guy back there, huh?” And Hillary says, “If I would’ve married him, he would’ve been president.” That’s the kind of legacy we’re dealing with here.

And to represent that level of chutzpah we have…

A big H.

With a red arrow.

An utterly yawn-worthy graphic that would look perfectly at home on Sesame Street but falls embarrassingly short of even beginning to encompass Hillary’s bona fide urban legend status.

Regardless of the direction in which you plan to toss your vote, there’s no denying that Hillary is a force who demands to be reckoned with. Maybe her logo designer thought that this fact was so accepted already there was no point in beating a dead horse over the head with a decent logo design? Who can say. Most of the Internet agrees that there was very little alleged “thinking” at all behind that thing.

Look, your logo needs to be you—everything you stand for, everything you believe in, everything you deliver—summarized neatly in one all-encompassing symbol. Is that a lot of pressure to put on a single graphic? Yes. Yes it is. That’s why you hire professional brand designers who spend hours and hours researching everything you stand for/believe in/deliver before coming up with a logo that represents all of those things. While looking fantastic. Whether large, small, or in greyscale. (The logo. Not the designers. Well, maybe the designers too.)

Citizens United for Hillary’s New Logo

The verdict is in, and it’s unanimous: everyone says Hillary’s political logo design was planned with malice aforethought and deserves nothing less than the death penalty. Her designer—and the Commodore 64 s/he rode in on—oughta be run outta town on a rail. Grab the pitchforks, everyone!

Still, we can’t put all the blame on the lowly designer. Because love Hillary or hate her, we’re not sure what degree of imagination can reasonably be expected from someone with such a famous devotion to the decidedly unimaginative pantsuit.

author

by Kevin Smith
Managing partner at SmashBrand. We're a group of experienced brand owners, thinkers and world-class designers united by an obsession for creating category disrupting brand experiences.

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