Stop with the Logos!

 

A company needs a good logo. A politician needs a good name. But since the turn of the century (this one!) presidential candidates, or their handlers, have decided that they need to be graphically branded like Coca-Cola.

The Obama camp took it to a whole new, creepy level. And now I’m sure all the campaigns are focus grouping the bejeebers out of font styles and graphic elements. That the Clinton folks came up with something that resembles a hospital sign only says that they have the same level of taste in design that they do in candidates.

Three years ago Mitt Romney went to war with a squiggled red, white and blue “R” that said, “Please remember to brush after every meal and see your dentist twice a year!”

Let’s take a look at how the Republican entries are doing this go-around:

Logos

As we can see, Senators Paul and Cruz are on fire, supposedly with the Torch of Liberty but it could just be an angry mob. Paul’s is more esthetically pleasing but I dislike the use of just the first name. Just Elvis. Just Cher. Now, just “Rand.” And someone needs to tell Cruz’s people that in any American flag theme the stars always lead.

As for marcorubio – yeah, the man with evidently no shift key or space bar – all I have to say is, if you’re going to ripoff a look, you can do better than this:

msnbc_logo_sticker_3_7x2.5

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  1. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    I hate the Cruz logo; it’s a teardrop of flag-oil in the shape of the Al-Jazeera logo, or something. The Rubio logo literally implies the man is bigger than the country he wants to lead. There’s a reason no one uses the ungainly shape of the country in their logos.

    • #1
  2. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    James Lileks: I hate the Cruz logo; it’s a teardrop of flag-oil in the shape of the Al-Jazeera logo, or something.

    Can you talk the family into suing?

    Capture

    • #2
  3. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @CalvinCoolidg

    The sad fact is is that Obama proved that the “Logo”, or branding, works. It works very well, and Coca Cola isn’t complaining. Either is Obama.

    • #3
  4. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    It gives the advertising consultants something to do. Keeps them away from policy.

    • #4
  5. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    My logo for the past 18 years has been a mountain scene with a stethoscope sliding down it like ski runs. These politicians should hire my old baby sitter who thought it all up. She’s better than all 3 of those.

    • #5
  6. user_7742 Inactive
    user_7742
    @BrianWatt

    James Lileks:I hate the Cruz logo; it’s a teardrop of flag-oil in the shape of the Al-Jazeera logo, or something. The Rubio logo literally implies the man is bigger than the country he wants to lead. There’s a reason no one uses the ungainly shape of the country in their logos.

    I believe his name is Mar Corubio. Sheesh!

    • #6
  7. user_7742 Inactive
    user_7742
    @BrianWatt

    I’m actually becoming quite fond of Hillary’s logo.

    • #7
  8. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Brian Watt:

    James Lileks:I hate the Cruz logo; it’s a teardrop of flag-oil in the shape of the Al-Jazeera logo, or something. The Rubio logo literally implies the man is bigger than the country he wants to lead. There’s a reason no one uses the ungainly shape of the country in their logos.

    I believe his name is Mar Corubio. Sheesh!

    I thought he was Irish and it was Marc O’Rubio. Who’da thunk it.

    • #8
  9. user_141684 Inactive
    user_141684
    @KeithSF

    Rand Paul’s logo makes me think of a gas station…. isn’t there a gas station chain somewhere that uses something similar?

    I appreciate what Rubio is trying for here, kind of minimal and modern, but the US silhouette looks like a bug or an ink smudge, so… not good.

    Speaking of ink:

    Soy_Ink

    If the Cruz campaign is going to, ahem, appropriate designs from other sources, they probably shouldn’t pick a logo that all of us see all the time on just about every paper product we use.

    (In the interest of bi-partisanship, I’ll add this: Hillary’s logo is pretty underwhelming too)

    • #9
  10. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @EustaceCScrubb

    If someone could get the rights to use this for their logo, the election would be in the bag:

    batman

    • #10
  11. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Eustace C. Scrubb:If someone could get the rights to use this for their logo, the election would be in the bag:

    batman

    There is a long American tradition of buying votes for rum, but I thought Bacardi’s logo was a little different than that.

    Seawriter

    • #11
  12. thebeekeeperkissedme Inactive
    thebeekeeperkissedme
    @thebeekeeperkissedme

    James Lileks:…There’s a reason no one uses the ungainly shape of the country in their logos.

    I thought it was a fish.

    • #12
  13. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    I think once supporters start putting up Hillary Clinton’s H with an arrow signs, we are going to see a bunch of ambulance drivers getting lost trying to find the hospital.

    • #13
  14. Belt Inactive
    Belt
    @Belt

    When I first saw Hillary’s logo pop up on conservative sites, I thought it was some sort of coordinated right-wing spoof.  I’m starting to think that it speaks volumes about her campaign.

    • #14
  15. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    First one to use this gets my vote.

    Bucs

    • #15
  16. Wylee Coyote Member
    Wylee Coyote
    @WyleeCoyote

    Ugh, I don’t like any of these. Rand Paul’s makes him look like a publisher of textbooks.

    • #16
  17. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    These are all terrible. Both Rand Paul and Cruz are going for the whole torch of liberty thing, which may be a good concept but both of these are failed attempts. The marcorubio thing is a disaster.

    • #17
  18. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    EJ,

    It would be interesting to go back and compare the logos of all the presidential winners and losers to see how important presidential campaign logos are.

    • #18
  19. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    I kinda like this one:

    Nixon

    It’s those little details that matter.

    • #19
  20. skipsul Inactive
    skipsul
    @skipsul

    Casey:First one to use this gets my vote.

    Bucs

    Wait till next year!

    • #20
  21. user_1134414 Member
    user_1134414
    @Hugh

    I wonder what Joe Biden’s logo would look like…… (something literal I expect)

    • #21
  22. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    I hypothesize that it goes back to the success of Bush-Cheney vs. the failure of Kerry-Edwards.

    bush_kerry_3

    http://www.brandautopsy.com/2004/10/dissecting_the_.html

    It’s sorta like lawn signs. Lawn signs don’t win votes, but having fewer lawn signs than the other guy almost certainly loses votes.

    In a similar way, a good logo doesn’t win votes, but a logo that’s worse than your opponent’s logo will almost certainly lose you votes.

    • #22
  23. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Furthermore, from a design perspective, Rand Paul’s logo is awesome.

    The use of negative space to create the handle of Liberty’s Torch is inspired.

    Rubio’s logo is crud. A (incomplete!) map of the US as the dot in the ‘i’? That’s lame. Americans identify themselves with ideas and symbols, not with maps. Using a map to symbolize a nation smacks of the creepy sort of lifeless nationalism one gets from the mind of an architect like Albert Speer.

    Also, the dot in the letter ‘i’ is optional. It disappears when the letter is capitalized.  Is Rubio saying that America is optional and will be discarded once he’s in the capital?

    Ted Cruz’ logo is adequate, but way too busy, and really rather uninspired. I also don’t understand why he would set fire to the American flag. Seems disrespectful.

    Hillary Clinton’s logo would be fine for a supermarket, but it’s lousy for a candidate.

    • #23
  24. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    James Lileks:I hate the Cruz logo; it’s a teardrop of flag-oil in the shape of the Al-Jazeera logo, or something. The Rubio logo literally implies the man is bigger than the country he wants to lead. There’s a reason no one uses the ungainly shape of the country in their logos.

    imrs.php

    • #24
  25. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    EJHill: Three years ago Mitt Romney went to war with a squiggled red, white and blue “R” that said, “Please remember to brush after every meal and see your dentist twice a year!”

    If you look at the ‘R’ in that logo, it’s supposed to evoke the idea of human beings coming together in solidarity.

    Didn’t really work, because the R was overshadowed by the rest of the logo so the symbolism was lost, because the three people look like they’re waiting in line (at the DMV or the unemployment line?), and also because three different typefaces in one logo is a megafail.

    That’s one reason Obama’s “O” worked so well. There are multiple layers of symbolism in that logo (sunrise,fields of grain or a highway, an arch or a hug or a halo, etc…), and it’s allowed to stand alone so people focus on it exclusively.

    • #25
  26. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Casey:I kinda like this one:

    It’s those little details that matter.

    This is the winner:

    402266_321228434574226_100000612161147_1094056_234144209_n

    Support our inevitable overlord here: https://www.facebook.com/cthulhuforprez

    • #26
  27. The Great Adventure! Inactive
    The Great Adventure!
    @TheGreatAdventure

    I might suggest we exercise a bit of caution on the logo critiques, else the discussion might descend into critiques of each other’s avatars.  Or maybe my own?

    The illustrious EJ created mine, but it seems he neglected the most recognizable symbol of my illustrious University of Oregon Ducks.  Perhaps one of the opponents of the latest Dirty Rotten Scoundrel should contact Phil Knight and bring him into the fold…

    swoosh

    • #27
  28. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    The Great Adventure!:I might suggest we exercise a bit of caution on the logo critiques, else the discussion might descend into critiques of each other’s avatars.

    My avatar is a paragon of semiotic perfection.

    • #28
  29. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Misthiocracy: My avatar is a paragon of semiotic perfection.

    Which is not to be confused with semi-erotic perfection. It only means Mis drinks… a lot.

    • #29
  30. The Great Adventure! Inactive
    The Great Adventure!
    @TheGreatAdventure

    EJHill

    Misthiocracy: My avatar is a paragon of semiotic perfection.

    Which is not to be confused with semi-erotic perfection. It only means Mis drinks… a lot.

    And “semi” inevitably leads to “auto”.

    • #30
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