Politics

Designers critique campaign logos

By Ashley Killough, CNN

Updated 3:23 PM ET, Mon July 6, 2015
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Presidential logos can mean different things to different people. Sky Hartman, a brand designer who created Ron Paul's 2012 logo, and Ben Ostrower, a designer who worked on Bernie Sanders' logo, review some of the 2016 presidential logos.
Sky Hartman: Where do I even begin? The logo is overcrowded with elements that compete with each other. For example, the descender of the "P" has a shifted perspective where the star does not. Additionally, Perry is from Texas and the flag representing Texas has one star, where here he has three. I would have stuck with one star. Overall, I'd say this is 3/10.
Ben Ostrower: Trying to be the "P" to Obama's "O," it comes off as a muddled image without enough graphic simplicity or any clarity of concept. It's a confused baseball team logo.
Hartman: This particular logo is simple enough but lacks any real unique identity that would help it stand apart from the rest. The use of color is good, however. I'd give this 5/10.
Ostrower: Gonna abstain since it was one of our designs. But I can tell you that the intention (and it's not a secret) was to make the campaign friendly, accessible and unmistakably American. In short: the furthest thing from radical or unfamiliar.
Hartman: This is nice. The use of a thinner font is what makes this logo stand apart from the others. The juxtaposition of the name with the title helps to create contrast and focus the attention on who is running. The detail on the "A" isn't exactly useful but it does help to bring color into the wordmark. I'd give this a 6/10.
Ostrower: Obviously trying to play up her tech bona fides with the clean, simple typography and futuristic, angular "A." It succeeds in its simplicity (always a good thing in branding), but fails to make a significant impact.
Hartman: This logo has been the subject of much debate since first debuting. Although I respect and admire the agency that created it, I'm not so certain this conveys the right message. The use of red as the hero color seems odd for the campaign. Another odd choice is that the arrow points right and is over top of the blue. However, what is smart is the campaign walked away from her name as the focus and moved to a symbol. The brand then becomes more versatile and easier to recognize. People will walk away and remember the "H". Whether you like it or not, it's smart. Overall I'd give this a 7/10.
Ostrower: I've loved this from the start even when everyone was making fun of it. Hillary has nearly 100% name recognition nationally, so the designers had both the luxury and the obligation to take a bold risk. The result is not only iconic but highly modular: its square orientation makes it optimal for the multitude of social media uses. My favorite use of it is as a window (transparent over an image)
Hartman: This seems fairly simple although there isn't anything special about it. The lines above the name don't seem to convey anything specific. Overall it is a bit bland. I'd give this a 4/10.
Ostrower: More befitting a Senate campaign, it lacks the dynamism to inspire on a national level. The serif font unfortunately reinforces his age, his seniority and old ideas.
Hartman: One thing I've noticed is the use of Gotham-style fonts. The problem I have with this logo is the kerning. The letters are a bit too close together, which when scaled down, can be difficult to read. Although the use of an eagle representing America is a good concept, I think it could have been executed better. I'd give this a 5/10
Ostrower: This is the same logo from his 2012 campaign. The red eagle feels fascistic and, frankly, a bit too much like low-rent clip art.
Hartman: One thing that was memorable about Obama's '08 campaign logo was the sun rising behind a field. It looks like the campaign took a page out of that book -- but didn't quite deliver. Although the use of type is clean and easy to understand, there's nothing about this logo that would make me remember it in two years. Overall, a 4/10.
Ostrower: Too much going on here. Sagi Haviv from the famous branding firm Chermayeff, Geismar & Haviv (also a client of ours) said it's too much of an over-engineered play on the rolling meadows of Obama's circle logo. I happen to agree.
Hartman: The type treatment is clean and easy to read; however, the illustration of America as the dot in the letter "i" is very hard to see when scaled down. Overall, this a decent logo. I'd give it a 6/10.
Ostrower: This logo has taken a lot of heat. I don't love it, but I think it succeeds well enough in its obvious goals: being youthful, new and friendly. The simple sans serif and all lower case typography helps to achieve this. The small U.S. shape (sans Alaska and Hawaii) above the "I" makes it feel a little too cutesy.
Hartman: This logo seems more suited for messaging or chat app than for a presidential candidate. The main problem with this logo is that it doesn't stand out and doesn't have anything representing America. Overall, I'd give this a 2/10.
Ostrower: I've seen people say that this looks like the logo for Martin O'Malley's MSNBC show and I have to agree. I like that they were trying something a bit different here (a speech bubble!), but the execution is a bit rough. The spacing around the typography isn't consistent and the arrow element in the bottom left is at an odd angle.
Hartman: This logo is using a bolder font which helps the name stand out. I do like the use of negative space to represent the base of the torch but it doesn't quite have that uniqueness that makes a presidential logo perfect. Overall, I'd give this a 7/10.
Ostrower: Graphically, this is strong. Simple lettering. The negative space between the "A" and the "N" cleverly creates the base of a torch. However, the red and black colors and heavy lettering unintentionally come off as a bit fascist.
Ostrower: The first time I saw this I thought the logomark looked like a tear or a drop of oil and now I can't unsee it.
Hartman: I'm not crazy about the type or the flame. The type says old and the flame seems odd. The star, which is representative of America, under the flame almost comes across as though the campaign wants to put America out. I'm certain that's not the campaign's goal, but that's how it reads. Overall, this is my least favorite logo. I'd give this a 2/10.