The American Elections | Branding 101

First impressions matter and certainly that is especially true for our presidential candidates. The last decade has seen political campaigns kick into high-gear with branding, just like other products marketed to the masses. It was never more evident than when Obama ran in 2008 with a very polished campaign. Obama’s team executed a flawless mission of branding and applied the core message of ‘Change’, and graphics to all elements of his campaign including t-shirts, signage, buttons, bumper stickers, website and online banners.


Coke-a-Cola’s brand logo reflects the personality of a caffeinated carbonated drink product, and political logos need to convey the same in regards to the candidates. Political branding is pivotal to reflect a visual representation of their ideologies. People want to connect with their candidate’s brand and become part of the experience, the message and the promise. An effective presidential campaign logo must appeal to core audiences, be easily understood by voters and able to seamlessly intertwine into the campaign strategy.

Below are my raw insights into the 2016 presidential campaign logos:

# 1 Hillary Clinton

hillary logo.jpg.CROP.promovar-mediumlarge

Maybe not the strongest graphical logo for a candidate, and she’s gotten criticized for it, but it still leaves a strong impression. It clearly shows effort was made to mimic Obama’s iconic logo from 2008 and 2012. Note that it is nothing more than a symbol without text, name or tagline, which is confident and strong. Plus it can be spotted from a distance due to it’s simplicity.

#2 Bernie Sanders


Clean and flowing, but a little soft feeling for a presidential candidate, colors could have been stronger….bolder. But then again, maybe that’s what they were trying to achieve. Note the use of his first name only. You’ll see other flip-flop on that usage also. I personally think the use of his last name would have been smarter.

#3 Ted Cruz


Clean and professional style, but not sure if the icon is a flame or a water droplet. Good typography use and he gets points for using a gray for text.

#4 Marco Rubio


Good try but the USA landmass dotting the ‘i’ fumbles a bit for scale and balance. What happened to Hawaii and Alaska? Good typography, use of color and readability, and he was able to fit his whole name in there, which helps with recognition.

#5 Donald Trump


It’s clean, we can’t argue with that. And, it spins off the brand he has already built, so he benefitted from brand recognition even before he started. Same basic typography and use of caps as used in his other corporate ventures; it still screams while sitting there looking at you.

#6 Ben Carson


It’s too complex with icon, text and gradients. Not really sure what the spaghetti flag graphics are doing, wrapping around the ‘A’ in America or impaling it. The tagline wasn’t much better, ‘Heal, inspire, revive.’

#7 John Kasich


Nice try but it just reminds me of a fast food fried-chicken-joint. Logo is a missed opportunity on typography and wavy red bars in the logo vibrate too much on the blue. They don’t look evenly spaced either, which is all a trick of the eye.

#8 Jeb Bush


It was dead on arrival. They couldn’t use ‘Bush’ again after W’s negative presidential years and I think they thought the use of JEB! would become a battle cry of the masses. Neither were meant to be, and end at the bottom of our list.

After the conventions, it will be interesting to see how the final candidates refine their brands for the big election in November. Remember to get out there and vote.

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