This is the first in what I think could become a continuing series on graphic design and visual presentation in general. I have a bit of a background in art and worked in desktop publishing for years, so I definitely have opinions about what looks good and what doesn’t.
Today’s item arrived in the mail as a political flyer for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. I haven’t been keeping up on the various candidates’ doings or visiting their web sites. If I had, I would have seen Obama’s logo at his online headquarters, BarackObama.com. Here it is:
Whoever created this logo is a frickin’ genius. Here’s why. First off, it is soothing, not harsh, jagged, or aggressive. Second, it embodies several themes at once. The general shape is of an “O”, which is the first letter of Obama’s last name. So much, so obvious. But it is also immediately recognizable as a sun setting over what looks like a field of grain, evoking the heartland and the old classic “America the Beautiful” as well as, by emotional logic, the theme of “hope” that he has been working with his campaign and book. Last of all, the colors — red, white and blue — are what you might expect from a presidential campaign logo, but they have been used in an inspired way. The blue, which is lighter than the shade usually employed in such logos, is the color of clear sky, and the red and white stripes, clearly symbolizing the American flag as well as a field, smoothly swoop across only the lower half and don’t overwhelm the composition.
If the Democratic candidate were decided by logo alone (sounds farfetched, but presentation is actually quite important!), then Obama would win hands down. Check out the Hillary Clinton and John Edwards campaign sites for their staid and boring entries.