Making Their Marks on America

What the 2016 presidential candidates’ logos say about them and their voter bases

Prior to the 2008 presidential campaign, presidential candidates were marketed—their political credentials and promises paraded about; their signage and buttons consisted of the candidate’s name, maybe a slogan, and some semblance of the flag (stars, or stripes, or both) as emblematic graphic details in traditional red and blue.

A logo is meant to embody the tone, messages and strengths of a brand. It should be easily recognizable and instantly illicit emotional and mental connections to the viewer — especially over time.

A candidate’s logo becomes a symbol to voters of who that candidate is and what they want for our country.

Representing your base

Bernie Sanders' logo

Bernie Sanders’ visual marketing is an updated nod to campaigns of old. Bernie truly is a man of the people and isn’t going to spend his money on stylized branding. He makes it clear that he is supported by and is looking out for the little guy (“not the billionaires,” as evidenced in the footer of his website).

Ted Cruz's logo

Ted Cruz’s logo has a lone star that ties into his Texas roots and his campaign slogan of “Reigniting the promise of America.” He believes that the Republic burns brightly, but could burn brighter under his leadership.

Rand Paul's Logo

Rand Paul’s logo features a flame akin to the top of the Statue of Liberty — a beacon for himself and other liberty-loving libertarians.

Jeb Bush 2016

Jeb Bush is the fifth candidate to release a first-name-only logo: “Jeb!”. One might think he’s trying to stay away from the surname of his political family, but it’s a more refined version of his old campaign logos. His logo makes it clear he’s excited about running for president, which might be the distinction necessary to stand out in an already flooded Republican primary campaign. In addition, his ties to the Hispanic community are highlighted as he has a Spanish version of his logo.

Beyond a logo

President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns revolutionized digital political campaigning. But as I walk the DC tourist spots, t-shirts are still sold emblazoned with “hope and change” or the Obama “O”. Then-candidate Obama’s marketing strategy not only made us rethink campaigning on a digital scale — it made us rethink how we market candidates.

Candidate Obama's "Forward" Logo

Hillary Clinton is the heir-apparent to the success of the Obama campaign machine, so it’s no surprise that her logo is probably the most corporate and ties into a larger branding scheme.

The different versions of Hillary Clinton's logo

Clinton’s campaign is taking cues from Obama’s by creating prolific, covet-worthy marketing materials that are just cool, like t-shirts with value messaging or witty mugs. Though I can’t see Beyoncé throwing her a fundraiser anytime soon, I can see the Hillary “H” becoming a fashion icon akin to the Obama “O”.

Some of Hillary Clinton's apparel

Making their marks

When I look at the 2016 campaign logos, I see two messages: (1) how the candidate wants me to see them, and (2) what the candidate thinks their voters will care about.

A spate of other candidates looms on the horizon. Who will linger in our memories in years to come — or even serve as the next president — could largely depend upon whose branding best serves the message and touches the hearts, minds and wallets of their respective constituencies.

 

Making Their Marks on America

What the 2016 presidential candidates’ logos say about them and their voter bases
Prior to the 2008 presidential campaign, presidential candidates were marketed—their political credentials and promises paraded about; their signage and buttons consisted of the candidate’s name, maybe a slogan, and some semblance of the flag (stars, or stripes, or both) as emblematic graphic details in traditional red and blue.
A logo is meant to embody the tone, messages and strengths of a brand. It should be easily recognizable and instantly illicit emotional and mental connections to the viewer — especially over time.
A candidate’s logo becomes a symbol to voters of who that candidate is and what they want for our country.
Representing your base

Bernie Sanders’ visual marketing is an updated nod …

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