According to a Politico report, “To many graphic design experts of both political stripes, Hillary Clinton’s new logo would be better off in the trash bin.”
It only gets worse from there. Even Obama’s design guy piles on, and some suggest the arrow pointing to the right is a bad sign, ideologically speaking.
“I think the Hillary logo is really saying nothing,” said Scott Thomas, the design director for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and who later worked on the Whitehouse.gov website’s redesign. “It’s just a red arrow moving to the right.”
True to big media form, nothing will ever be as wonderful as anything Obama does. But if you can get through that aspect of the piece, Politico discusses political logo design in the new media age at length and, however you slice it, Hillary comes up short.
The presidential candidates of 2016 are facing perhaps the toughest audience yet when it comes to their design elements. Obama’s 2008 and 2012 logos — an iconic ‘O’ that went through numerous iterations widely interpreted as a rising sun — loom as the best-in-class benchmarks. Twitter and other social media allow for instant criticism, and there’s the prospect that the reaction to a new logo can go even more viral than the logo itself.
Consider the response since Clinton unveiled her logo less than a week ago. On the online image hosting service Imgur, more than 1.1. million views have landed on a post featuring a “five-minute” redesign of Clinton’s logo that turns the image entirely to different shades of blue and adds in a more curved arrow which “gives the logo a feeling of energy and life.”
In the New Yorker, a daily cartoon published shortly after the Clinton launch depicted two people looking at a campaign poster with the ‘H’ logo and this caption: “I’m just not entirely sure a big red arrow pointing right is the best logo for a Democratic candidate, is all.”
“Obama’s ‘O’ was handled with a certain amount of nuance and elegance and Hillary’s ‘H’ has none of that nuance or elegance,” said Steven Heller, a design critic and former art director at The New York Times. The Clinton logo, he added, looks like she’s overtly trying to avoid using her last name. “Her name is Hillary. We don’t know her as Ms. H,” he said.