A Love Letter to Hillary Clinton’s Branding Team
Full disclosure here: I’m stoked about Hillary Clinton. I’m coming from the decently far left of the political spectrum—just so we’re all on the same page – but I’m going to talk about Clinton’s campaign design, not her politics. I’m also coming at this topic through the lens of a designer so unlike most of my team here at Blanc & Otus that focuses on media and PR, I spend my days in Photoshop and InDesign, designing branded content like infographics and presentation decks.
I have loved following Hillary’s campaign. For President Obama’s 2008 election, I was 16, living in blue California and wasn’t paying very close attention to his campaign itself. But I do remember the distinct visuals of his logo which was much more businesslike and branded than political campaigns of the past. The iconic Hope portrait by artist Shepard Fairey became widely known and represented a significant shift toward design-centric political campaigns. Today, it’s hard to ignore that politicians – namely Clinton’s campaign – are moving even further towards the way of corporate brands—clear, consistent, and present.
Clinton is doing something special. Campaign design has never been more organized, strategized, or original. Clinton’s design is deep and thorough. Fast Company called it “the most sophisticated campaign design strategy ever.” The strategy is nationally cohesive, which we do not typically see in presidential campaigns. Her UI is aptly named “Pantsuit.” Her art direction is obvious and her branding is distinct. The logo is beautiful. It can fit with any theme and be used with both photos and colors. It lacks the cliché stars, stripes, and eagles. It’s a well-designed logomark and doesn’t rely on classic serif fonts or over-the-top patriotism. Some experts have noted that she has to put more effort than any other nominee to succeed into being relatable and likable. And she has to do this largely because she is a woman.
Clinton’s design choices and styles humanize her, which was needed as she’s been in the public eye for so long. A lot of this comes from her font choice, Sharp Sans. It’s distinctive enough in her color scheme to be authoritative and new, both of which her campaign needed when starting off. The voice of Clinton’s campaign is consistent through the content her team pushes, on every platform. And her design and content team is on it – from the viral graphic, “Love trumps hate” to her fast facts lists. The election lines have crept onto every screen and platform, from TV ads to Snapchat filters. And all of this, for the most part, is new to politics.
Clinton has even reinvented the campaign pin with the Forty-Five Pin Project—45 campaign buttons designed by contemporary artists and designers. She’s making campaign T-shirts cool with her collection from fashion designers like Marc Jacobs and Tory Burch. Her well-designed merchandise collection is contemporary and speaks to her audience.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign is strongly rooted in her branding strategy. Her team is using design as a tool to make her campaign both contemporary and effective. Her messages are clear, which is a necessary change in politics. No matter what happens tomorrow on November 8, Hillary Clinton’s design team deserves a lot of props for their impressive work because campaign design will never be the same again.