Graphic design in political communications is either Really Amazing, Generic & Dull, or Crapola. Really Amazing is so rare when one finds it, you have to document it otherwise no one believes you. Generic & Dull is SOP for the political business (and gets worse every year as professional designers are pushed aside for Nephew Gary who “knows computers”). As for Crapola, well…the less said the better.
Most signs, for example are in some sort of combo of red, white, and blue. A terrible combo (red and blue don’t work well side by side), and one that’s been done to death. So when I see a campaign that tries something that’s either Really Amazing, or at least uses contrasting colors so you can can see the damned sign in various situations, I take notice.
Bevan Dufty’s campaign e-literature and website have been featuring a new sign/logo that looks like a postcard from the Good Old Days. It’s very simple, easy to read, but also captures scenes from around San Francisco. Whether you support him or not, one has to admit that design catches the eye, and communicates something, and does so well.
Sup. Avalos’ campaign for mayor took a simpler approach. Using nothing but bold, sans serif type and the colors black and orange, it stands out because it’s easy to read, and when you get a bunch of them together…it kinda looks like a bunch of Giants fans at first. Either way, it’s easy to read, and those of us who are Giants fans have that knee-jerk reaction to anything black and orange that makes you want to take a second look.
He’s not the only one picking up on this idea. Last night at the Board of Supervisors, many people were testifying on various projects, pro and con. I noticed that members of the Laborers International Union (good hard working folks all) had a special shirt with a custom union logo…and their shirts were orange and black. Same reaction from me – the first thing I thought of, before reading the logo was , “how cool”, and even after I figured out who it was, I have to tip my designer hat to them for good communications via design.
This made me wonder if campaigns would be better served making their signs in the color of their local team (when feasible) instead of some eye-blinding combo that sucks? At the very least, choosing good colors that contrast well, along with good typography, ensures that their logo is represented well as a sign, a letterhead, a sticker, online, etc. Also, if someone on the staff suggests crowd-sourcing this stuff, fire them immediately and send them back to school. Seriously.
In all of these cases, the power of good design be it detailed (like Dufty’s logo) or simple (like Avalos’ and the union’s art) provides an extra punch in what is likely to be a difficult election season in 2011 and beyond.
- California Life
- California Politics
- Campaign Tactics & Analysis
- Debunking Politicos Pundits + Spin
- Democratic Party Chatter
- Gov. Doofinator's Follies
- Instant Runoff Voting FAIL
- Links of Interest
- Los Angeles Politics
- Political Direct Mail Archive – 2006
- Political Direct Mail Archive – 2007
- Political Direct Mail Archive – 2008
- Politics of Political Reform
- Pop Culture & Society
- San Francisco Politics
- Website News