We asked a group of graphic design experts to rate the 2020 presidential candidate logos and they were not impressed
Beto O'Rourke; Bernie Sanders; Kamala Harris; Amy Klobuchar; Elizabeth Warren; Business Insider
- With each 2020 presidential candidate announcement comes a logo and accompanying branding for their campaign, including fundraising websites, advertising, and social media posts.
- We asked five graphic design and branding experts to rate the logos of 2020 presidential candidates on a scale of 1-10, where 1 is the worst, 5.5 is just okay, and 10 is excellent.
- Our panel of judges were not generally impressed by the logos thus far.
- Writer, designer, and podcast host Debbie Millman called Andrew Yang's logo "an abomination."
- Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Beto O'Rourke got the most positive feedback out of the sixteen logos that were reviewed.
With the 2020 election already in full swing, presidential candidates have unveiled their (sometimes) shiny new logos.
Branding has always played a huge role in politics, but especially in the digital age where so often people's first interaction with a candidate is through their website or social media presence. If a candidate's logo, slogans, colors, and messaging don't stand out in an already crowded race, it can greatly impact how far they make it and how much name recognition they gain.
In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama's iconic "O" became the symbol his campaign ran on. This created a shift in how candidates treated their branding and is reflected in future campaigns. In 2016, Hillary Clinton attempted to replicate this effect with an "H" that incorporated an arrow across the letter.
According to Deroy Peraza, Principal & Creative Director at the Brooklyn-based design studio Hyperakt, the most successful 2020 branding will come from campaigns that "aren't afraid to show the identity of the candidate and break with traditional norms, which in political branding are red, white and blue."
We saw the impact of having a unique color pallete during the 2018 midterm elections, when freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made history as the youngest woman elected to congress. She stood out from her longtime incumbent opponent by highlighting her heritage and youthfulness with a bright yellow and purple color pallete for her logo and posters.
Now other candidates are attempting to replicate her success. Kamala Harris, Marianne Williamson, and Elizabeth Warren are all experimenting with color in their 2020 campaigns. But color is only part of the battle when it comes to branding. There are many other elements including typeface, layout, and slogan choice that can ultimately make or break a logo.
We asked five graphic design and branding experts to rate the 2020 campaign logos on a scale of 1-10, where 1 is the worst, 5.5 is just okay, and 10 is excellent. Our panel of judges includes:
- Steven Heller: Author, co-author, and editor of over 100 books on design and popular culture, and co-founder and co-chair of the MFA Designer as Author program at the School of Visual Arts.
- Ellen Lupton: Curator at Cooper Hewitt and director of the Graphic Design MFA program at Maryland Institute College of Art.
- Dan Formosa: Design consultant, writer, and co-founder of the Masters in Branding Program at the School of Visual Arts.
- Jenna Navitsky: Executive Creative Director at Brooklyn-based branding and design agency, Red Antler.
- Debbie Millman: Writer, designer, co-founder of the Masters in Branding Program at the School of Visual Arts, and host of the Design Matters podcast.
The following ranking of logos is based on the average score each one received from our panel.
15. Former Maryland Representative John Delaney
14. Washington Governor Jay Inslee
13. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang
12. Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar
11. South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg
10. Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard
9. Motivational speaker and author Marianne Williamson
8. Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper
7. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro
6. New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
5. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders
4. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren
3. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker
2. Former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke
1. California Senator Kamala Harris
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