7 Presidential Campaign Logos That Went Down In History, For Better Or Worse

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tags: presidential history, 2020 Election, campaign logos

The 2020 presidential campaign is well underway, meaning lots of candidates are already using things like logos and posters to promote themselves. These materials help visually represent the candidate and the tone of their platform, and if the design is done just right, they can make a huge impression on the American public. In fact, some unforgettable presidential campaign logos from over the years show politics and design are more intertwined than you'd think.

"[Campaign design] should be reflective of the cultural moment, distinct from competitors, and emotionally compelling to its core audience," Anjelica Triola, the co-founder of The Creative Caucus, a company that connects designers with progressive political candidates, tells Bustle via email. "A memorable visual identity system ... [should] communicate something special about the candidate it represents."

Triola emphasizes that design can give voters a sense of how a candidate will approach the office for which they are running. Iconic campaign logos and designs often reflect a break with tradition, she adds, citing recent millennial congressional campaigns from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Suraj Patel, who opted for campaign colors outside of the "red, white, and blue [campaign design] establishment." 

As Triola outlines, it's clear that design is intrinsically linked to a campaign's identity. To illustrate that connection, here are some memorable campaign logo designs over the years that made lasting impressions, for better or for worse.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1952

Christopher Klein of History.com reported that Eisenhower's 1952 presidential campaign was particularly memorable because of its catchphrase, "I like Ike," which was emblazoned across many of its campaign materials. "Ike’s simple, cheerful slogan resonated with the times, and the pithy rhyme had the added advantage of fitting easily on campaign buttons and bumper stickers," Klein reported in an August 2018 article.

"Ike" refers to Eisenhower's nickname, Reference.com noted, and the phrase was popularized during a television campaign ad. In fact, Eisenhower was the first-ever U.S. presidential candidate to air a television campaign ad, according to 6AM Marketing, which incorporated that slogan into a jingle.

Robert F. Kennedy, 1968

Robert F. Kennedy, former President John F. Kennedy's brother, ran for president in 1968 to challenge two other Democrats seeking to replace President Lyndon Johnson at the end of his term. Kennedy was never able to finish out his campaign, as he was assassinated on June 5, 1968.

Triola tells Bustle via email that she views Kennedy's campaign materials as iconic because of both their message and style. As she puts it:

I refer back to Robert Kennedy's 1968 Presidential campaign for creative inspiration often, not just because of it's minimalist aesthetic and composition but also because of its powerful message. With the Vietnam War and civil rights movement in full swing, 1968 was another period where activism was a lifestyle. RFK's pared down logo and posters delivered a fresh brand promise that would still resonate today with anyone who's weary of the status quo — new ideas, culturally-literate, nothing to hide.

Triola also emphasizes that the practicality of Kennedy's campaign materials made them especially effective. "RFK's posters also did a great job of sharing not just his name, but his ethos and the election date," she notes. "These two often-overlooked pieces of information are critical in making a real impact on voter turnout."

Shirley Chisholm, 1972

Chisholm was the first woman and the first African American to seek a presidential nomination from a major party in 1972. She was also the first-ever African American congresswoman. Notably, Eye on Design reported that Chisholm's campaign buttons featured the colors yellow and red, standing out from other contenders' blue, red, and white campaign materials.

CBS News noted that Sen. Kamala Harris' 2020 campaign logo seems to pay homage to Chisholm. The senator's campaign logo also heavily features red and yellow as its predominant colors.

In addition to having unique campaign colors, The Undefeated, a website that reports on the intersections among race, sports, and culture, noted Chisholm was also known for her slogan, "Unbought and unbossed." This slogan was featured on many of her campaign materials and represented Chisholm's confidence and courage in her bid for president. “That slogan was who she was, she lived it. Her involvement in politics was her asserting herself. She didn’t ask for permission, she just did it,” Shola Lynch, a filmmaker who created the documentary, CHISHOLM ’72: Unbought & Unbossed, told The Undefeated.

Read entire article at Bustle

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