Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mitt Romney - Designing A Candidacy

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney received a lot of attention when his official 2012 logo was released. The striped “R” was compared unflatteringly to both the Aquafresh toothpaste and the Carnival Cruise Line logos.
Source: Romney For President
Still, on its own, the updated design from Romney's 2008 campaign features bold, decisive colors and represents a waving or undulating concept to establish him as an appropriately forward-looking patriot. The choices seem calculated to check off a requisite number of boxes: red, white, and blue? (); flag imagery? (); strong rendering of name and optimism? ().

The initial “R,” however, is distracting as it draws focus from the overall effect. The stripes create a blurred effect, and the downward sloping “R” undercuts the stability of the letter. The viewer’s eye wanders to the left and wants to see a firmer base. Absent a solid stance, the impression feels washed out and insubstantial.

The rest of the logo is corporate – clean, crisp, and appealingly backlit on a Prussian blue background, with firm serifs on the all-caps name and slogan. We’re not sure why the “E” and “Y” are connected in the typography, while the other letters are demarcated. The muddling of spacing may hint at a muddled message.

Some candidates choose not to feature a slogan, but the Romney campaign etches its uplifting message prominently beneath the primary name. It has been noted that Romney is repeating verbatim Senator John Kerry’s (losing) campaign slogan from 2004.

On its website, Romney’s campaign features several permutations of his core image, including a curiously dull gray bumper sticker offer for a limited number of donors.

Ultimately, the “R” is memorable, due to its boldness. The rest of the image smacks of quotidian focus-group blandness, which may remind voters of Romney’s strength but also his weakness – his business savvy but also his ambiguous principles.

Check out our other posts about design and education in the 2012 election.

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