Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tim Pawlenty - Designing A Candidacy

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has been preparing for his presidential run for several years. We assume, therefore, that his message has been carefully sculpted in the months of planning. His name on his official campaign banner features subtleties in fill that generate eye-interest within each Britannia blue letter. The gradation, however, carries no clear significance. The haziness opts for design appeal in lieu of overt messaging, which could be a curious mistake given the amount of time likely dedicated to assembling Pawlenty’s insignia.
Source: Pawlenty for President
The Republican candidates have been divided over whether in their logos to include their full names or just their last names. Pawlenty opts for the latter, which is atypical among lesser-known politicians. He accentuates a capital “P” and “Y,” unusually highlighting the end letter to his name. The scheme creates a visual symmetry, but it simultaneously lacks any parallel significance. The two letters, for example, are not identical, and they do not hint at any larger importance through the bracketing effect of the larger letters.

A lot of design space is dedicated to the intentionally incomplete, shabby-chic rendering of the flag and stars beneath Pawlenty’s last name. The fluidity suggests movement toward a goal, toward an as-yet-incomplete America. The Crayola rubbing quality and irregularly sized stars imply a childlike quality, resonant to soccer moms and suggestive of a down-home, unaffected nature. The casual depiction, however, seems immature for a potential leader of the free world. The drawing reminds us of an inverted New England Patriots’ football logo or Revolution soccer logo. This lineage could be a clever mental link to winning sports franchises. It could also confuse the viewer by redirecting one’s visual-memory toward other well-established brands in the media zeitgeist.

In all, there is little in Pawlenty’s logo that screams “strength.” Instead, it gestures toward unthreatening evocations of familiarity and straightforwardness.

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

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