Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Buddy Roemer - Designing A Candidacy

Our students are obsessed with Buddy Roemer. They ask about him ad nauseum, scrutinizing his polling prospects and monitoring his debate inclusion. Before he withdrew from the official GOP race, they joined the small chorus of voices urging for his prime-time podium. It was encouraging to see middle-schoolers checking Gallup tracking numbers. And it was somewhat gratifying that they eagerly took to electoral politics, even if transferred onto a quixotic candidacy. Every Monday, they checked our classroom bulletin board, worried that Roemer’s laminated profile would be stapled with an “OUT” sticker, like Cain, Bachmann, Perry, McCotter, and Johnson before him.

Source: Buddy Roemer for President
Even as Roemer now seeks a third-party bid, our students appreciate him for his underdog status. They identify with his outcast role. Roemer also has name appeal. Who couldn’t love their pal “Buddy” (like the star of Elf)? Roemer’s character glasses and grandfather hair all transmit a harmless allure. There is, too, the inside joke of repeated, self-fulfilling fascination. If they ask about Roemer enough, they can grin at the invented cult of personality.

Former governor and Louisiana representative Buddy Roemer himself pursued a nearly invisible campaign for the presidency. Aside from MSNBC, which adopted Roemer as its poster-child for GOP iniquity, Roemer rated scarce appearances on cable news shows that plastered other Republican candidates across their airways. Some legitimate beef could be made for Roemer’s unfair exclusion from debates, which welcomed fellow campaigners who similarly missed the networks’ standards. In all, however, it was primarily Roemer’s policies that kept him on the sidelines.

Our students, upon reading Roemer’s issue stances, are frequently appalled. When viewing his campaign logo, however, their fascination returns tenfold. Roemer’s logo without a doubt stands out from this year’s GOP pack. His unique scheme aims for a marketing space as quirky as his own personal branding.

Roemer’s carnival design appears more whimsical than serious. His diagram smacks of a popcorn box, with comedic sans serif spacing and pop art sentimentality. His slogan plays off a chummy rapport with the “Buddy” name, and the overall effect reinforces a childish camaraderie. The joviality, though, prevents any serious presidential consideration. Roemer’s lack of name recognition makes the reliance on his first name perplexing rather than clever. He certainly doesn’t enjoy the breezy confidence of other first-namers like Newt, Hillary, and Ike.

Source: Stock Logos

Our students note that Roemer’s logo captures all of the necessary elements – patriotic colors, American flag imagery, a clear slogan, and a unique presentation. It’s a wonder, then, that his campaign channeled its media awareness into a capricious banner. Roemer’s team does offer another, completely different logo for the 2012 election. This depiction encounters its own problems, not least of which are the retro styling, the orangish hues, the jarring stars, and the ill-defined gray lettering. Mostly, it seems like a discarded logo from a 1970s NBA expansion team. And when combined, the two logos are brand-muddying polar opposites.

Roemer’s chances of making hay in 2012 are zero. His chances of earning supporters among seventh-graders and Fox News acolytes, however, are quite high. He has a rabid Twitter following, and even with messaging miscues, Roemer could emerge from this election as a principled campaigner and a new talking head in conservative outlets.

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


  1. If you like Buddy, you will really appreciate the latest condensed videos from recent media appearances. He is really on his game.


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