Is Obama’s new logo something we can believe in?

April 6, 2011

On Monday, Obama officially entered the 2012 presidential race. Being the incumbent, he dropped his campaign tagline “Change we can believe in.” He can’t claim to be a Washington outsider anymore and many, from both sides of the political spectrum, question if he’s living up to his brand promise. From a marketing perspective, how will Obama continue to evolve his branding to remain credible and relevant? The new 2012 presidential logo is a good start.

CoreBrand has noted before, on this blog, how a graphic device can quickly capture a political message. Obama’s 2008 logo, deemed museum worthy by the Art Institute of Chicago, reinforced his positive message. The 2012 logo successfully tempers his optimistic message to be appropriate for a 2nd term president facing today’s challenges. The logo is still bright and confident about the future, featuring the familiar horizon and path, but reflects, perhaps, a more humble Barack. The typography for the year 2012, bold and strong, is larger than his name. In a launch video, the new campaign reinforces his human touch and inclusiveness by signing off with an animation of the visual identity — first the viewer feels part of a journey as the horizon and pathway are drawn in with paintbrush strokes, and then the year around it.

It will be interesting to see how the Republicans counter Obama’s subtler message of hope. Their branding challenge will be to poke holes in Obama’s optimism, without appearing down on America’s future. While no leading GOP contenders have declared their candidacy, Tim Pawlenty and Newt Gingrich have created fundraising vehicles. Both have completely uninspired graphics, made of ribbons and stars. As they solidify their campaign messages, the politically smart thing to do, would be to take another look at how their visual identities support their communications.

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