Designing for a Political Campaign

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Jacks for Commissioner Campaign Logo

The director of a community center I designed a website for is running for a political position in the 2014 elections. I was asked to design her campaign branding. Great, another unfamiliar task with an even higher risk. I accepted.

I looked at what other campaigns were doing, how their branding worked, what they included in every piece of collateral, and what voters wanted to see. This work is going to be seen everywhere so it must be good.

What Do I Need to Design For?

I had to design a logo and brand that functioned well on all sorts of media:

  • Business cards
  • Letterheads
  • Yard signs
  • Billboards
  • Websites
  • Digital ads
  • Television
  • Posters
  • Pamphlets

The list goes on.

What Goes on this Logo?

The logo is what gets imprinted in people’s minds. Political logos contain a lot of information and say a lot about the candidate. Her logo had to include quite a few things:

  • Candidate’s name
  • Position running for
  • District
  • Call to action (elect)
  • Year of election
  • Political party
  • Campaign brand colors

As you can see a political logo is information heavy and sets the tone for the multiple types of campaign collateral. These requirements are based on other candidates from across the nation.

How Should this Logo Look?

Besides informational requirements there were color, typeface, shape, and element proportions requirements.

  • Name must be dominant
  • Easy to read while driving by a sign
  • Modern, sans-serif typefaces
  • Piece of “flair”
  • Simple color scheme
  • Not too short / Not too wide

Creating the Logo

Now to create the actual logo. For this I used Adobe Illustrator.

To begin I used the following artboard settings:

  • 11in by 8.5in (Horizontal)
  • CMYK for the document’s color mode
  • Pantone+ Solid Coated for the color pallet (Standard print shop color matching system)

It is best to layout three different schemes (I asked the candidate to show me some political logos she liked and based my design off of them). One is not enough and more than three is too many choices. A correct path should be able to be forged from three well-designed choices.

logo-step1

The candidate chose what worked and what didn’t work in the three concepts. I then made a compromise logo based on our discussion.

logo-step2

The Final Campaign Logo

After the compromise logo was approved some retouching was done. Depth and strength was added by recoloring to slightly different hues, gray was added as a dominant color, and white space was repositioned.

logo-step3

Case Study Notes

The requirements for each section of this were discovered during this process. I wrote this piece as if I were to follow these steps for a similar project in the future.


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