Design experts are not impressed with Rand Paul's campaign logos

The torch logo selected for the presumed presidential campaign of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) has failed to ignite much excitement among design experts. 

Paul, who is set to announce his White House bid on Tuesday, unveiled a solid red flame set atop bold font that spells out his first name as the symbol for his campaign.

“Yawn,” Richard Westendorf, a creative director at Landor Associates brand consultants, told Business Insider in reaction to the design. 

“Why do candidates feel they need a logo in the first place? Campaigns are too transitory to establish any real meaning with a logo,” he continued. 

“This looks as if it was dashed off in PowerPoint by a staffer. Ditch the torch, keep the strong wordmark. Done.”

Paul’s flame comes just two weeks after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) launched his presidential campaign, debuting a similar flame logo. But Cruz’s image earned scorn from designers who said it closely resembled an upside down burning flag. 

Cruz’s flame is red, white and blue whereas Paul’s is a solid red colour.  

Karl Gude, a graphics professor at Michigan State University and former graphics artist at Newsweek and the AP, did give Paul credit for choosing an image that “stands out from the jingoistic, flag-waving logos inherent to presidential campaigns.”



Paul’s team is also trying to start a grassroots movement among graphic designers.

The campaign released the Adobe Illustrator file of the logo on Twitter and encouraged designers to manipulate it as they see fit. 

The red flame is just part of the marketing portfolio for Paul’s campaign. His lookbook for his bid also includes a red silhouette of Paul’s torso, with white, and black colours defining the image. 

Users on social media were quick to point out how the faceless outline of Paul, that is now emblazoned on Paul t-shirts and campaign swag, closely resembles the image used in the opening credits of AMC’s “Mad Men.”

In the opener for the show, the protagonist, Don Draper, is depicted as a black silhouette with white accents to detail his collared shirt, handkerchief and cigarette.


Gude told Business Insider that though the Paul silhouette is artsy, he believes “it’s way above the heads of the conservative Republican base he’s courting this election who salivate over images of U.S. flags and eagles.”

However, Gude said Paul’s target audience means the “Mad Men” comparison won’t be a problem. 

“The good news is, they probably don’t watch ‘Mad Men’, either, so it ain’t likely they will mistake it for an ad for the show. More likely, they will ignore it as an image that has no relevance to them. Then again, it may speak to the white male businessman Republican.” 

Debbie Millman, chair of the Masters in Branding program at the School of Visual Arts in New York, also gave Paul credit for artistic creativity but noted that it’s a fairly blatant imitation of the show’s concept. 

“If ‘Mad Men’ hadn’t already claimed this style, it would have been magnificent. The concept is classic and regal (albeit a bit clumsy in the execution here). The trouble is that ‘Mad Men’ did claim it and therefore it is derivative,” she said.

“Moreover, the faceless man concept — particularly a rendition like this — conjures up the notion of a politician without a voice or a substantial platform to communicate. Which I surmise is very much the case.”

Paul will officially launch his 2016 presidential bid at 11:30am on Tuesday. 

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