While Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign did not come as a surprise to many, the design of her logo – a large, uppercase blue coloured letter H, with a horizontal red arrow pointing to the right – is unexpected.
Initial feedback for the logo on social media was absolutely brutal. Design experts who spoke to Business Insider also had a mixed reaction to the design. Some were puzzled while others complimented the Democrat for a bold choice that avoided the traditional patriotic imagery normally seen in campaign branding.
Many of the early Twitter reviews of Clinton’s logo said it looked like the FedEx logo, which contains a subtle white arrow between the letters E and X. Others suggested it was reminiscent of a hospital entry sign or a car blinker.
Lindon Leader, the designer who created the FedEx logo, told Business Insider he doesn’t think Clinton ripped off his design. However, he clearly is not a fan of her logo, which he described as “disappointing, amateurish, clumsy and decidedly static.”
“From a communication perspective, I have two issues with it. First, as the arrow crossbar runs horizontally, it suggests an even keel or ‘business as usual.’ If an arrow was mandatory, it should been angled up to connote optimism and the sense of a new agenda. Second, the arrow facing to the right could be construed as tipping Hillary’s hat to the Republicans. If a monogrammatic treatment was essential, I might have had the Democratic Party’s donkey leaping over the crossbar as if in a steeplechase (which may well describe the run up to the election).”
Karl Gude, a graphics professor at Michigan State University and former graphics artist at Newsweek and the AP, also told Business Insider he found Clinton’s red arrow confusing.
“In politics, a big RED (Republican) arrow pointing RIGHT is probably not what a LIBERAL candidate wants,” he said, adding, “Unless, of course, Hillary is sending a secret message to the fence sitters out there knowing that her liberal base will not be fooled by the image. But I don’t think anyone thought this far on the logo. OK, let’s go for symbolism that would work for her: she should have reversed the colours and had a BLUE (Democrat) arrow blowing past the unbending, red pillars of modern American conservatism. Phew.”
But not all the reaction to the logo was negative. At least two branding experts hailed Clinton’s “H.”
Richard Westendorf, a creative director at Landor Associates brand consultants, told Business Insider he found the logo “extremely progressive and modern.”
“Intuitively says we intend to move forward. A powerful statement that she now must live up to. The palette alludes to flag colours without relying on the expected stars and stripes imagery. Clever and strong,” Westendorf said.
Debbie Millman, chair of the Masters in Branding program at the School of Visual Arts in New York, also complimented the novel thinking behind the design.
“I like Hillary’s logo. And I understand why people don’t like it–it is not the kind of logo we’ve ever, ever seen represent a Presidential candidate,” she told Business Insider. “That is precisely why I like it. It flies in the face of everything we’ve come to expect of a campaign logo: there are no stars, no stripes, no rolling plains — and mercifully — there are no exclamation points. Instead we have a strong, confident, stately logo representing a strong confident, stately candidate. And there is something very appealing about a candidate who defies conventions having a logo that does so as well.”
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