Nope & Strange: Worst Campaign Graphics of the 2016 Election

We've come a long way in eight years.

We’ve come a long way in eight years.

Whatever your political leanings, if you have any design sense at all, you have to admire the work behind Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign materials. If you’re not familiar with the story behind how the image material was created, this NYT piece explains how the images were the result of a partnership between Sol Sender and Mode of Chicago. The images disrupted decades of stodgy political campaign design clichés, which historically relied on heavy slab serif typefaces and predictable use of stars, stripes, eagles, and flags. Given the success the Obama campaign had with this new visual approach, you would think the GOP would have taken a cue, and adapted some of the thinking to their own campaigns. They’ve been doing so when it comes to copying the Democratic Party’s digital strategies, albeit a bit slowly.

Nope & Strange

But nope. One of the first logos released for the 2016 election cycle was for the Jeb Bush campaign. The common perception was that it should have said “Jed!”, as in Jed Clampett, and that maybe a good tagline could be found in the Beverly Hillbillies theme song.

Jeb! campaign logo

Noper & Stranger

More recently, we were all more or less traumatized by the Trump/Pence logo, which quickly got the animated treatment by the crew of Samantha Bee’s show Full Frontal, highlighting everything that was wrong with it:

Trump Pence Animated

An Easy Fix, Overlooked

It could have been so easy. Interactive developer Matthew Gordon observed in a tweet  that with some simple color changes and rotation, Trump had an easy solution:

Trum Obama Campaign Logos

Hospital on the right, got it.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign disappointed as well, setting things back eight years for the DNC with the “H” logo that most designers agree looks like an international hospital waysign:

Hillary H

I’m With Her, Whoever She Is

When placed poorly, the simple “H with an arrow” element was almost comical. Here we’re left wondering who the “her” is that the arrow is pointing toward.

I'm With Her

O’Malley Padme Om

If the Dalai Lama were an elected figure, this might actually be a decent campaign graphic, with its simple message of “OM”. Unfortunately for the O’Malley campaign, they were running for president, not spiritual leader, making this one of the worst of the bunch:

O'mally Padme Om

Un-Conventional Design

The RNC has used a couple of odd ones in the last few cycles….

2016: Rock & Roll Hall Of Shame

Yeah we get it. The convention’s in Cleveland, home of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. So there’s an elephant walking on the neck of an electric guitar. Okay. No. We don’t get it.

RNC 2016 Graphic

2008: It’s A Leap Year, Not A Hump Year

We have no idea why they chose an image of an elephant humping the year 2008. It probably had something to do with their ticket that year.

RNC 2008

RNC 2016 – Quick Rethink

RNC 2016 Logo

Our quick rethink of the RNC graphic


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