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Thursday, August 28, 2008

An expert designer details the visual messaging of the Democratic convention, uniting the graphic look that might be seen in Obama's "Change You Can Believe In" signs with what was formerly a ass-inine look:

Something time-honored appears to be missing from this week’s Democratic National Convention in Denver. Do you know what it is? It’s the Democratic donkey, the venerable mascot that gained wide acceptance as a symbol of the Democratic Party when it appeared in a Harper’s Weekly cartoon by Thomas Nast in 1870.

Granted, amid the impressive digital light extravaganza, with its soothing sky blue and ghostly red undulating throughout the screens on the main stage, it is easy not to notice that the donkey is missing. Early promotional material for the convention featured the animal, but the Obama campaign has made a statement by jettisoning it in favor of a fresher look, grounded in technology and symbolizing — you guessed it — change. Indeed, the entire graphic identity of the hall, its video displays, printed signs and banners have been “Obamacized.”

I have always admired those who work with cold efficiency, and I think it's probably the biggest thing that appeals to me regarding Barack Obama. Dude is just clean - and as someone who greatly appreciates detail (and probably as a result, graphic design), I have a real appreciation for the visual consistency of Obama's campaign. I'm a big fan of the Gotham font (but understand why they're not using it for his campaign ticket signs) and there never seems to be a hiccup. Meanwhile, McCain's had disasters like this, and his graphic look, while bold and strong, is all about his military career (notice the star). Forceful? Yes. Inspiring? No. (Guess that sums up McCain pretty well, come to think of it.)

I also like this piece of news because it's visual evidence that the casual viewer can recognize that tells us that Obama is now fully in charge of the Democratic Party. Considering how ubiquitous the styling is at this point, it's a subtle reminder of him even when he's not there.


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