Category Archives: Politics

U.S. Campaign Design System 2012

Election day in the U.S. has come and gone. Over the preceding months, the focus of the presidential race was of course on the nominees from our two main political parties—a dichotomy visualized as blue/red and vocalized ad nauseum. Just as predictably, the branding of both campaigns centered around red, white, blue and stripes (What, no stars this year?), amounting to a lot of eloquent graphic equivocation. See my previous post, Recto Reverso, for evidence of the tradition.

As a hypothetical solution, this design system suggests a way of creating political-position-based visual identities for all candidates. The approach eschews red-white-and-blue and stars-and-stripes (We know what country you’re campaigning to lead.) in favor of more diverse and individualized representations.

The design is built on a biaxial spectrum known as The Political Compass, which uses both economic and social scales as an alternative to the more simplistic left/right model. The Political Compass has plotted seven of the 2012 presidential candidates on the spectrum by comparing a series of propositions with the voting records, statements and actions of each candidate. I’ve added a color spectrum to The Compass in order to derive a color specific to each political position and have also created a basic typographic treatment which skews text toward that same point on the spectrum. A combination of the two could produce any communication materials needed for the campaigns. In this post are brief examples for the top five candidates from this year’s election:

1. Barack Obama, Democratic Party, 61,713,086 votes
2. Mitt Romney, Republican Party, 58,510,150 votes
3. Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party, 1,139,562 votes
4. Jill Stein, Green Party, 396,684 votes
5. Rocky Anderson, Justice Party, 34,521 votes
*Roseanne Barr of the Peace and Freedom Party came in fifth place, ahead of Anderson, with 51,714 votes. However her position was not identified by Political Compass™ and so she was, unfortunately, also excluded here.

Recto Reverso

Campaign Color System

Campaign Typography System

Homeland Security Advisory System, Toucan Sam