On the Hillary Clinton logo

Hillary Clinton logo sketchesMichael Bierut’s sketches, January 2015.

“It wasn’t clever or artful. I didn’t care about that. I wanted something that you didn’t need a software tutorial to create, something as simple as a peace sign or a smiley face. I wanted a logo that a five-year-old could make with construction paper and kindergarten scissors.”

Michael Bierut recounts the designing of Hillary Clinton’s campaign logo, and the backlash against it, in I’m With Her, on Design Observer.

It’s typical of the media reaction to many high profile logos that, immediately after the unveiling, and before anyone knew the designer, a prominent magazine asked Michael to participate in an invitation-only contest to redesign what he’d already created.

Hillary Clinton logo variationsHillary logo variations by Karen Todd.

8 responses

  1. Was looking better in sketch. Final logo was bored and too plain. You guys should do a post on “when your sketches look better then your final identity.”

    • “It wasn’t clever or artful. I didn’t care about that. I wanted something that you didn’t need a software tutorial to create, something as simple as a peace sign or a smiley face. I wanted a logo that a five-year-old could make with construction paper and kindergarten scissors.”

  2. Personally, for me the Hillary Logo is too corporate. It is probably ideal for a faceless corporation, but if Hillary is about the people, it needs to be more of a personal representation of her. I feel it doesn’t do her justice.

  3. Logo’s don’t lose elections.

    Everyone who has became president (before the last election) won because they had the most money. They could afford the most advertising and therefore got the most exposure. In the last elections Hillary had the most money, but the weaker brand and much much less exposure.

    Hillary’s identity was reflective of her and her brief.

    Michael Bierut said that Bernie Sanders identity was more like Etsy, home grown in feel and that would have been wrong for Hillary. Her identity was professional, more of the same, moving forward, progressive.

    But the election became about challenging the status quo, and while Hillary got the most votes, her identity and brand were at odds with what the media wanted to talk about. It wasn’t exciting, and that doesn’t get talked about.

    Trumps logo wasn’t great from a design point of view, but his brand was powerful. Everything about it was distinctive and it worked where it needed to work.

    Ultimately, I don’t think logos or visual identity play much of a part in elections. Other forces are far more powerful, especially in the USA where all the political logos are essentially a mixture of red, white and blue, nothing is really radical and the two main parties are represented by an elephant and a donkey.

  4. I’d bet if the red was a softer green instead it could have changed the outcome. It would have been different, more liberal and progressive and really would have said “forward” instead of “pointing to the right and red”. The blue should have been lighter, closer to Obama’s as well. That’s what worked for Obama so well in his identity (color wise). It softened the red and was different enough. It took his grassroots aesthetic and said “I’m new, but I’m still a real politician.”

    I like Beirut – but if he wanted success in his identity, the red/blue combined with the stiffness of the H and arrow only helped corner Hillary into what she actually was.

  5. On his own podcast, MB talks about the homemade signs of the Women’s March and how that type of homegrown, passionate design will always have a greater impact than even the most thoughtful profession campaign.

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