Join 3,414 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


"Hope is the thing that floats"
December 13, 2008 4:27 AM   Subscribe

Obama logos that weren't
posted by orthogonality (41 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Finalist #1 reminds me too much of the rolling hills on Windows users' screens everywhere (although I suppose that particular image need not be used in the campaign, but still). I like the very first one on the page, though.
posted by Mouse Army at 5:04 AM on December 13, 2008


It's funny how every single one of these looks terrible to me except the one that was chosen. I guess it's hard to separate the proven success of the one they went with from the aesthetic judgment. Interesting post.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 5:04 AM on December 13, 2008


The evolution of logos in general is an interesting topic. They get simpler. Slightly more complex. Simpler...

Glad it doesn't have that much to do with politics.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:07 AM on December 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm glad they didn't use the B = 8 idea.
posted by R. Mutt at 5:26 AM on December 13, 2008 [4 favorites]


They lucked out with the O symbol:

This masking of different photos with the O shape became an opportunity to say different things in different moments… The O could contain all these different ideas, possibilities and feelings.

They worked that O into HOpe, EducatiOn, O8, and vOte.

Imagine if the candidate had been Barack Xbama.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:26 AM on December 13, 2008 [7 favorites]


I'm glad they didn't use the B = 8 idea.

"Okay, guys. How can we make our guy's name look even more like Osama? Think! Think!"
posted by EarBucket at 5:32 AM on December 13, 2008 [7 favorites]


How can we make our guy's name look even more like Osama?

The missing election of O5ama in '05.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:38 AM on December 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Imagine if the candidate had been Barack Xbama.

Reminds me of David Spade wearing an "O" cap on SNL after Malcolm X came out.
Not meant to be racist, just mocking all the X baseball caps that were out there.
posted by camdan at 6:09 AM on December 13, 2008


I really like "Obama logo finalist #2" concept for an overall campaign. As an individual logo it doesn't quite work, but for a bigger concept it lends itself to tons of opportunities. And of course, it would have made it so easy for the parodies.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 6:22 AM on December 13, 2008


... on SNL after Malcolm X came out

Malcolm X was gay? Why had I not heard this?
posted by kcds at 6:27 AM on December 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


Reminds me of David Spade wearing an "O" cap on SNL after Malcolm X came out.

I know there's a Tic-Tac-Toe joke here somewhere, but I'm too lazy to win this one.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:34 AM on December 13, 2008


It’s interesting to note that Sol had never worked on a political logo before. .
posted by Miko at 6:35 AM on December 13, 2008


The "O" in most of those logos looks like a donut to me. But that's probably because I'm hungry. I agree with game warden that none of them look good to my eyes except the one that was actually chosen, and I don't know whether that's just the effect of several months of successful branding or if those other logos just aren't that great. There's something very hipster/iPhernalia about them, though; I'd be curious to see an ad dude/chick parallel this logo's development with the McCain campaign's. I don't know what McCain's people started out with, but the final product was very traditional, traditionally masculine/vaguely patriotic (the all caps and the -- frankly -- pointless star element), and so tasteful and inoffensive as to be kind of generic. I like the simplicity of the logo, but it doesn't grab or inspire (it seems to say, "McCain -- he's running" rather than "Dude...MCCAIN!!!"). It's just kinda there.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:48 AM on December 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


What, no swoosh? No shimmery reflection or plastic "Beta" badge? Astonishing lack of modern design sensibility!
posted by briank at 6:59 AM on December 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Krusty-Os for Obama!
posted by DenOfSizer at 6:59 AM on December 13, 2008


There were some early McCain logos which would have evolved further. Unfortunately, evolution was strictly prohibited by the contractors.
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:03 AM on December 13, 2008 [8 favorites]


This is quite interesting... I'm not tuned into the branding world at all, so thanks for pointing this out.

It was neat to see all the campaign signs from previous years sitting next to each other -- the mind-glazing sameness of them -- and learning that the Obama campaign's plan from the outset was to take a different direction, especially in creating a symbol that could stand on its own. In looking at the 3 finalists, I had the exact reaction to the #2 option (with the speech bubbles) that Sol articulated, that it was too far out there for the purpose.
posted by tentacle at 7:35 AM on December 13, 2008


It's interesting that they seemed to have incorporated the website URL in all the designs. Further buttresses my theory that the Obama campaign is the first internet-based startup ever to successfully win the US presidential elections.
posted by the cydonian at 7:38 AM on December 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


obaminations.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:54 AM on December 13, 2008


Mine generated over $800 for the campaign.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:12 AM on December 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


I really didn't get the whole McCain nautical-star motif. Did they plan on the hipsters dropping their cans of PBR and rushing to the polls en masse?
posted by dunkadunc at 8:18 AM on December 13, 2008


Wow, those other logos really sucked.
posted by grouse at 8:43 AM on December 13, 2008


I was surprised how much I liked the other ones. Much daring. I think. Although many, many of them look like some exciting new Adobe product that will make my life easier, simpler, and happier.

Huh, maybe that's not such a bad idea.

(2
posted by The Whelk at 9:57 AM on December 13, 2008


Nice to see that Sol Sender uses the time-tested designer's trick of showing three options to the client, one of which is the one you want them to choose and the other two of which are godawful horrible.

It works great.... when it works.
posted by rokusan at 10:00 AM on December 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


This is like watching the deleted scenes of a good movie. It's almost inconceivable that anyone ever thought those scenes should have been there in the first place.
posted by the jam at 10:06 AM on December 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


The first one is nice - simple, with the '08 in the reflection giving an idea of hope for tomorrow. Finalist #1 wasn't too bad, but the idea would've made more sense incorporated with the one they chose anyway.

The rest just seem weird or outright bad to me. And I'm pretty sure Finalist #2 would've turned more people off than anything.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:18 AM on December 13, 2008


I know there's a Tic-Tac-Toe joke here somewhere, but I'm too lazy to win this one.

The only way to win is not to play.
posted by o0o0o at 11:07 AM on December 13, 2008



Putting images of suspiciously photogenic "everyday" people (SPEPs?) inside the O smacks too much of some new Apple or Microsoft advertising campaign. I think I would have subconsiously written these off as more ads for the Zune or the latest iWhatever.

Even supposing I had noticed them, I don't think the spending-more-than-the-GDP-of-several-small-countries-on-flashy-corporate-mega-advertising angle was what they were looking for to represent their candidate. Or maybe I'm just getting older and this is what needs to be "engineered" to speak to the younger generation.

Introducing iBama. Download the app today!
posted by Avelwood at 12:46 PM on December 13, 2008


The one that won looks like the logo for the company that made the urinals in my office. (Can't remember right now who, though)
posted by blenderfish at 1:17 PM on December 13, 2008


This brings back memories of John McCain's voicemail to Barack Obama.

"Oh, look at me, I'm Barack Obama, I have a little logo that says 'O' but it's also the sun, and the hills, and the stars, and the flag, and puppies, and ice cream with rainbow jimmies on top!"
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:35 PM on December 13, 2008


Avelwood, I think that's precisely what they were doing -- an ultra-push to sell voters that (a) Obama looks presidential and (b) isn't George W. Bush (again, see (a)).
posted by darkwing at 3:12 PM on December 13, 2008


Avelwood, I think that's precisely what they were doing -- an ultra-push to sell voters that (a) Obama looks presidential and (b) isn't George W. Bush (again, see (a)).

Presidential != iPhone

The "hip, new thing" angle I can understand, though.
posted by Avelwood at 3:38 PM on December 13, 2008


I really didn't get the whole McCain nautical-star motif.

This is the second time I've seen that interpretation. It was meant to represent a service star on a military medal. It states unequivocally this man served his country in combat.

I believe that the McCain voter demographic automatically and without prompting fully understood this. That anyone could interpret it differently suggests a wide cultural gap.

Did they plan on the hipsters

See above. It acted as a shibboleth -- you either got it, or you didn't. If you gotta ask, you ain't never gonna know.

The one that won looks like the logo for the company that made the urinals in my office.

Falcon?

the time-tested designer's trick of showing three options to the client

I agree. I can't imagine the others were really meant seriously -- and I don't think this is in retrospect: they are all fundamentally flawed.

I do think it's interesting that we'll soon have had two presidents in a row whose campaigns were based on one letter in their name.

Maybe Hillary should have done something based on a "C". Then again, maybe not.
posted by dhartung at 9:29 PM on December 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Most of those suck, the B=8 ones especially. The ones with the speech bubble type things (finalist #2) were neat, but I don't see them translating well to a button or bumper sticker.

The thing I especially loved about the final logo is how easy it was to reproduce. Imagine some parents come into a field office to do some phone banking. They've got their kids with them, and you want the kids to stay busy so the parents can make more than a couple of calls, so you give them paper, a blue marker, and a red marker, and tell them to make some Obama-themed art. Ta-da, you end up with zillions of Obama O's to hang around the office (of course you'll also get "Obama will give everyone a pony!" and pictures of McCain with devil horns and a variety of other things, some of them brilliant, some of them too off-message to actually display).
I just love the idea of a logo so simple and so distinct that even a young child can draw it and it will be instantly recognizable.

Also it looks good on cookies and cupcakes, two things I strongly support.
posted by naoko at 8:25 AM on December 15, 2008


Not that the McCain star is especially hard to draw, but on it's own it doesn't represent McCain in the same way that the Obama O was a sort of stand-in for the candidate's name itself, so it's not as strong a symbol.
posted by naoko at 8:33 AM on December 15, 2008


Imagine some parents come into a field office to do some phone banking. They've got their kids with them, and you want the kids to stay busy so the parents can make more than a couple of calls, so you give them paper, a blue marker, and a red marker, and tell them to make some Obama-themed art

That's exactly what happened in the Obama campaign office. We didn't get any pony requests - the kids did a great job, and got what it was all about. We used the signs in 'visibilities' which happened a few times a week - standing in prominent locations holding signs and waving. But adults also got into the tempera paint party and reproduced the logo, often with variations like sprouts for 'green' issues, rainbows for 'pride,' etc. Someone even carved it into a jack-o-lantern. It was wonderfully easy to reproduce and to tinker with.
posted by Miko at 8:50 AM on December 15, 2008


Introducing iBama.

I don't know how well that would sell around DC.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:54 AM on December 15, 2008


BA12ACK
posted by Kabanos at 10:18 AM on December 15, 2008


We didn't get any pony requests - the kids did a great job, and got what it was all about.

What can I say, you might have had savvier kids than we did. Overwhelmingly they did indeed make stuff that was great for the office, for vis, etc., but there were a few things that just made you go, "Whoa, kids are intense!" (mostly "Evil McCain" drawings that went a bit overboard).* I should have saved some of those posters, they were just so endearing odd.

* Relatedly-ish, see the bit in this Slate piece about a 3-year-old drawing "Dead McCain." Does it make me a bad person that I laughed? We could get into a whole other discussion here about the extent to which it's ok to inculcate your children in your political ideology. On the one hand, I've had the following conversation many times:
Me: Come canvassing!
Volunteer: Can't, I have kids.
Me: Bring them with you, indoctrinate them while they're young! Er, kidding. Sort of.
On the other hand, 3-year-olds drawing "Dead McCain". I am torn.
posted by naoko at 10:54 AM on December 15, 2008


Yikes, look at the size of that footnote. <>
posted by naoko at 10:56 AM on December 15, 2008


Oh crap, that was supposed to say [insert DFW joke here].
posted by naoko at 10:57 AM on December 15, 2008


« Older There are worse things than death...  |  Ladies and gentlemen. Thank yo... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments