Elections today are decided by image, not issues, which is why graphic design plays a major role in determining which candidates voters select. There’s a reason FDR didn’t want to be depicted in his wheelchair, why presidential debates weren’t televised for 16 years after John F. Kennedy’s youthful TV appearance helped him beat Richard Nixon in 1960, and why today’s candidates have opted for iconic campaign logos versus simple lettering. Andre Agassi perhaps said it best: “Image is everything.” Graphic design is the foundation of campaign logos, brochures, flyers, posters, banners, websites, business cards, T-shirts, stickers, buttons and more. Graphic design is the surrogate candidate; it is what voters see when they’re not watching the candidates themselves, and therefore must represent the candidates. And in today’s design-savvy world, graphic design is more important than ever. Let’s compare presidential campaign logos over the past recent elections:
In each case, the candidate with the stronger logo won (I think McCain’s logo was the second-best on the list, behind Obama’s much-ballyhooed logo). This isn’t to say that a great logo will win presidential elections on its own; but it does speak to each candidate’s understanding of the importance of image. Those we cared more about cultivating their overall image are most likely to also have the best logos, which represent the candidates to voters, who in turn vote based on that image. How much do you think graphic design has to do with who ultimately gets elected? Let us know in the comments!