Print Politics

Designing for Everyone

The right design strategy can make people really happy.

This morning, I got an email for Bill Clinton. He was all like:

“Dear Anne,

The Obama campaign is already on the air with their first ad in Pennsylvania, putting their fundraising advantage to work.”

That was basically the gist of the whole email, that Obama was winning because he's got more fundraising dollars than Hillary. Bill said that if I gave him five bucks, it would help Hillary catch up.

I tried to email Bill back to disagree, but the address name turned out to be “Senator John Glenn,” and the actual email address was “info@hillaryclinton.com.”

That's when I realized that Bill Clinton wasn't actually writing to me at all.

As silly as this may sound, it's a great example of where Clinton's campaign is faltering, while Obama's is succeeding. The Obama campaign's marketing and design people are breaking their backs to make voters feel included by designing specialized web content and print designs for everyone.

This was brought home to me today when I was checking out a post on UnderConsideration that was all about the meticulous design work on Obama's campaign website. Not only is the site overflowing with fresh content every day, but it's got sections that include a diverse array of niche and sweeping voter demographics.

Each state has its own unique, constantly updated page, displaying the state's name with the Obama logo integrated into it in some way. We've also seen this little touch in a lot of the campaign's full color printing.

Furthermore, under the “People” section of the site, there's over a dozen unique groups for Obama supporters, ranging from “”Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders for Obama” to “Environmentalists for Obama” to “Kids for Obama.” And each group has its own page, and unique design schema based on the rising sun logo.

Considering how picky design geeks are, it's amazing to see the response to these designs on the UnderConsideration post. People love it, and not just because the designs are slick, but because each was done with an obvious degree of care.

It's much like the O'bama St. Patrick's Day signs we saw over the last few days. Unlike Hillary's hastily created shamrocks, the O'bama signs were clearly put together with thoughtful attention. And owning a piece of good design like this inevitably makes us feel good about ourselves.

These same thoughts were bubbling around in my head while I watched the video of Obama's “A More Perfect Union” speech today. Like his campaign's massive design efforts, his words were all about connecting with a large number of people in a meaningful way, and encouraging those people to connect with each other.

Bill Clinton may be right in voicing his concern that Obama is out-fundraising Hillary, but he's not right in pointing to it as the reason for his opponent's success. Obama is winning because his team is designing its collective ass off to make everybody feel included. And that takes money, yes, but it also takes a lot of very dedicated intention, and unfortunately, that's not something that anyone can donate via Paypal.


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