Print Politics

Skip the Funds, Get the Printing

Presidential candidates should be soliciting for print designs.

Every candidate running for President has a mailing list, and if you got on it early, you have, by now, received literally hundreds of pieces of spam that say the same thing: “My opponent is winning because he/she is out-fundraising me. Make a difference by donating today.”

The thing is, these emails demanding funds are missing the point. Obama isn't trumping Clinton at every turn because he's got more money than her. I believe that a huge contributor to his success is that he has captured the imagination of the incredibly powerful and influential design community.

Politics aside (if that's possible), by running a campaign with great web design and print collateral, Obama has essentially created this huge art project that everyone wants to be a part of. Designers the country over are developing exceptionally beautiful poster, sticker, button, and banner print designs in support of this campaign. Why? Because both ideologically AND visually, Obama's campaign is getting people excited about politics again.

Any campaign, of any size, has the potential to benefit massively from the support of the artistic/design community. Each unique design shows a new side of a favorite candidate. And more than that, each design tells voters that there is something special and different about a candidate that goes quite beyond the promises of purely campaign-funded advertisement.

So instead of spamming voters with solicitations for funds, Clinton and McCain should be asking their supporters to step up and create some art inspired by their candidacy, and geared towards inspiring others to vote.

This week, McCain began his Service to America tour. In it, he's retracing his life's journey, and offering up a speech about who he is, and why his life has made him fit to be President. The speech is good. The problem? According to the HuffPost's Kelly Nuxoll, it's a totally self-absorbed approach to connecting with the voting public. It's a campaign built around “me” when voters want to talk about “we.”

The “we” factor is what makes supporter-created print designs so effective. And if designers aren't doing it out of spontaneous, uncontrollable enthusiasm for the Clinton and McCain campaigns, then they might just have to reach out and ask for. It's certainly not the kind of thing that can be bought with campaign dollars. I hope.

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