Print Politics

Assessing the Print Designs of the Presidential Frontrunners

The first in this series of reviews will assess the print strategies of the Hillary Clinton campaign monster.

Waaaaaay back in the early legs of the presidential primary campaign trail, most of the print advertising being done for candidates was fairly generic. Now that this election season is all grown up, though, campaigns are beginning to define their culture. It seems like the perfect time to have a look at the print design decisions being made by the frontrunning candidates.

Hillary Clinton

Hill the thrill. Hill the pill. Hill the one with the highest bills from printers, no doubt. As much as the Clinton machine has brought the battle online, they're still not afraid to put a sign on every surface and in every hand, wherever the Hillraiser bandwagon goes.

The Clinton campaign has got a classic style going, sticking closely to the red, white, and blue that's a solid bet when your out to capture hearts and minds. Campaigners are making sure that at rallies, everybody's got a button, a sticker, or a button AND a sticker to wear, another dependable strategy for the whole heart and mind capturing thing. Send 'em home with souvenirs and they'll follow you into Hill, er, hell.

Of all the candidates that are seriously competing right now, Hillary's also the one with the biggest array of different styles of sign. Her standard “Hillary for President 2008” signs are interspersed with signs that simply deliver her URL. Other signs display her various campaign slogans: “Let the Conversation Begin,” and, more recently, “Making Government Work for You.”

The icing on the Clinton print campaign cake comes in the form of the large displays set up behind her at rallies. These often include stock images of average Americans, toiling away, going to school, or raising a family. No other candidate that I know of is doing anything like this.

Okay, okay, from a design perspective, stock photography is more like the cheese on the printing pizza than the icing on a campaign cake, but these images can be effective because they strongly put across the message of soothing genericism. This candidate is not pushing a personal agenda. In fact, this candidate is not an individual at all, but rather, a representative of humanity as a whole; not just a product, but a solution, and a standard.

It's not original, but you've got to hand it to the Clinton camp, they know how to work the classics.


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