Print Politics

John McCain: Vehicle Wrapping for Votes!

The fifth and final campaigner in our series, John McCain strikes a balance between the stylish and the sinister with print designed to send an uncompromising message.

John McCain's design campaign started out pretty shaky. Online, he had that whole monochrome, militaristic style going on, and his print signs were just a navy blue version of this same grim approach. A controller? A conqueror? Maybe. A nice guy? Definitely not. Unfortunately, America's looking for the next Bill Clinton, not the next evil overlord. The whole thing was just too intense.

But like all projects that have a whole team of people working on them, the McCain campaign couldn't continue down this dark road forever. Recently, I noticed that a stripe of dark yellow/gold had made its way into McCain's site design. And better yet, his signage has become an absolute riot of color.

Now he's got this whole dark blue, red, white, and gold thing going on over the original still firmly military-esque design. Which means that now, instead of seeming like an evil warlord, he seems like on of those jovial, slightly world-weary generals that might be somebody's rich uncle.

To further perpetuate this image, McCain is leaning heavily on his “Straight Talk” slogan. He's the only candidate to be really pushing the advertising potential of vehicle wrapping so far this season. His tour bus, as he constantly points out, is known as, and christened, “The Straight Talk Express.” It just might roll into your town any day now! Wow!

Of course, all the candidates have nicely wrapped tour buses, but McCain is the only one who's really giving his its own personality. Hmm, is it a good or a bad thing that the biggest challenge facing Republican candidates is convincing people that they have a personality?

Actually, on a purely aesthetic level, I like McCain's print designs. They're fairly slick, and the military look is always in, to a degree. I'm just not sure if he's giving the people what they want. Maybe if he was touring to promote a book or a movie, his print campaign strategy would be more well-suited. As is, (and I hate to admit this, considering this is in reference to an old Republican guy), I think his designs might be too edgy for a voting population that's grown a little gunshy about electing its next decider-in-chief.

The theme of this campaign season is, “Innovation within the comfort zone,” and there's just something that feels kind of uncomfortable and unsafe about gazing into the murky depths of McCain's signs, stickers, and tour bus. The same goes for his rhetoric, which is fueled by slogans like “Live Free or Die.” This is just fine and dandy as a state motto, but if “living free” means voting for a President willing to fight an endless war, I'd be just as happy voting for someone who's idea of freedom, and of nice print design, is a bit more expansive.


That's the end of our series on frontrunner print designs, folks. If we missed a great print design tour de force that has knocked your socks off, let us know. And if any other candidates appear to be gaining ground, we'll be sure to give them some attention up here. Until then, check out our feature article on cheap printing ideas for political campaigns here.


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