Print Politics

The Political Printing Just Keeps On Coming

The Political Printing Just Keeps On Coming

New Obama poster! Silly me. Silly, silly, silly me. Earlier this week, I wrote a post about the Presidential inauguration invitation printing, and I said something about it being “one last piece of political printing” for the season. Of course, what I failed to take into account is that the Barack Obama campaign wasn't just a thing that happened. It was, and continues to be, a well-loved and now enduring brand. Which means Obama's entire presidency will likely be characterized by the regular release of carefully designed, branded material. Take now, for example, the official inauguration button, t-shirt, sticker and poster printing being released by the Barack Obama Inaugural Committee. The design is another creation from once-edgy-now-official presidential artist Shepard Fairey. It can be purchased in the Inaugural Committee's online store. Now I know why every invitation to the swearing-in of the President was also stuffed with a pamphlet for the inaugural store. The question is – now that Obama […]

Tips For Designing Print For Your School Council Campaign

Tips For Designing Print For Your School Council Campaign

Just when you thought election season was over… As you may have noticed, it's a little quiet here on the Hotcards blog. We post all the time, but readers comments? Not so much. That's why, when we get a request for advice on full color printing and design, we have to make a big deal about it. So yesterday, Morgan Bowland asked for tips on designing a poster for a run at Student Council. Here's what you've gotta do, Morgan: Step 1: Do you know anyone, and I mean ANYONE who does graphic design, or even who's a good artist? Recruiting talented friends not only makes for a better poster, it gets people involved in your campaign, and the more people you get involved, the more people will vote for you. Step 2: Make it full color. Don't settle for crappy black and white photocopies when full color printing is so cheap. I'm not saying you should print 1000 full […]

2008 Presidential Election Campaign Printing: A Retrospective

2008 Presidential Election Campaign Printing: A Retrospective

Don't read this – go vote! Looking back over the Hotcards blog, I see that I started to write about the election campaign printing happening in this Presidential race in May of 2007. That's a long time to be writing about this campaign, y'all! And maybe it's even felt long for the candidates. All I know is that we've seen a lot of campaign printing over the last two years. Here's a look at some of the best, and the worst. Even as far back as May 2007, it was obvious that the Obama camp was trying to do something fresh and new. Their branding was strong, and they were committed to appealing to a young, design-conscious audience. McCain, a 100% long-shot candidate at the time, also had a fresh approach to his print designs. His campaign initially employed a black, white, and gold color scheme, along with a minimal militaristic design scheme that was as unusual as it was […]

Flyer Printing Gone Bad!

Flyer Printing Gone Bad!

It's true, sometimes printing is used to make trouble! Throughout this whole election, I've been writing about all the cool election campaign printing that's been created independently to support the voting process. What I didn't come across before today were random acts of subversive printing created to undermine the voting process. In Virginia over the last week, voters have been receiving flyer printing informing them that Election Day has been changed to November 5th. The flyers were designed to look like an emergency bulletin from the Virginia State Board of Elections. And when I say 'designed,' I mean that in the loosest possible sense of the word. It's easy to argue that the flyer printing hardly looks official. The government seals are poorly-made photocopies, and the message is replete with typos. But that being said, I don't think that it would take a stupid person to believe the message contained therein. You only have to look at the crazy results […]

Design Trends In Political Printing

Design Trends In Political Printing

Get Out The Vote will woo designers, at least. The AIGA Design For Democracy initiative has been working since 1998 to find ways that good design can make the voting process simpler, more appealing, and more accessible. Design For Democracy is one of the best examples out there of designers getting involved in politics, but I wonder, are they reaching an audience beyond the design community? As part of this year's Get Out The Vote effort, AIGA members were invited to create non-partisan campaign posters encouraging people to vote. Design For Democracy then selected and printed 24 poster designs that were widely distributed in the hopes of increasing voter participation. Images after the break… The 24 selected posters are available on the AIGA website to anyone who would like to download and print them. Also present and accounted for are all 267 submissions. Comparing the masses to the 'winners' is an interesting exercise in measuring design trends. And it begs […]

Election Campaign Printing In The Famous Batman / Penguin Contest!

Election Campaign Printing In The Famous Batman / Penguin Contest!

Bulging ballot boxes, Batman! Whenever there's an election in TV or Movie land, it's always visually represented by tons of campaign printing. This is a really great thing for print designers and campaigners, because it shows us how to properly run a serious, and winning campaign. Take for example, the time Batman ran against Penguin for Mayor of Gotham City… Penguin seemed to have it all – at first. He was spending a lot of money, and running a high-profile, vaudevillian campaign. He was handing giant, oversized buttons out left and right. And he was printing giant posters, banners, and billboards. He even bought a CRAZY “Campaign Literature-o-matic” which pumped out squawk automatically. Penguin had a slick campaign going all right, but his tactics were a little too over the top. For one thing, he printed so many different posters that he had no brand consistency. For another thing, obviously, he was evil, and people saw through the 'new' Penguin. […]

Print Ads in Gamer Land

Print Ads in Gamer Land

Election campaigning comes to Xbox Live. I can officially say that I've seen it all when it comes to the Obama campaign's political printing tactics. Game publishers like EA confirmed this week that the campaign has become the first in history to invest money in print advertising in the gaming world. If you're playing anything from Burnout: Paradise to NBA on Xbox Live, expect to see billboards and other virtual print signage advertising Obama's Presidential campaign in-game. Because the games are played online, game publishers are able to launch and remove “print” ad campaigns as space is bought up by advertisers. The Obama ads are slated to run until Election Day. "Early Voting Has Begun," the virtual print ads read, next to a picture of Obama looking inspired and inspiring. The billboards and signs then direct gamers to visit voteforchange.com. Unfortunately, we're not yet at the point where gamers can click directly on the link and surf to the webpage […]

Political Tensions Surround Election Campaign Printing

Political Tensions Surround Election Campaign Printing

And it's not just happening here! Now that this incredibly long election campaign season is zipping towards a conclusion, we're seeing some pretty crazy stuff on the campaign trail. People are going nuts over this election, and a lot of the nuttiness is coming out through election campaign signs. I'm not going to post any links here, because most of the stuff is pretty awful, but I'm sure you've all been hearing stories about campaign signs on lawns, and scenes at rallies expressing hatred of the candidates, threats, and racism. Believe it or not, something similar is taking place in Canada, where a federal election is also being held, today. Over the last few weeks, voters in Toronto have been targeted for having left-wing political campaign signs on their lawns. Not only have the signs been defaced, homes have been graffitied, power and phones lines cut, and even brakes on cars have been cut. And the elections in Canada, although […]

Election Campaign Print Design…For Kids!

Election Campaign Print Design…For Kids!

Because it COULD get a whole lot more childish. The unlikely geniuses over at Cracked.com have stumbled onto a rare funny moment with a contest to see who could come up with an election campaign poster print design geared to young voters. Seriously young voters. The Cracked contest asks designers (and just about anyone who feels like it) to create a poster print design that imagines the voter age to be right around six years old. Clearly, most budding campaign planners believe that the 6-13 demographic will vote Democratic, particularly if they can be made to equate their candidate with a Jedi, Hogwarts wizard, or other superhero-type character. Political printing designed for the 6-13s would also have to hit the important issues for that age group, such as increasing tooth fairy payouts, bringing back the old Facebook, and of course, for the boys, boobs. The topic is silly, sure, but it begs the question, how silly is the next month […]

Show Them Your Button, Tell Them Who Sent You

Show Them Your Button, Tell Them Who Sent You

Election campaign advertising takes a (sinister?) new turn. For the first time in the history of election campaign printing, the unthinkable is happening. A candidate who is no longer running for office is continuing to campaign! Under the direct approval and supervision of the now-theoretically-defunct Clinton campaign, supporters at HILLPAC have launched a mini-promotion modestly titled, “Hillary Sent Me.” The campaign is attempting to mobilize Clinton supporters in backing the Democrats' Obama-Biden ticket. The promo is relatively modest – a suggestion of meet-up locations, a bit of button printing, a bit of sticker printing – but it's still pretty weird, isn't it? Since when do candidates who are out of the race continue to campaign? Sure, they might help out their colleagues in the winning campaign, but to create a slogan, a color scheme, a website, and campaign printing around the losing candidate herself? The whole thing smacks of a certain degree of two-facedness. For one thing, the campaign implies […]

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