political printing

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 […]

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 […]

Teachers Union Printing Banned From Classrooms

Teachers Union Printing Banned From Classrooms

Should teachers keep political opinions to themselves? Across the country, teachers unions have been distributing button printing in favor of the Obama – Biden Presidential campaign. Unions are encouraging teachers to wear the buttons to school, and some unions are even running email campaigns asking teachers to come to school dressed in “Obama blue.” Now, however, the Board of Education is putting a stop to it. They say there is a long-standing policy in place against the distribution or presentation of union printing promoting political ideologies in schools. A similar incident occurred in 1969 when teachers were barred from wearing black armbands, or coming to school with political printing speaking out against the Vietnam war. Union reps say that teachers have the right to freedom of expression, but the Board of Education says that school is no place for politics, and that parents are complaining. What do you think, should union printing, particularly of a political nature, be allowed in […]

The Ultimate Political Print Design Challenge: Design a Flag

The Ultimate Political Print Design Challenge: Design a Flag

And oh yeah, make sure it represents the whole world. We've seen a lot of print designers putting their skills to the test over the past months, designing political printing for the White House hopefuls. And it's been a good reminder of graphic design's ability to do amazing things. Ready for an even bigger challenge? The uber-subversive advertising critics over at Adbusters are asking designers to really put their political print design skills to the test by developing a flag intended to represent the whole world. “The One Flag” contest is all about acknowledging our role as global citizens, and designing not to create something marketable, but to create something that people all over the world can connect with in a meaningful way. It seems like the flag can be just about whatever you want, although Adbusters emphasizes that it should be a SYMBOL (shhh, don't say anything as commercial as 'logo'). They also encourage designers to stay away from […]

Sticker, Banner, Label, and Poster Printing at the DNC

Sticker, Banner, Label, and Poster Printing at the DNC

Let's peel back the layers of the print design onion. The Democratic National Convention has been about a lot of things – unity, progress, celebration – but it's also a testament to the speed, efficiency, and extreme coolness of full color printing. As if to play on the theme of unity, the Convention saw the integration of Obama's election campaign print designs into that of the Democratic National Party, as well as the integration of VP candidate Joe Biden's name into Obama's print collateral. Also on display outside of the Pepsi Center where the DNC was being held was an absolutely nuts array of supporter-created posters, signs, stickers, buttons, and pretty much every other type of print collateral you can imagine, including, of course, all kinds of delicious products and product labels, such as Obama brand water. Stray further from the gates, peel back another layer of the printing onion, and you come to a wild melee of protest signs […]

How to Take the ‘Annoying’ Factor Out Of Election Campaign Advertising

How to Take the ‘Annoying’ Factor Out Of Election Campaign Advertising

And yes, even we will admit that it's there. Did you know that one of the Founding Fathers of this country was a printer? Even though he eventually became a major political figure, Benjamin Franklin always signed his name, 'B. Franklin, Printer.' Throughout his career, Franklin printed everything from newspapers, to political tracts, and even, at one point, currency! He developed and printed money in New Jersey that was supposed to be un-counterfeit-able. Franklin eventually went on to become a prominent political figure in the state of Pennsylvania, where today, a whole new set of White House hopefuls are busy campaigning. Of course, in Franklin's day, printing was just about the only way to share information amongst a large group of people. Now, printing has to compete for attention with TV, the radio, and the internet. Compared to those mediums, printing can seem less than competitive, especially in a marketing segment that is generally classified as 'annoying.' Ben Franklin, along […]

A Caucus-Race and a Direct Mail Tale

A Caucus-Race and a Direct Mail Tale

For better or worse, friends, it begins today. The much-hyped Iowa caucus has a debatably significant impact, but there is no doubt that it is our first step towards nominating our Presidential candidates. Clearly, the frontrunners, particularly for the Dem nomination, are feeling the power of Iowa's caucus-goers. The New York Post reports that approximately 50 million dollars have been shelled out for advertising by campaigns in Iowa. That averages out to just about $200 per caucus voter. Whew! While the majority of campaign coinage goes to TV advertising, print campaigning is also in heavy use, with $10 million being spent on direct mail campaigning alone. Iowans have spent the last month drowning under postcards, brochures, booklets, and other mailers (even some including stickers!), with many receiving fifteen pieces of mail from one campaign alone, vs. some 50, 000 televised campaign ads. This certainly begs the question: is there such a thing as too many points of voter contact? If […]

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