Fridays are a sacred day. They should be reserved for tying up loose ends before 5 P.M. and preparing for a weekend of solace.
It is not, however, the day that you should: A.) Announce your candidacy for president, nor B.) do so by unveiling a logo that leads one to believe you’d be a better president of an insane asylum’s equivalent of a student government.
Cory Booker did both today. And it damn near killed me.
The New Jersey senator, who likes to compare himself to Spartacus, announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president on Friday. And what did we learn about the senator from New Jersey? That he hired a graphic designer off Fiverr and a website developer from the local community college.
Let’s break down why I’m so vividly angry over the Booker 2020 brand identity.
A campaign’s logo is the foundation for how the candidate wishes to be perceived. Think of the Obama ’08 logo where he took a boring letter – O – and made it into a beacon of hope and a symbol of a better future. It was really amazing work that inspires creatives and politicos alike to this day.
Booker, on the other hand, decided to take us back to a dark time in logo history: the early 2000’s. His logo is boring, basic, drab, and in-your-face (in the worst way possible). It’s only memorable for how horrid and tacky it is, and it makes me think he is running for a low-budget city council seat in some forgotten midwest town that you probably can’t pronounce.
The only thing this logo could sell is a multi-level marketing scheme. Hey, friend from high school, would you like to be your own boss?
I think what angers me most about Booker’s logo is that it uses a font that makes me, for the first time in my adult life, prefer Comic Sans.
The name of the font is Conductor Condensed. And according to typography studio Frere Jones, it was inspired by “vintage Bulgarian lottery tickets” and “incorporates elements of vernacular shopfront lettering and mid-century type design.”
It feels comical, like this was something he whipped together last minute. It’s hardly a commanding font, and it begs the question: if you can’t choose a decent font, what makes you think you’ll be a good president? Yes, this is a serious question.
Maybe it’s fitting that it was inspired by old lottery tickets, because the idea that this branding would win any kind of election requires a spiritual belief in good luck.
Perception is reality, and one of the most important perception-shaping components in brand creative is color. In politics, red, white, and blue reign supreme. It’s how politicians show us they are patriotic, because that’s the only possible way they can communicate such a thing.
With that said, there was a great article recently about how the female Democratic candidates for president are pushing the boundaries of color and experimenting with non-traditional palettes. Warren is going with dark red, blue, and mint. Kamala Harris has yellow, purple, and orange. And Kirsten Gillibrand is rocking a touch of hot pink.
The problem with Booker’s use of color is that it is dated. The blue and red are bold and bright, but not in an inspiring way. The palette is typical and unoriginal. It looks like the kid Booker got to design his logo picked the standard blue and red selection on Microsoft Paint and went, “yep, that’s it!” Dare I say, it’s unbecoming of a candidate for the highest office in our land.
As the kids say, “oof.” But then again, that’s the theme of this post.
It’s plain and simple. Despite the hours of footage and terabytes of photography of Booker, they chose to use very little of it. And the imagery they do choose to feature is blurry and foster inspiration. The entire site feels like a missed opportunity. They knew hundreds of thousands of people would be flooding his website today, and still chose to produce something so void of excitement, so busy and ugly.
And not to mention, their insistence on carrying over that terrible font to the website. It’s as if his team believes we shouldn’t get off just suffering from the logo alone. Why not make us suffer even more by putting it all over the website? If he becomes president, I have no doubt this will become the national font, and use of antidepressants will skyrocket.
Okay, I like it. It’s not anything to send a text message home about, but it’s decent. And, after all, what we need after a barrage of filth is some semblance of good news. This is it, the only thing the campaign got right.
In case you couldn’t already tell, my Friday was ruined by Cory Booker’s 2020 campaign branding. When I saw it, I felt genuine fire in my chest. I almost checked myself into an ER.
The 2020 cycle is going to be intense, tough, and crowded. The focus for candidates should be to stick out from the pack in a good way. Booker doesn’t do that. The brand he has gone with doesn’t rise to the occasion and feels like a rush job. It fails to match the enormous ego of the man behind it.
Senator Booker, call your office. Ask them to find your design firm and fire them promptly. While I don’t support your campaign, I do hope you seek justice for the scam committed against you.