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October 30, 2008 | 12:00 a.m. CST
Without the financial resources of presidential campaigns, local candidates running for district or state positions have been getting creative with their logos. Or maybe not.
According to Ric Wilson, graphic design professor at MU, local candidates haven’t done enough with their logos. He says candidates have the opportunity to say a lot about themselves through their logo design. “I don’t think enough campaigns take advantage of that,” Wilson says. “It’s an untapped
resource.” With the insight of three local graphic design authorities and our own — cough — objectivity, Vox looks at what the designs say, or don’t say, about the candidates.
Green means go . . . vote? Tanner Pieschl, head of business development at ACME T-shirts, thinks
Kelly might be appealing to the green movement. Kelly’s Web site, however, doesn’t include any information about green energy. So why the green logo? Perhaps the choice of green is an attempt to draw the luck of the Irish, Wilson suggests. Or perhaps he interpreted yard sign to mean a sign that looks like a yard. We might never know.
Cross that bridge “The Bridge to Our Future” is a passable campaign slogan. But apparently Kelly felt it was too vague, so he added a bridge. Too bad it looks more like a guardrail on a highway. It even has the little ridges that make that obnoxious noise when you go off the road. A more appropriate slogan for the image might be “Kelly is the guardrail that keeps you from nose diving into a ravine.” Might be best to lose the image altogether.
Par-tay Still is one of the few local candidates to specify which party she belongs to. But why is it so tiny? “Without having to number it out directly, you can use size to imply the importance of sequence,” says Mike Lising, design coordinator for the Missouri State Teacher’s Association. So Still must believe that party affiliation, which tells the most about a candidate’s stances, is less significant than that big white star, which is, well, super cute.
What’s in a name? The Still campaign got lucky with its candidate’s last name. “Still the one” is a clever slogan that will follow voters all the way to the booth. But what would have happened if her last name were Knot? “Mary is Knot the one”? Vox suggests
Still and Chris Kelly pair
up to create a new, combined super slogan that reads “Still waters run deep under the bridge to our future.” Catchy.
What the font? Wilson says that serif typefaces, those with the little feet at the tops and bottoms of letters, imply stability. Gibbons, however, uses a sans serif font for his logo. Therefore, can we infer that Gibbons is a candidate sans stability? Whoops — probably not the best platform given the current state of the economy.
State-ing the obvious What’s with the Missouri state icon? As Wilson says, if you see a political sign in Missouri, it’s probably not for another state’s candidate. The design of Gibbons’ logo might have been better if he had decided not to have an image on his sign. The one he has right now, with the state of Missouri popping out of a red circle in the middle of his name, looks a little too much like a “No Smoking” sign or even the Ghostbusters icon. Maybe this was his intention all along. “Who you gonna call? MIKE GIBBONS!”
Go Tigers! “Defending Mizzou” is part of Robb’s platform, so his color choice of MU black and gold is not surprising.
According to his official Web site, Robb “will aggressively fight off attempts by other universities — including the one in Springfield — to steal Mizzou’s flagship status.” Oh snap, Springfield. You just got ROBBED.
Wish upon a star Lising says the motion from the star might imply Robb will be active in making change. Or maybe the gold star refers to the adolescent notion that if we perform well, we get a gold star. So voting for Robb is like getting an A on a spelling test. Too bad after you vote you can’t take the ballot home and tape it to the fridge.
Take the Z-test
Americans read in a Z-pattern, left to right, top to bottom. So if our eyes naturally follow Robb’s sign, we read “Ed re-elect Robb.” Hey Ed, did you get that?
True Blue Schaefer has chosen the unconventional pairing of blue and green for his logo. As general counsel and deputy director of Missouri’s Department of Natural Resources, he might be relying on these colors for a literal reflection of his commitment to the environment. He could take it one step further and have scratch-and-sniff yard signs. Vox recommends scents like “Summer Fresh” and “Blueberry Blast.” Oooh, copyright!
Crazy Eight If size does matter, then Schaefer seems to think that the year of the election is more important than his own name. Such a sign of humility is rare in a politician. But by skewing the “08” diagonally, Schaefer has given another reason for the eye to jump to the corner first. OK, we got it the first time with the big letters, Schaeffy. Why don’t you use a drop shadow and surround it by stars while you’re at it?