Christopher Pratt (cpratt) wrote,
Christopher Pratt

The importance of design

I wonder if good graphic design can help win the Presidency? Four years ago, when I saw the first Kerry bumper stickers, I cringed. Who the hell would want to drive around with that on their car?

I mean, look at that. Butt-ugly, ordinary, generic font. No relief from the tension of red vs. blue. Awkward kerning. Transparently bullshit use of the "strength" meme effectively exploited by the Republicans. [I mean, come on. He's from Massachusetts and married a ketchup heiress. He looks about as strong as Jimmy Stewart.] Terrible visual clutter compounded by a tiny, weak clip-art American flag in another transparent ploy to appear patriotic in that special post-9/11 way. Oh, and finally, to top it all off, there's a little, complicated union printed logo in the corner. Ugh. Is it any wonder this man lost the election?

And then there's this:

Did you happen to see Helvetica? No? Well, there's a great section in which an interviewer describes the sea change in American advertising for Coca-Cola that happened in the 1960s. In the '50s, Coke ads had all kinds of stuff in them: flags, flowing script, people, lots of text describing the product. And in the '60s, they went with a big red ad with huge Helvetica text that simply said "Coke is it." Period. End of story, no discussion.

I saw those W bumperstickers everywhere - I think people liked them, even Democrats, because they were simple, bold, clean, and looked damn good, especially on F-150s and minivans. Sure, he's a terrible president and everyone's going into debt trying to maintain their lifestyles in the face of higher costs for everything, mounting national debt, and exploding housing costs, but damn, that's good graphic design. Simple, solid... Presidential, even if the man himself is anything but.

With that in mind, I thought I'd grab some designs four remaining candidates' Web sites - here they are, in alphabetical order:

For further comparison, here are representative bumper stickers from the candidates:

This isn't technically her bumper sticker, but that's only because the appropriate Web page is missing an image. Sorry about that.

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