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The Good, The Bad And That Arrow. Not Everyone Likes The New Campaign Logos

The first presidential candidates have declared, and that means Rand Paul, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio all have shiny new logos to go with their new campaigns.

This early in the campaign, with little actual substance to pick apart so far, the logos are prime bait on the Internet, attracting supporters, haters, wanna-be graphic designers and more.

Let's start with Rand Paul, whose logo features "Rand" under a graphic of a flame. The graphic has been showing up at events with him, along with the slogan, "Defeat the Washington Machine, Unleash the American Dream."

Paul at the University of Iowa last week, with his campaign logo in the background.
Charlie Neibergall / AP
Paul at the University of Iowa last week, with his campaign logo in the background.

Armin Vit, a graphic designer who runs Brand New, a blog about logos, isn't exactly a fan. While the letters look strong and assertive, "the torch itself — the fire part seemed like it could have used a couple more revisions to make it more convincing," he told NPR's All Things Considered. "It lacks a little bit of ... fire."

The flame graphic is also being used in Paul's "Liberty Not Hillary" bumper stickers and other merchandise. A silhouette of Rand (remember that Obama "Hope" artwork?) has also made a cameo on some of the campaign's swag.

Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign logo.
/ HillaryClinton.com
Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign logo.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton's logo, barely four days old, has already faced a bipartisan beating online. The New Yorker published a cartoon of two people looking at her logo, with the caption "I'm just not sure a big red arrow pointing to the right is the best logo for a Democratic candidate, is all."

More than 1 million people viewed a five-minute redesign posted on the website imgur.

Rick Wolff, a graphic designer, created a font out of the logo, which he called "Hillary Bold" and "Hillvetica."

The Washington Post created a tool to allow its readers to write their own slogan using Wolff's font.

And, in a full-circle moment, Clinton's team used Wolff's font to promote volunteering on the campaign.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's 2016 campaign logo.
/ TedCruz.org
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's 2016 campaign logo.

Despite the mockery, designer Vit said Clinton's logo "definitely stands out as something we haven't seen in presidential campaign logos."

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's logo looks similar to Paul's, invoking a flame to go with his slogan, "Courageous Conservatives: Reigniting the Promise of America."

Vit, though, was unimpressed, telling All Things Considered, "This flame kind of makes me think of oil burning somehow."

Cruz's announcement speech at Liberty University was curiously logoless, and his campaign has been slow to use the logo on campaign merchandise.

Sen. Marco Rubio, the latest to announce, went for a more simple logo — his name spelled out in lowercase letters with a tiny graphic of the country to dot the "i." And his campaign was not shy about repetition — the logo was splashed all over the backdrop of his announcement speech Monday:

But all in all, Vit said, the good, the bad and the ugly on the whole are not so bad. The logos "have a level of sophistication we haven't seen in a really long time," he said.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Amita Kelly is a Washington editor, where she works across beats and platforms to edit election, politics and policy news and features stories.
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