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Evaluating the Hillary 2016 logo

Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign logo immediately sparked controversy. Saying everything from “It symbolizes a shift to the right” to “It’s childlike and amateurish,” people instantly weighed in on the design across blogs and all matter of social media. It’s crucial, however, when looking at design work to evaluate it objectively — Is it grounded in strategy? Does it achieve its goals? — rather than just jumping in with a quick “I like it” or “I loathe it.” So we thought we’d take a stab at assessing it more dispassionately.

To be successful, the logo should align with Hillary’s positioning, which we can deduce from her announcement video. In the video she says, “I’m in it to win it,” which is a bold, confident, and declarative statement. She goes on to say, in what appears to be her core message, “Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion… because when families are strong, America is strong.”

The attributes we can conclude from her statement include confidence, boldness, and strength, while the positioning is based on a promise of being a champion who helps move Americans and America ahead. Now, does the branding communicate these?

Hillary Clinton's logo for her 2016 campaign for President
Hillary Clinton’s logo for her 2016 campaign for President

The bold, solid letter H that serves as the foundation of the design speaks to strength and resolve. The red arrow moving to the right indicates future motion, or moving ahead. The use of a sans serif typeface is straightforward and modern and has a universal appeal that should resonate with a larger audience (“everyday Americans”) more than a more stylized typeface might.

While the core H element is blue, there is a balance between the use of red and blue. Hillary well knows if she’s “in it to win it” she’ll need to appeal to people in both blue states and red states, not the Dems alone.

Perhaps the most direct element that says “champion for the people” and “making America strong” is the written message in the logo: “Hillary for America.” The use of her first name says it’s personal and she’s making an individual commitment. And “Hillary for America” rather than “Hillary in 2016” or “Clinton for President” puts her positioning out there in a bold, direct way — this isn’t about a campaign, it’s about our collective future.

Whether you like it or not, judged against the framework of her stated positioning, the design is arguably successful. It visually communicates the key elements of her initial positioning as she jumps into campaign season.