Branding and the 2016 Election

We live and breathe branding at 834. In fact, we are in the midst of two very large projects which got us thinking about politics (because they’re hard to avoid) and the role branding plays. The 2016 election has been quite a doozy. It’s more like a reality TV show than a discussion on our country’s policies – but there is a lot we can learn from the election itself, and how each candidate communicates with the public.

A lot of eyes are on this election (83 million people watched the first debate, making it the most-watched presidential debate in history) and how each party nominee presents their brand and message to the American people. As technology evolves, so has the content and style of candidate brands. From the 1700s to 1800s, politicians communicated their message via posters, political cartoons, promotional freebies and buttons. Logos didn’t enter the mix (excluding type logos) until the mid-1960s.

Enter present day, and the logo becomes even more critical in representing a candidate’s stance and voting bloc.

Let’s break down each logo quickly and keep in mind, the below does not reflect our political views, just our branding views.



We won’t touch on Hillary Clinton’s color choice because, well, they are all red, white and blue. Let’s look at the composition and how it translates across marketing channels.

  1. Clinton’s logo is simple and direct. It’s an ‘H’, in case anyone was confused. The arrow, as our designer Julie would point out, represents forward movement. Is it incredibly original? No. Is it effective? Well, let’s look at usability.
  2. Survey says – yes! It holds up across print, broadcast and digital platforms. The one-letter logo is very social-media friendly. Just look at the Facebook profile picture, fits pretty great in that box, doesn’t it?

Now let’s take a look at DT’s brand.

Trump has had multiple logos, his initial when he first hit the campaign trail, the first Trump/Pence logo and the one he is currently using.


For the purpose of this article we will look at the very first Trump logo, because we can’t even with the Trump/Pence logo.


  1. Is the logo distinct or original? No. The typography is OK, but the mark is generic and it is definitely not memorable. In fact, when we started writing this article, we couldn’t immediately recall the Trump logo, which could be due to the fact he has had three. So it isn’t that original, but how does it translate into other uses?
  2. Considering Trump doesn’t use it consistently across all social channels, we can’t really judge how the logo would be adapted. The logo as is, would not work as a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram profile image. On the other hand, he has communicated since the beginning that he really wants to “Make America Great Again.”



We bring up social media translation of the logos because frankly, that is where the majority of the conversations surrounding the 2016 election are happening.

We are living in the digital age, and for a candidate to effectively reach voters, they have to create meaningful, modern, intelligent and multi-sensory experiences and messages.

Hillary’s team has created a logo that is memorable, shareable and effective. Regardless of what you think of either candidate, good design is good design.

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