I found a fascinating article at Logo Design Love about the rejected Obama campaign logo designs for his presidential run. It amazed me to realize that the logo was designed in Fall 2006, well before Obama announced his candidacy in early 2007. It's one of the small parts of running a campaign, but was an integral part of shaping the message.
Designer Sol Sender led the creative team to come up with the logo - none of whom had ever designed for a political campaign. In two weeks they returned about 16 designs which were narrowed down to three finalists. Of the three, the one chosen was the one Sol had to sell to the campaign and his team. (Pictured right is one of the other three finalists. I'm so glad they didn't choose this one; it reminds me of a Diet Pepsi ad!)
Some of the more interesting designs, the changes to the eventual winner, a video of Sol explaining the process, how the logo was chosen and his thoughts on the losing designs - all after the jump.
I really enjoyed seeing how the eventual branding was tweaked at the end. It really gives the logo a sense of motion - of moving forward - after the minor change to the flag landscape. Be sure to watch the video and listen to Sol explain why they made the changes.
Here's the other finalist for the top honors. You can see how some elements of this design was incorporated into some of the later iterations the campaign used.
I blogged often about how different Obama's campaign was, but one of the major distinctions between he and his forerunners was starkly clear. Until Obama, all of the political advertising was mostly a red, white or blue background with the candidates names spelled out on it. There was no branding - no symbol of the campaign that could stand alone.
This one, however, didn't quite say enough...
This is a personal favorite. I like the 08 reflection, but I can see how it would be hard to translate across so many media types. It's the best of the rejected logos.
For this one, you can see they're still honing in on the Big O theme and they've incorporated the red state/blue state theme, but it's just too simplistic.
This one isn't too bad, but it just doesn't have the "Ooomph!" needed. Again, it's gone back textual and lost the branding.
Worst logo option ever. This one sucks. It is the worst of the possible choices. Seriously. I don't know how to say how much this one blows.
The end result was a logo that said, "Patriotism," "America," "moving forward," "bright new day," "red state/blue state," "unity," and "strength." By replicating that mark through the mainstream media, campaign materials, social networking, and regular advertising, the Obama campaign didn't just win the election politically - they sold the brand.