Designing Obama: May 12 at the Walker (featuring yours truly)

Photo by Nicky Dieter, Flickr

For decades, political campaign advertising had more in common with Menard's than Milton Glaser: the graphic designer -- whose job was to sell candidates through an expected visual language of flag-toned stars and/or bars -- took the back seat, while the well-funded media buyer got the front. Then came Barack Obama. His campaign, lead by design director Scott Thomas, enlisted designer Sol Sender to both create a memorable, appealing identity and advance the lessons of Howard Dean's web-savvy "netroots" surge of 2004.

We all know what happened next. Obama's "O" logo became ubiquitous, embraced and modified by supporters so it appeared everywhere: carved into Halloween pumpkins, spray-painted on city concrete, plastered on cars, t-shirts and mugs, reprinted on one of American history's most recognized political posters, and interpreted by DIYers on murals, baked goods, light-up bike spokes and beyond.

Next Tuesday, May 12, Thomas and Sender will be speaking at Minneapolis' Walker Art Center on the development of the Obama campaign in a panel called, "Desiging Obama" -- and I'll be moderating the discussion. Got a question for Sender or Thomas? Leave 'em in comments.

Buy tickets here, or watch the live webcast at the Walker Channel.

No comments: