Tuesday, April 22

Who are you? Discussion #8

This thought has come up to me over and over. Being out in the field for a long time, I tend to feel the need to reinvent myself from time to time. I get bored with how I present myself and need a change. One of the most prominent parts of my identity is the typeface I choose to represent who I am. Currently I have some inconsistency issues. My website uses House Industry's League Night. My stationery uses Tarzana and Trade Gothic. I have a logo on my website, no logo on my stationery. Heck, my business cards were done ages ago, use Futura and have a logo long since defunct. (I don't have the heart to throw out perfectly good business cards). So much for presenting a united front.

This inconsistency is now an urgent issue as I move forward to make myself an LLC. A Limited Liability Company is a way of creating a company without going for the big guns and incorporating. It's good for smaller businesses with partnerships or sole proprietors. The biggest advantage is that it protects my personal money from my business money if I get sued. I've grown significantly and am now dealing with some large clients, international suppliers and huge dollar amounts changing hands (too bad it's not going into my hands). It's time to protect me, my personal finances and my business finances. With this new stage of my business comes the necessity to create a business name, have official stationery printed, etc. Here's my dilemma. Who am I if I were a typeface. There are so many I adore, have crushes on, rely on for the tried and true that I have no idea which one represents me. I don't want to have to re-do all of my printing every two years when I get bored with my choice. I want the one true font that is my soul mate, my love, my partner, the one who will never let me down. It's a tough choice.

Take our candidates, for example. As the political arena heats up particularly today in Pennsylvania for the Democrats, I couldn't help but notice the type choices the candidates have made to represent themselves. What does it say about them? Personal feeling aside, what do these typefaces say about a person? (PS - I'm not asking or looking for any kind of political debate, I'm looking at what the typeface represents.). And before I give my thoughts, let me preface this by saying I do not affiliate myself with any party. Viva la independents!

McCain - It conveys strength, power, solidity and the confidence that this person has no doubt he is right for the job.

Obama - This person is sophisticated, refined, confident but not overly so. This person feels a sense of order and has a friend who is a skilled designer who understands kerning and proper tracking. The darker blue also exudes strength and serves as a nice contrast to the sun mark.

Clinton - The choice of upper and lower case is softer, not as forceful as all uppercase and, in my opinion, not as confident. This feels more feminine for good or bad. The waving flag, while modernized, is an uninventive/uninspiring icon and could use further exploration. The for President feels forced into the space and the entire blue area could use some breathing room.

What is your opinion of what the type choices represent? (again, please no political based comments!!!) If you had to choose, what typeface would represent you if you were running for President? Which would you choose to represent yourself as a designer? What does that choice say about you?

Bonus question for giggles- I need a name for my LLC. While I could use my own name as I have been doing since I started freelancing and just tack LLC on the end of it, I can't help but be tempted by the thought of a cooler sounding name. Something that makes clients want to hire me for name alone :)


Anonymous said...

When I look at McCain's typography, I can't help but think it is sort of fun. The inconsistent thicks and thins of the letters make me think of food packaging. Like, try "McCain's Mechanical Pen Cereal" "Kids love using their cereal to draw and the lead tastes great!" Seriously, though, I do not really feel it is particularly strong and doesn't make me have confidence in the person behind the name. As for Obama's sign, it does a better job being more sophisticated, yet I sort of think of a movie. "Obama" coming to a theater near you in '08. (I think he should have ask Emril if he could have said, "I'm Barack O-BAM!-a, and I approved this message.)As for Hillary, I like that her's is a little bit fun, yet doesn't look silly. I would have chosen a typeface that said "POWERFUL", though. Thank you, that is all.

Anonymous said...

Funny Janel I thought McCain's sign immediately reminded me of food packaging as well. Not generic but one up. Like the Giant or Walmart Brand.

Hill's sign looks rather typical. Not tweaked or refined. No real risk taking. That wavy flag thingy has got to go.

Obama's sign actually looks like a fairly skilled graphic designer had a hand in it. (His door hangers are actually the nicest ones I've seen.)

But the true irony is that Hill's sign color is what I remember as being almost the exact shade of the notorious blue dress. Notice she isn't playing up her last name.

I think when I run for President my font will be a font called National Spirit from the Solo Typographers Catalog. (Dover Publications) We're talking wonderfully tacky and hard to read. Oh boy I just found another called Old Glory. I'm in ugly font heaven.


Ms. Dash

Anonymous said...

I'm not liking McCain's type. The second "C" is just a hair away from touching the "A". If it was touching, that would be one thing, but with it so close but not actually intersecting the "A"... it makes my left eyebrow twitch. It irritates me for some reason. Maybe it's the small sliver of empty space that I feel is unnecessary.

Obama's places a lot of emphasis on the "O" . It's off center from the rest of the type slightly and is larger. I'm not sure if it's a bad thing, but I feel like it's a bit unusual. It makes me think that it was made to remind people how to pronounce his name.

The softness in Hillary's does present a feminine feel. I think it was used correctly and plays off her well...

Doesn't change the fact I wouldn't vote for any of them.

-Jonathan_C_EC II

Something Jenna-ish said...

Well I can definitely help you with the last part. The name for your LLC should clearly be "The Bos." It obviously sounds awesome; the boss but cooler.

I agree that Hillary's type seems weaker but who are we kidding, I doubt they really had that much input on their typefaces. I'm sure someone came up with a really convincing argument on why that represents her.

It's all about the creativity of your camp. Obama is going for this fresh "i'm the future—change change change" platform and I think he just might have better designers that make his signs. His logo is more unique, type strong and contemporary, with colors that command. That's for sure.

As for McCain I don't know. I guess the food packaging comments hold true, but it certainly doesn't impress me a whole lot. Boo typefaces. Yay independents!


Anonymous said...

In my opinion I think that Obama's typography is the most attractive. Reading the interpretation of the impression that his typeface gives off, that is everything I would like to give off if I were running for president. His typography seems to be the happy medium between McCain and Hillary's typography. McCain's, to me, is a bit overbearing. Portraying that you are confident and powerful is great, but throwing it in my face with bold text and huge caps is a bit much and annoying. Hillary's, on the other hand, is the complete opposite of McCain's. It's seems fragile and frail and something that can use a bit more editing. If I'm feeling unsure about the typography, chances are, I'm not going to bet on it either.

Now, if I were to pick a typeface that represents myself, I'm not too sure what that pick would be. I haven't given it much serious thought yet. Sure I have a few favorites that I use on projects from time and time again such as Gill Sans, Baskerville, Helveltica Neue, Attic Antiqua, Ellianarelle's Path, and a few others. However if there was a typeface that was named, "blunt", that would be me. I'm a blunt person. I say things the way I see them. I would imagine my typeface looking strong, but not bold. A nice san-serif - something mixed from the DF Paralucent Condensed Family with a hint of the san-serif type of Walburn Fine.


Anonymous said...

whoever designed the mccain logo needs a lesson or 5 in kerning. the obama logo could use some work, too. i think the hillary logo is nicely kerned, (although you disagree with me, ms. dash ;] )

as for their individual font choices, i like the obama one the best. i like the all-cap, bold, trajan pro look it has. the mccain font is awful, in my humble opinion. it doesn't represent power or leadership, two basic traits the PRESIDENT should have. hillary font is pretty nice, but it's been sort of overused. i also like how it just says "hillary." being the only female candidate in the race, i think it works much more effective than "CLINTON,"

as a designer, i find myself constantly drawn to helvetica neue ultra light. :D


Anonymous said...

Maybe it's just me, but McCain's typography looks slightly girly. It kind of looks like Optima and, if that's the case, the thicks and thins in the typeface have always reminded me of makeup and hairspray. Obama's logo is definitely the best of the three, and the choice of all caps leave me feeling like he would take charge and command attention. Hillary's overall design is just bland. It's uninventive and run-of-the-mill. And the three stars on the flag just annoy me.

Anonymous said...

I know you only showed the 3 people that still matter but, I just wanted to call attention to this site:


it has all of the original 20 some candidates banner/flag/roadside driving distractions on there. I especially like Fred Thompson's because someone in his campaign had the bright idea of slapping his face on the banner. Bad decision. I think if I was going to run for president I would definitely keep my face off of those banners so I don't scare away voters with a menacing snapshot of myself like the one Fredo had going on. As for my typeface I would probably go with destroy from dafont.com

waiting for it...


ok you probably got a good laugh or at least an eye-roll in there. Seriously I have kinda a crush on Avenir but lately I like Neuzeit Std so I would probably have to go with one of those two typefaces, if I was going to have my name on a billboard to become president so look out in 2020 when Im eligible to run.


Anonymous said...

I would love to see a presidential sign that’s really fun and crazy like a big movie poster (ha), not just their boring name and some little Americana icon. blah. boring. So in saying that, I think they are all just the usual and something we see on everyone’s lawns that we never actually "look" at and enjoy. I guess I would have to say that Obama’s is the nicest, and the strongest. the little icon is a lot better and less cheese ball than Hillary's. McCain’s is just plain old boring; I mean ...that ugly blue and the little star? Come on your running to be the president you spend millions on obnoxious tv commercials, you can shell out a little more cash to make a more eye catching sign for goodness sake. Hillary's typeface is also cheesy, well maybe not cheesy, but it doesn’t say "elect me for pres." its more like " elect me to be your PTA president." I think someone said it looked girly, and it does. Which in my eyes isn’t a plus. I think the candidates should of come here and let us do their signs for designathon. That would have been a trip.


Anonymous said...

McCain's logo is definately food related, an early morning rush of fiber for your diet kind of logo it make u feel like its a good choice over a mouth rotting sugar high of other cerials.

i love obama's logo it is a very modern, up to date logo that is calm and reassuring over all a very well designed logo.

HIllary's logo looks like her and her best friends got together and made a quilt of different stuff that she thought represented her and her beliefs. over all very busy and crammed together.


Anonymous said...

I feel McCains type face shows him being stern, direct, and shows he knows what he wants. Obama-feels well rounded, organized and knows how to get what he wants. I think he white space around type works well. I Feel he is open minded about things thrown his way. Hillary-feels feminine. The modernized flag comes off as girly. The ball terminals(plunkett) on the "a,r,y" give a feminine feel as well. I think all these characteristics work well for a womenly feel.
If i was running for President, i would want Obama's type face to represent myslef. It just feels more sophisticated. It has nice white space inside the box which provides room to breath.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the typeface in McCain's logo conveys strength and power. I feel that because there is no red in his logo, it's giving off a conservative feeling.

I like Obama's typeface the best. It's elegant and sophisticated, yet the serifs give it a sense of stability. It's kind of odd that he doesn't have the word president anywhere in his logo.

Hillary's choice is bold, but I don't get a sense of strength through it. I agree with Janel, it looks kind of playful.

If I were running for president, my logo would be most like Obama's. I feel that his colors and type choices are the most sophisticated and powerful. I'd have a star or two though. I feel that it's important to symbolize our country's flag.


Anonymous said...

McCain's logo is simple and feels almost military. That C and A are driving me crazy though.

Obama's is definitely the best designed. Although it feels more like an event logo, and not for the presidency. Maybe for the olympics, with all those o's.

Hillary's... how much can you pack in one little blue square? It feels fussy and crowded. The "for president" is overkill, and a tad insulting.

Overall I think McCain's has the most "presidential" feel while Obama wins the design competition, as it were.


Anonymous said...

My favorite of the three logos is Obama's, with McCain coming in a close second, and Hillary's is definitly trailing way behind. I just feel like they were trying to express too much in Hillary's. There definitely needs to be more space, everything seems crammed into the space just so everything is there. The "for president" part isn't needed, we all know that already! And the blue certainly is too close to the shade of that notorious dress.

I like Obama's color choices, they make me think of strength and pride and I like how the type is centered with plenty of space on all sides. Makes me think that he doesn't have anything to hide...sorry, about to go off on a political rant but I stopped myself.

McCain's is simple, almost too simple. I would have guessed that he would have used some red, but the limited colors are easy on the eyes. I'm not sure how I feel about the alignment of everything, but I guess that kind of shows what kind of man he is...who knows, I'm just flyin by the seat of my pants on that one.

As for me, if I would have to choose a typeface that represents me, I have been hung up on Hypatia since Apple was nice enough to give it to me for purchasing a Mac. I like the thicks and thins, the serifs are a little different and it just has a interesting rounded quality to it. It's a little bit of everything: serious, silly, readable, unreadable...just like me. I think it's almost a perfect match.


Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the majority here, I would rather have obama's sign overall for design if I was running for president. I really enjoy the fact that the circular logo and the letter "O" and the zero all create this sort of visual flow down the whole sign. I also really enjoy white space so the fact that his has the most really makes me look at it more. Although if I did have to pick a font for myself I'm not quite sure what I would go with I've always had a soft spot for Baskerville because I'm a little obsessed with the letter "g" and how you can really design with it, especially if its unique enough.


Anonymous said...

Hmm personally when I look at these three ads so to speak, McCains annoys me bc to me its too simple I mean ya it shows simplicity and solidarity but it's boring and the C and the A kerning is horrible. Now Obama's I like, I really enjoy that little logo thing hes got going for him and I like that the typography is a serif and not a san serif. Hilary's I think is just to feminine that it loses the power it could have if the for president would have been in a stronger typeface.

Anonymous said...

Although altogether I like the McCain design for it's sleek confidence, I feel that Obama's logo really hits the nail on the head for me when I think of "presidency" per say.
Specific politics aside, when looking at the logos FOR PRESIDENCY, one must consider the PURPOSE of the logo. In this case the purpose is to speak to the overall character and policies of the candidate while easily distinguishing them from his or her competitors.
Given this, (and I am serious when noting none of my personal views politics,) the logos must in some way touch on the candidates' stances. One must examine or at least note the political unrest at which our country's current state is at, and the underlying fact that the nations' people have mixed thoughts on the current wartime.
While McCain's logo is bold, I think Obama's speaks to a modern sophistication that has yet to be seen in today's political realm. The deep blue suggests a steadfast loyalty and heartedness, unlike the others. The noted kerning is COMPLETELY appropriate and a nice CHANGE to some of today's horrid tactless, "american" designs. With this being said, the overall "feel" is very different from other political posters and I think this works to Obama's campaign given that he is the first African-American candidate for president.

In comparison with Hillary's, whose sign SCREAMS "I am different"— Obama's sign is tasteful and doesn't dumb-down the public. (I feel that Hillary's does just that by the suggested femininity of the bright blue, and wavy flag.) For better, or worse, this sign is TOO girly to immediately speak to the position of president of the united states (for ME at least.)

All in all, Obama's logo is hands-down the best logo, but may the best candidate win!

Anonymous said...

I think that McCain's typeface along with the star design above feels bold and confident, yet generic. I also feel like having "president" under it seems overly confident. I think You should have "for president", or nothing at all. I just get bored with the whole design, also perhaps there is only blue and white. Hillary's type choice seems dated to me... I don't really know why. I agree that the flag strip along the bottom could use some work and "for president" needs some room. I don't even think she needs to have "for president" at all. We all know what she’s here for. I also agree that the font with upper and lower case is much more feminine. That could go two ways though... I might make people feel she's not strong enough or it might help tone down her image she has already...because I think in person, she seems way too confident. The font choice might balance her out. I would have to say the Obama's Choice is my favorite. It is all caps, yet the letters are thin. It makes a nice statement without seeming too confident, yet strong. I love how the "O" is enlarged and the "08" is also a nice touch to balance the roundness. And again with the sun logo. I also feel like I relate to this one most. It holds its own, doesn't over do it and is nice to look at. I also like how he did not include "for president" anywhere. All the aspects of his type and logo fit the nicest in the space given. Much better than the other two.

Anonymous said...

first thing i saw when i saw McCain's was i thought of an admiral or something straight out of the military what with the lone center star and pointed bars, like its saying now its time for marshal law. Oddly enough, everybody sees fiber enriched foods in McCain's banner but i thought that was more prevalent in Obama's, what with the the blue sun rising over field stripes. I'd say instant instant win of the farming vote. Still, he wins the kerning battle hands down and he has really good color choice with the already limited palette. Hillarod, well, i'm feeling an early 90's vibe, and not a good early 90's Saturday morning cartoon vibe. She chose the the brightest variations of color for red and blue and it all seems kinda stuffed on there. Not to mention the kerning is really tight and that flag gives no personality like the other two do. If I were running for pres, my font of choice would probably be Kremlin from dafont because i'm tired of all this attempting at classiness with a hair of edginess. politics could use a little old school propaganda in it, at least it'll make things somewhat more interesting.


Anonymous said...

Overall, I feel Obama's logo and signage to be the most successful. I enjoy the weight that the designer put on the end type. The 'O' of Obama and the '8' in '08 are slightly larger and create a nice 'teeter-totter' balance to that line. With that weight on the uppercase second line of his website, it makes me feel that his party is strong enough to hold up that first line. The logo symbol also adds another nice element to the banner as well. Also, the open blue space leaves some breathing room with is comfortable.
On the other hand, McCain's banner shows some kerning issues and is just plain boring. It screams NAVY! Which may be unsettling for those against the war.
Hillary...the banner seems way too cramped together and cluttered type and that wavy flag with three stars. I'd like to see it tracked out slightly and move the 'for president' tag somewhere below. Though the typeface with lowercase gives her a nice feminine feel.
Every sign or banner for a president or mayor, etc. has always been straight forward, and usually looked alike. They never put too much time or effort into their advertising or their image outside the press. I'd just like to see something different and more flashy to create a solid logo and image that varies from the same old plain name in caps and flat color. I guess that's where I would go with my campaign for president...


Anonymous said...

McMain's type is just terrible. I don't even want to look at it it's kerned so bad. And honestly, with it just saying "president" really makes him sound pompous. Obama's is much better. Kerning feels even and has a nice quality to it. However I feel like Hillary's is the most together as far as a political look.Kerning is good, the letter "Y" leads your eye down to the flag then to the web site.


Anonymous said...

If I really had to pick a favorite logo I would probably go with Obama's. Everything is kerned RELATIVELY well and everything has room to breathe. The font choice and the "sun" logo really make it people friendly and I think would attract the largest amount of people.

McCain's logo although somewhat strong in nature and simple, is really brought down by the terrible kerning.

Hillary's is a nice attempt but everything feels very crammed and kind of "thrown in". I agree with the original comment about the flag that it is a nice thought but is very under-explored.

I get bored very, very easily and I completely agree with the almost constant revising and redesigning of identities. I personally have some very basic "identity" material but have big plans for this summer as far as design work. My font (for now)=eurostile=cool.


Anonymous said...

I find this discussion interesting because the first thing I thought to myself when I saw the Obama logo was, "Wow, political signs and logos are usually so horrible, that is a NICE logo for a political figure, is there a sticker available? because i'd take it." :) For me it gives a really good impression.

A few things I like about it:
- the spacing surrounding the logo.
(gives nice breathing room, which the others don't have at all)
- the color choice of the blue background is pleasing to the eye.
(McCain's is almost purple, Hillary's is to traditional)
- the balance of the O and the 8 fits snug around the website
(Hillary's feels to "thrown in"... and McCain's is very nice lol... non existent)
- the "short and sweet approach"
(it has more than just "McCain President" which is kind lame- and even though Hillary's is better it seems to crammed)
- the lighter weight of the typeface, plus the subtle serifs
- the circluar theme between the letters and the graphic itself
-and the overall modern look

If I had to rank them in order 1-3
1. Obama's
2. Hillary's

5. McCain's

For me...I personally like Baskerville, trite as it may be, but its pretty :)


Anonymous said...

I agree with a lot of the other comments...

Obama's logo was the most attractive to me, conveying this centered and balanced mood as if he would be able to make decisions without too much personal judgment interfering. It is also very open feeling, again pushing an open-minded view for those young liberals.

McCain's logo is in your face, almost to the point of cockiness (it reminds me of the "I want you" poster). Then again, I feel like it states that he could be your rock through any tough situation.

Hillary's logo is dreadful, scatterbrained, and overwhelmed. To me it says that she doesn't have the focus or commitment for such a powerful position.

I can't really go about choosing a typeface for me if I ran for president because I wouldn't even want to image such a dreadful situation; I want to stay as far away from the government as possible.

But, I could comment on what font I would use as a designer. Recently I have fallen for Gotham. A simple san serif. The hard edges represent my strengths and seriousness but the soft curves show my playful and fun attitude.


aldyn said...


like others noted, the first thing i thought of when looking at mccain's logo is a frozen food package. i feel like his logo would look perfect slapped on the top of some bag of tater-tots or pierogies. the whole CA bit is a fiasco, to be honest. when i look at it, i have to resist from hitting option+right arrow.

i'll have to say, i like obama's the best. and i like his website also. something about the gradients and web 2.0 gets me. his logo seems the most modern and design-forward. plus, he's got a little mark going on in the left side. while the other two just have a flag or star.

oh hillary. what is going on wiht this logo. i swear it jumped off of the cover of some 1989 social studies text book. the colors seem a bit old and faded looking, and the fact that the blue in the flag almost gets lost in the background bothers me.

where's the helvetica neue ultralight? the trade gothic? the futura/avant garde? haha jk. though, i guess it's a good thing—i wouldn't want a politician to ruin my opinion of a font.


Anonymous said...

The closeness of the "C" and the "a" in McCain bothers the crap out of me. I think it should either completely touch or be evenly spaced like the rest of his name. Both his star and Hillary's wavy flag looks as if the designer got lazy and placed in clip art. Obama's however seems more refined and the darker blue seems more powerful than the other two. Hillary's seems more feminine but in a cheesy sort of way.


Anonymous said...

I like McCain's font it is simple but a bit unusual. It bothers me a little how the C and A are so close. I guess because he's got the Mc going on but still it's unsatisfying to me. His sign feels very confident and to the point because of the wording McCAIN-president. Obama's typography is my favorite it feels classy and smart. I like the logo too because it really feels like the O is hugging and watching over the us flag. His sign is solid.
Hillary's looks really 90s to me for some reason. The font for Hillary is fine but it needs more breathing space around her name. For president feels crammed in and the url placement is off too. The flag needs to go. I will give her props for using her first name though. If she had used Clinton I think people would be thinking of Bill.

Anonymous said...

Out of the three, I find Obama's typeface to be the most attractive. First of all, the colors are most unique. Red, white and blue, but tweaked just enough to stand out and be the most unique of the three. The letters are given plenty of breathing room while the enlarged "O" and "8" do a nice job of making the name hold itself together. Also, his graphic component is by far the most creative and artful. There, a brighter blue is used to, I assume, reflect his political message. The entire thing also breaks out of the proportions that Hillary and McCain. Its proportions are more pleasing to my eye.

McCain's is too boring, it doesn't stand out and doesn't say anything about his political position other than, "more of the same." Also, a serif type would have spoken with more authority.

Hillary's logo is at least trying to say something about her political position by using lowercase letters and her first name. However, it comes off as too crowded. What I presume was meant to read as motherly and caring, comes across as smothering and obtrusive. Each element is crammed in there way too tightly.


Anonymous said...

Obama’s typography stuck out to me from the beginning. It’s very sophisticated and I think much more modern and fresh than
the rest of the other candidate’s type. I do like how laid back it is yet it’s still strong and memorable. The larger “O” and the 8
with the small website underneath it just create some kind of stability of the overall design. His type and design in all is a
different take on the normal campaigning logos but represents a lot about him.
McCain’s is too predictable. It really says “military” to me, which could be ok since it can represent strength and confidence.
But there’s just something out dated about it. And obviously the kerning?
And Hillary, I do like one thing about it, that she doesn’t throw her last name out there and that makes her design stick out
more than the others just by wording. She obviously wants people to know she’s different. The types too girly too squished
together, there’s no stability in the type, and everything just feels like it was forced there. The blue on the flag and the blue on
her background are clashing. Obama wins this one. I just love the fresh new take on campaigning he has with the use of his

Anonymous said...

Prof Bosler... I know for a FACT that I posted on this blog (discussion #8), it was a rather long comment that I took a lot of time thinking about and writing out, and I posted it only a few days after you posted it. I took a screen shot of it in case I couldn't find it, but now I can't find that screen shot anywhere on my computer! This happened to me last time also and I promise you I wrote one! I would write another one again but I don't have time because I just came on here before our test to print them out, and my post isn't here?? I hope you understand and do not take points off because of this.

lorem ipsum (aka prof Bosler) said...


I have every single response to this post saved in email (since I have to approve them). Your email is not among them and I looked through twice, sorry. Are you absolutley sure it was this one? I saw you posted in #9. I suggest you post again even if it's a quick response.