Thursday, May 29, 2008

Campaign Mementos

Steven Heller from the New York Times has a great article about campaign mementos. He begins by referencing the 1952 presidential election between Adlai Stevenson and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Adlai Stevenson was known for being too frugal and low and behold a photograph taken of his show revealed a hole in the sole of his show.  The show was made into metallic lapel pins and worn by his supporters in both his failed election bids.


Heller asks a group of designers to conceive the 21st-century versions of these mementos based on the current campaigns.

Here are the mementos:

Stephen Doyle and Tom Kluepfel
principals, Doyle Partners

Hillary Clinton’s positioning is about her experience, namely that she has already lived in the White House for eight years. So, we have represented her presumption with a key, her key to the White House. Her Slogan? “Don’t worry, I’ll just let myself back in.”


John McCain certainly deserves to get into the White House. He is a prominent patriot: distinguished, injured and imprisoned. Uniformed patriotism doesn’t get better than that. He is the Oldsmobile of candidates, but he comes with neither a 3-year, 36,000-mile warranty nor free towing. His emblem? A skeleton key.

Barack Obama? His emblem of access to the White House is obvious: the swipe card. It is the most modern of the three, but for the life of us, most Americans just don’t know how it works.

- These are perfect and seem to represent each candidate well, especially the lines about "letting myself back in," and "most American don't know how it works."

Daniel Pelavin, illustrator

Hillary Clinton Souvenir Village.
Barack Obama “Hope” Chest.
John McCain Campaign Medal.


-This seems to be the most unifying. Their is a positive memento for each candidate and their constituents. It reminds me of this Onion article where all the candidates announce that they will run together on a superticket.


Thomas Porosoky
art director, ID Magazine

Forget elephants and donkeys, John McCain needs a dog. He needs to reaffirm his most admirable quality, integrity. Dogs are honest, full of energy and will risk harm to save Timmy from the fire because it’s the right thing to do.


-I don't know if a dog is the best representation but its friendly and children may like it.

Steven Guarnaccia
chairman of the illustration department, Parsons the New School for Design


-Very witty.

Lou Beach, illustrator

For McCain the message should be emphatic. Defiant, yet comforting. The appeal is in its counter message to all the “change” banter of the other candidates.


-I am not exactly sure how this work as a counter message for McCain. Is this sarcasm or maybe I'm just not getting the inherent message. The broccoli thing isnt too appealing. They should have used Obama's favorite vegetable argula (too bad the price is getting expensive for him).

Nigel Holmes
principal, Explanation Graphics


This symbolizes pulling back the curtain on a new era of openness and truth. O, the perfect circle, equals completeness: one America. It is eco-friendly, does not have to be manufactured: just go to your local hardware store and you can get it in a variety of sizes and colors. One can hang it (or many of them) in the window to show support and use as a Christmas tree or holiday decoration to celebrate the coming of a new presidency.

-I like this, although it reminds me of a cross between an open condom and ring but as a decorative item it works well. You wouldn't know what it was initially. I can imagine looking at this at a holiday decoration party and not knowing what it was but thinking it was cool.

Viktor Koen, illustrator

As the candidate whose experience became the centerpiece of her campaign, it made sense to bottle that experience and distribute it as the solution to a wide spectrum of problems — new and old, real and imaginary. This magic potion may perform the miracle of nomination of the first woman for the presidency of the United States or cure thinning hair for the common man.


-This works, although it can also be poison or ipecac. Then again the potion thing is appealing. It reminds of a Harry Potteresque memento. "Drink the Poison of Hillary to battle Voldemort,"  or some type of experience spell: Hillarry Cliticlus Experiencus

Stefan Bucher
principal, 344 Design

The Democratic Party: Unite or Die.


-This is the best one. it is self explanatory. Although I think it would be interesting it one hand was a "black hand" and the other the "hand of woman" with painted finger nails.

The symbolism would almost be too close for comfort. A problem could arise as to which hands holds what. Neither the black hand nor the woman's hand wants to hold the donkey's ass. Nevertheless this is the best memento.

Another version of this in the fall could have the hands shaking each other with the donkey united and even the diversity hands.

New York Times

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