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A close look at the political campaigns of the United States will point out the importance of proper logo design especially those for presidential campaigns. The saliency of political campaign logos and how they are perceived by the electorate is tantamount to the success of the campaigns generally. In designing logos, political candidates strive to position themselves as appealing to the voters. The manipulation of colors, fonts, and graphical elements are what makes a logo unique. The branding of political candidates is very important in any campaign; however, there is uncertainty if graphical elements influence voters’ choice.
The proposed research will explore the design of logos for political campaigns in the period 2000-2017. The main aim will be to determine how branding influence is likely to translate to voter support for a political candidate. To achieve this, I will define what constitutes a good logo and how voters react to graphic elements. An analysis will be made of the complexity, comprehensibility, and the realism of a logo, that is, how fonts, color, and graphical elements influence the effectiveness of logos in political campaigns.
The proposed research will make use of the following research questions:
I will make use of content analysis to conduct a literature review on how logo design influences political campaigns. I will also seek to establish if there has been a trend in logo design in the period under review in the United States.
In a bid to understand how logo design and subsequent branding can influence campaigns of political nature, there are important premises to explore first. First, this literature review will explore the notion that voters are fond of using shortcuts to make decisions in the political arena in terms of who to support. Second, the literature review seeks to establish that graphics and branding are an integral shortcut employed by the electorate in the political landscape.
Voters tend to use a number of shortcuts to aid them in making electoral choices. Using certain cues the voter is able to make relatively informed electoral choices or decisions within a very short time frame. Voters are now interpreting the graphical elements on logos as vital information and use the resultant graphical clues in making voting decisions. Therefore, political candidates use their curb appeal is increasingly become one of the key determinants of realizing electoral victory. Curb appeal is a feeling that voters develop when they see the graphical representation of a candidate severally whether or not they will vote for them. Therefore, voters will always use visual clues to supplement their decision during the voting process.
People are known to subconsciously relate meaning to logos and connect opinions as well as ideas to visual elements. Logos help an individual to create a brand that gives legitimacy. A research done on logos and branding points out that voters prefer repetitious logos as opposed to logos with multiple elements that can be interpreted differently. Candidates who seek to have a competent visual identity need to have simple logos with having an apparent meaning.
Voter find shortcuts to make electoral choices. Logos help in creating a simplified political reality which in many instances helps the electorate make better understanding what choices a candidate stands for. Using logos, political aspirants achieve the ultimate goal of a campaign which is to be associated with positive feelings. Hope and excitement are some of these positive feelings. However, voters make use of political shortcuts motivated by other uncorrelated standpoints such as emotions.
There are rules that have been established on logos that apply to all other graphical elements associated with the visual branding of a political campaign. An effective logo must possess certain characteristics. The first characteristic is visibility. For a logo to be successful it must be visible to its audience. The second characteristic is meaning. A successful logo is one that through its content and technique conveys information in a manner that the voters connect with it. Logos must be accurate and seemingly normal in what they are conveying. Blue, white, and red colors are common when it comes to designing campaign logos. These colors and graphical elements are the factors that contribute to a complex brand. There are also natural elements such as stripes and stars which are widely used in designing political logos. The last characteristic is comprehensibility. The graphics and its message must be simple and understanding to its intended audience. To increase the comprehensibility of logos for campaigns they must be associated with recognizable objects and shapes. Candidates who use logos with recognizable feature usually tend to leave an impression on themselves and the campaign. Such logos become potent visual shortcuts.
In order to evaluate the use of logos to influence campaigns in the US, I will mainly focus on the presidential campaigns that took place in the period 2000-2017. I will do this evaluation using content analysis. The main assumption of this research will be that voter reactions and trends established in one election cycle are transferable to the next. My sample will involve all the candidates who took part in the presidential candidates participated in the elections during the period under review.
Using the candidates’ website addresses and the national archives project called The Way Back Machine; I will access the candidates’ website pages. In this research, I will access the Home, Candidate Profile, Issues, and the Volunteer pages. These website pages will enable me to survey the elements of the study. These are the only pages that I will explore for consistency purposes. The first issue I will explore is whether or not the logo is used consistently for all the pages. The second issue will be to check if all the coded elements are determined by the logo used on the Home page. Here the coded elements will be captured using “0” or “1” code for simplicity and the results analyzed in terms of the percentage that used the element. The elements for analysis will be the candidate’s name, color usage, choice of font, and lastly, the use of certain graphical objects. After coding all the candidates’ elements, to determine which elements are most influential I will compare and focus on logos for those that had victorious campaigns in both the party primaries and the presidential elections.
A complex analysis can be conducted for this research like the one done for qualitative research problems where interviews are used to obtain the same information. However, this research will use information obtained from those online sources so as to avoid interference by controlling conditions. Therefore, I will use samples composed of students (voters), equivalent to the number of presidential elections that took place within the period 2000-2017. Each group will give their preferences based on the logos used for those elections based on these three elements; use of a star, the font used and the colors used in the logo. Later on, a comparison of this sample will be made and represented by way of bar graphs.
The following are the hypotheses of this study and their implications:
The use of a star in a logo makes the logo to be moderately complex. The star according to Nee offers a subtle hint of patriotism in the campaign and the logo is likely to be successful. The use of blue, red, and white colors all almost of all the candidates in the US presidential election might be an influential factor in designing successful logos. These are the colors used by the federal government and they are likely to solidify one’s chance of winning the election because they are likely to instill a sense of patriotism in the campaigns. On the other hand, serif font though subtle indicates simple yet official tone to a campaign material hence its success.
The factors that make a logo complex, realistic and comprehensible like font, color, and the inclusion of graphics like a star contribute to its success in the campaign. With a good logo, it is easier to create a competent brand that is likely to increase the chances of attracting more voters to a certain party or candidate. Therefore, undivided attention should be given to logo designs because they have the ability to make them more appealing considering that voters tend to rely on visual shortcuts to make an electoral decision.
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