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Obama Perfected Political Branding, And Now Trump Is Ruining It

So what’s next? Matt Ipcar, of the digital design agency Blue State Digital, weighs in.

Obama Perfected Political Branding, And Now Trump Is Ruining It

“When I heard of Obama, I was like, I want to work with that guy!” recalls Matt Ipcar, executive creative director at the digital agency Blue State Digital. It wasn’t just Obama, the man and presidential candidate, that was so appealing to him. “It was more so that this campaign looked different and paid attention to true design than any campaign I’d seen,” Ipcar says. 

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Indeed, Obama 2008 and 2012 upped the ante for political campaigns. They brought a graphic design sensibility, with proper kerning and a borderline corporate logo, to political branding, creating the first decent presidential websites and cultural icons like Shepard Fairey’s Hope poster. And then? Hillary 2016 followed the high design trend–the perfect plan–until it was blindsided by Trump’s MAGA hat, branding for the common man.

In our visit to Blue State Digital, Ipcar breaks down what it all means for designing campaigns of the future–and how little we know about what will come next.

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About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company who has written about design, technology, and culture for almost 15 years. His work has appeared at Gizmodo, Kotaku, PopMech, PopSci, Esquire, American Photo and Lucky Peach

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