Over the course of the past year, almost every candidate I’ve been tracking has dropped out of the race.
Almost every candidate has therefore changed their email logo.
Let’s see how they evolved, from their first email to their most recent.
After joining the race what he thought was late, Michael Bennet went with a fairly straightforward red, white, and blue logo. The most radical aspect was the subtle curve to his last name, which many noted was reminiscent of the much-heralded “bridge” logo of Pete Buttigieg. After dropping out of the Presidential race, Bennet focused on his Senate seat in Colorado, thickening the border of of his logo and changing “America” to “Colorado.”
Technically, Biden’s logo hasn’t gone anywhere or changed at all, but he does have two versions of his logo. Both use the same red, white, and blue color scheme, but one focuses on his first name and the other on his last. I haven’t yet found a rhyme or reason for when one logo is used over the other.
Bill de Blasio
Bill de Blasio never did much with his campaign, nor did he do much with his logo. After ending his run, he never bothered to email me again. His logo remained the same from start to finish.
During his Presidential run, Mike Bloomberg went with a non-threatening mix of upper and lowercase letters, of blue and red, showing how he was straddling the parties. After his run, he adopted a branding more closely aligned with his news organization and put the focus on his last name. He seems to like purple, but he’s been trying up a couple designs.
As a Presidential candidate, Cory Booker had the privilege of a short, fairly distinctive name that matched nicely with the spacing of 2020. Running for Senate, however, he dropped the colors and embraced his full name. No frills, no fuss, just getting the job done.
The eternal question: do you campaign with your first name if it’s fairly common? Steve Bullock chose no, focusing instead on his last name and lots of stripes. Like Michael Bennet, once Steve switched to Senate, he dropped the broader “America” coloring for Montana.
He also dropped the seriffs from his name. That C certainly didn’t look quite right.
Pete Buttigieg led the campaigns this year with a groundbreaking “Design Toolkit,” in which he not only released high-quality versions of his logo to supporters, but he also broke down the explanation of what it meant and why it was chosen. It was a welcome rebranding from his original, bland logo. After dropping out of the race, Pete started his own PAC to focus on downballot races. His initial Win the Era logo was a hasty redraw of his iconic bridge, but he’s since found a better way to frame the words that has both the subtle curve of his Presidential logo as well as the bars above the 2020. It is still a distinctive branding, even if the words do seem a little tight.
Julian Castro did not actually change his logo over the course of his run. He simply had two different colored versions of it. One worked better on light backgrounds and one on dark backgrounds. Julian did use both for his emails.
There was no red in Julian’s logo, but blue and white is fairly common among Democrats. Much praise was given to the way the accent over the A broke the box he was in, as if indicative of a candidate willing to break the mold.
John Delaney was only the third-richest candidate to run for Democratic nominee this year, but he was quick to pull every single image he ever sent in his emails. I had to find his original logo on Google. His new logo is from an email he sent about the CARES act, after he dropped out of the race. The only difference is that he dropped the “for President” from the bottom.
John D. focused on an Obama-esque version of his name, with the red, white, and blue road through his D much like Obama played on his O.
Tulsi Gabbard changed her logo partway through the primary, dropping the sun motif. It is unsure if the sun was meant to be a rising or a setting sun, but the general consensus from critics was that it was a setting sun, and “sunset” is not a good theme to have for a Presidential candidate.
After dropping out, Kirsten Gillibrand set up a PAC of her own, dedicated to helping elect women this year. She dropped the bold, hot pink branding for a softer, curvier light blue, but she seems to be finding more success as a PAC leader than a Presidential candidate.
Never truly seen as a serious candidate, Mike Gravel did not change his logo since dropping out of the election and setting up a non-profit called the “Gravel Institute” to promote leftism. However, aside from a couple emails asking me to endorse one candidate or another, there really hasn’t been much movement here.
One of Kamala Harris’ key points was that she had never changed. Her first government job was “for the people,” and as President, she would also be “for the people.” Kamala’s logo also hasn’t changed. Whether it’s running for President or serving in the Senate, she has remained Kamala Harris For the People.
A note on her logo design: some people have called out the flag imagery in her choice of colors and locations. I’m fairly sure this was part of her branding, with the “bluer” color in the upper left and the “redder” color where the stripes would be on a flag waving in the wind. It’s this sort of subtle nod that I really appreciate in graphic design.
Purple is my favorite color, and I have to celebrate a man who embraces it in his logo. Like the other John in the race, John Hickenlooper dumped his Presidential graphics and focused instead on his Colorado race as senator. He reworked his blue and purple Presidential logo into this CO with the mountains, a design I immediately liked the first time I saw it.
Jay Inslee also dumped his Presidential logos by the time I was making this post, though oddly, not all of his merch photos.
After running for President, Jay switched to a Governor logo, and then some standard text in his blue. He recently started up a PAC of his own, Evergreen Action, which has a much nicer logo than his Presidential… globe?
Amy Klobuchar had a troublesome history with color in her Presidential emails. I was frequently left screaming about my eyes burning out from her clashing colors. After dropping out of the race, she went through a couple logo iterations before settling on the one thing that probably wouldn’t change: her name. Her font is a quirky, curvy and spiky serifed font, but the most impressive thing about her redesign is how the colors all work nicely together. The subdued blue goes well with her bright green, and her buttons and highlights in her emails also coordinate with her logo instead of clash. Amy finally nabbed someone who knew how to pull together a cohesive design. It’s just too bad it took her until after her Presidential campaign was over.
Beto O’Rourke has never been one for color. He likes a tall and narrow font (much like his own build), and straight black-and-white design. As a Presidential candidate, he focused on his first name, but now that he’s not in the race, he started a grassroots organization called Powered by People that is working to flip Texas blue. It is also working on many charitable causes during this difficult time, helping people affected by COVID-19.
Deval Patrick taught Michael Bennet a thing or two about joining the race late. After launching a campaign that seemed like a mashup of various other candidates’ campaigns, Deval went nowhere and dropped out soon after. Recently, he began a PAC of his own, the Together Fund, an organization to build a just and prosperous future for everyone. He kept the same color scheme as he had when running for President, though like Amy Klobuchar, he tweaked the colors a little and changed his font.
Tim Ryan has two versions of his U.S. House of Representatives logo, one with his state of Ohio and one without. Like many other smaller candidates, he has purged his Presidential logo from his emails. Like Michael Bennet, Tim seemed to take design inspiration from a candidate who had joined the race earlier: Cory Booker.
Bernie Sanders running for President uses the exact same logo as Bernie Sanders not running for President. His logo has become fairly iconic itself, red, white, and blue with a serif font and a star above the i. Much like Bernie, his logo remains the same.
Joe Sestak didn’t really last long enough in the race for his logo to change, but if any logo should have changed, it probably should have been his. The moment I first saw it, I wondered if his name was Adam Joe or Joe Sestak. Then I noticed the eyeball.
“Big Brother is watching” is probably not a good sentiment to have your logo subconsciously projecting if you want to be taken seriously.
Blue and green seems to be the colors of choice for candidates dropping out of the race. Tom Steyer was another latecomer who borrowed his logo design heavily from an earlier candidate (It’s a masculine version of Marianne Williamson’s logo: prove me wrong). After dropping out, he dropped the 2020 after his first name and replaced it with his last name, continuing to work on philanthropic activities.
Interestingly, Tom Steyer has never emailed to let me know he is endorsing Joe Biden.
As a candidate, Eric Swalwell didn’t last very long. He made it to the first debate and no further. Once dropping out, however, he lightened his blue, added a tagline, and proceeded to make a point of standing out in the House, opposing Trump however he could. Recently, Eric launched his own PAC, Remedy PAC, which is focusing on registering voters and winning 10 key races to flip the Senate blue. His logo for his PAC is very similar to his logo for his own name. I am rather amused that the only real difference seems to be changing red to orange.
Elizabeth Warren established a strong brand identity during her run, with her bold last name and choice of liberty green and navy blue. She has expanded her brand since dropping out, adding Democrats below her name and changing from a single focus to a group dedicated to progressive Democratic causes. Like Pete Buttigieg, she is taking the familiar and well-loved brand and running with it.
Marianne Williamson always had a rather eclectic approach to her donation buttons, but her logo remained consistent throughout her campaign. It merged a narrow, serif font with her colors of dark purple and pale pink. After dropping out, Marianne split her logo into two versions, first the serif font and her full name, but then embracing the more popular version of her logo, changing 2020 to now and making her first name the focal point.
Again, I see parallels between her logo and Tom Steyer’s later rendition. Convince me that he wasn’t inspired by her.
Andrew Yang embraced a bold wordmark in his logo, a fluttering banner over his Y that also was interpreted as an eagle. His motto, Humanity Forward, became the name for his PAC, which is designed to implement his ideas to prove their reasonability in the real world. Andrew went from a standard red, white, and blue color scheme to an interesting light turquoise, emphasizing the humanity aspect of his goals.