Outside Iowa: Logos of campaigns past


How does Iowa stack up with other states? How much is Washington affecting the lives of Iowans? Every Tuesday, Politics Reporter Brent Griffiths takes a look at the Hawkeye state’s place in the nation, as relevant to recent news, with Outside Iowa.

The race has “officially begun.” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz opened the gates Monday when he became the first major-party candidate to enter the nation’s quadrennial ritual.

Beyond the substantive policy debates and rhetoric, is one of the many cottage industries that crops up along with each presidential cycle.

Whether your Cruz, JFK, LBJ, Goldwater or Romney, the mark of a would-be president gets stamped on every kind of kitsch, sign and clothing imaginable.

Every good candidate needs a logo, and Cruz’s announcement at Liberty University means its time to dissect the odd, the brilliant and the just plain weird history of campaigns of old.

Cruz elected for a simple touch with his 2016 branding opting for the patriotic palette complete with a flame motif. If you have not heard already, Texas’ junior senator talks about the world being on fire more than Smash Mouth.


The first major 2016 entry follows what seems to be the three laws of logo crafting:

1. Some mixture of red, white and blue — because if it wasn’t clear that you were running for president already the three hues of the flag should clear it up.

In recent times, it looks like only then Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter decided to eschew red, white and blue when he first ran against incumbent President Gerald Ford in 1976. There’s probably a joke in there somewhere…


Although, repeat hopeful Ralph Nader seems to have followed the trend in 2000.


2. Flagged for your attention

Complementing the red,white and blue color scheme a number of candidates opt to complete the picture with a small image of the American flag — sometimes faded into the background as you see above.

George W. Bush went for the full-on flag image, slightly altered, in 2000.


Hillary Rodham Clinton had a visually appealing take on the flag motif in her 2008 campaign. It remains to be seen what mark she would use this time around — if she decides to run.


Democratic Sen John Edwards from North Carolina tried to fashion the flag into an E — judge for yourself, but it did not turn out out well.


3. Don’t get cutesy 

You’re running for president and want to stand out for the plethora of other campaigns, sometimes even your own previous efforts. But presidential aspirants should be careful on what they choose. Edwards’ above example stands as a testament to what can go wrong when a candidate tries to fit the flag in his or her image.But his folly is not alone.Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich appeared more likely to be selling a children’s novel than a presidential campaign in 2004.denniskucinich2004Now up for the next step: choosing a slogan.

*Special thanks to 4president.org for a number of the above images.