Obama’s Campaign Font Said to Offer Hope, Geometric Simplicity

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For those of you wondering about the secret of Barack Obama’s success, that mystery has been solved– it’s the font:

Steven Heller: As a branding expert, can you tell me what it is about the typographical scheme of Senator Obama’s campaign that is unlike his challengers’ ?

[Graphic designer] Brian Collins: [A]s a result of their approach to design, the Obama campaign really stands out. From the bold "change" signs to their engaging Web site to their recognizable lapel pins, they’ve used a single-minded visual strategy to deliver their campaign’s message with greater consistency and, as a result, greater collective impact. The use of typography is the linchpin to the program.

This appeared in the New York Times not too long ago, although you probably remember most of it from Obama’s book, "The Typography of Hope."  It continued:

Obama_4colorQ: What is it about the typeface Gotham that adds personality to the Obama brand?

A: I don’t think that Gotham adds any personality to Senator Obama’s brand. I think it just amplifies the personality that’s already there. . . . With that said, though, there’s an oxymoronic quality to Gotham, which is why I think it’s become so popular. It has a blunt, geometric simplicity, which usually makes words feel cold and analytical . . . , but it also feels warm. It’s substantial yet friendly. Up-to-date yet familiar. That’s a tough hat trick. And Gotham has another quality that makes it succeed: it just looks matter-of-fact. . . .

Q: Could this have been accomplished with other typeface(s)?

A: Yes.

There was an oxymoronic quality to this exchange, which sounded important while actually being sort of pointless.  It’s a fine font, there’s no question.  But is it the font you would want to see when you get an email from the White House at 3 a.m.?  That’s what you should be asking yourself – does it have the strength of character(s) we need to win the War on Terror?  I have a lot of respect for McCain, but that guy is still using Courier, for Christ’s sake.

Whatever happens in November, at least we will be done with WingDings.  Hopefully.

Link: Campaign Stops (a New York Times blog)
Link: See Gotham in its native habitat at BarackObama.com