Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Hello 2008: The Campaign Begins

Happy New Year, all. I’ve taken a bit more of a hiatus than I had intended, and learned again that I should not make promises about when I will post x or y. So I will not do so anymore.

But I am looking forward to this new year, and will be laboring to get some good work done in this developing study of purposive images.

In the next few months, I hope to be posting on the largely untapped world of informational images, the logic and legacy of ethnic stereoptyping in popular forms and cartoon languages, and production design in animated film, as well as offering some reflections on the recognition and development of style.

In the meantime, with only a day to go before the Iowa caucuses launch the 2008 presidential race, here are some graphic exhortations to the candidates. Looking back, it sure seems to have been a little less complicated in the days of hats, buttons, and bumper stickers. But fact is, it's always been a tough game, and an activity for folks with super-antennae for the present, including (especially) new technologies and distributive mechanisms. In time-honored tradition, the merchants of persuasion are busy tonight in Iowa, that's for sure, pandering to an expanded electorate compared to the days of the Kennedy-Nixon race. And while Edwards and Clinton aren't so far from Brown and Smith, Obama sure is. Good for that, and him, too. For that matter, you wouldn't have seen the name Guiliani on a big party national ballot in 1960, either.

Keep in mind: “When you back up your personal campaigning efforts with professionally prepared campaign materials, you remind voters of your name and slogan in the most favorable way.”

And repeat after me: attraction, impression, action

If you're lucky, you'll implant your name in the voter's brain in really big sans-serif type.
Image: pamphlet illustration and design, Art Display Service, Inc., Detroit, circa 1960. Reproduced in the excellent (and very visual) book Hail to the Candidate, by Smithsonian curator Keith E. Melder. Published by the Smithsonian Institution. Washington, D.C., 1992.

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