Designing Barack Obama

This morning, I had the chance to watch this talk by Matt Ipcar of Blue State Digital, on the process behind designing President Obama’s 2012 branding. I really enjoyed it.

Specifically, he shared a few tips when designing for political campaigns that I thought were spot-on to my experience:

  1. Plan ahead — Don’t overbuild: grow site as campaign team grows. Get donations, volunteers and contact info early on.
  2. These colors don’t run — If you are designing for a US presidential campaign, learn to love red white and blue.
  3. Details matter — Beware of bad stock images, unwise font choices, and don’t manipulate photos.
  4. Adaptive design is a given — Make the site responsive and adaptable to different screen sizes, especially mobile.
  5. Respect the Brand — Make the design as unique and meaningful as your candidate or issue.

I’ve long been a fan of Blue State Digital’s work, and I think it goes without saying that the branding and design work around the 2012 Obama-Biden campaign revolutionized the industry. If your work involves designing for politicians and nonprofits — or even just designing at all — I’d encourage you to give it a watch.


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