DesignPerformance Art

Is #TrumpPence Trolling, or Being Trolled?

SCENE: a marketing meeting at Trump 2016 HQ/secret lair

Director: Okay, folks, I know the big guy said he was gonna postpone the VP announcement because of that whole Nice, thing, but he’s gone ahead and done it anyway. Whatever you’ve got for a Trump/Pence ’16 logo, he wants six to choose from and we’ve gotta do this NOW. We’re messaging with the RNC on this one and they wanna try something different with the email. so let’s GO, people!

Team: I’ve got three… you’ve got two… crap. Hm. Anybody? Well, okay. Hahaha, we’ll include this one, I guess. No WAY will he pick it.

Option 6
Option 6

*after the presentation*

Director: OMG HE LOVES IT! Option 6 is the winner!

Team: Uhhh…do you wanna tell him? Naaaaaaah…

Friends, the intarwebs are having a field day with the newly-released Trump/Pence campaign logo. A glance will likely tell you why. A longer look may give you a few more ideas. And if you’re online at all, you can find all KINDS of creative ways to look at it.

https://twitter.com/TheRealDonnacha/status/753999668166660096

If you don’t see the gif, make sure to click to witness its full glory.

There are also references to toilet paper, Cornholio, TP-ing the White House, and more.

I can’t say I think much of the design itself. The letter combination of T and P can be difficult, sure, given the connotations of toilet paper. But you allow for that in good design, working around and accounting for such limitations. You don’t just go barreling off in another random direction, straight into bathroom humor and typographic pornography! And this one is certainly bringing the “graphic” back into graphic design.

Oh wait, someone says, it’s not a penis penetrating someone, it’s just a hand job. OH OKAY THEN. I mean, WHY are we talking about this guy’s penis again? No, wait, it’s just TP, get it, toilet paper, hahaha, you need it for all the POOP!

It is a presidential campaign logo. Everybody go to their rooms and think about what you’ve done.

https://twitter.com/Babylonian/status/753994542320263169

But seriously, guys. Almost every copy of this image I’ve seen out there so far is aliased all to hell. It’s not on the presumptive Republican candidate’s website yet… hell, the announcement of the VP isn’t there, either, and the logo’s not even on the fundraising page you get redirected to via the fundraising emails that announced the VP pick. I know campaign season moves fast, and a certain someone certainly behaves unpredictably, but someone’s dropping the ball.

And considering the Republican Platform Committee declared pornography a “public health crisis” last week, they may be considering a redesign:

But don’t take it from lil’ ol’ me, have a bit of outside reading with Fast Company’s take on the debacle, with four different possible interpretations of the logo: Trump’s New Campaign Logo Penetrates the GOP

And, in a sensible counterpoint, Christopher Simmons resignedly notes that It’s Official: The Primary Purpose of Logos is to Inspire Hyperbole and Dick Jokes, though I can’t say I really see the logo as “a representation of Trump and Pence united for the 50 states” unless I REALLY twist my brain.

If your penis literally looks like a capital T you either need to get to a doctor, or get a dictionary. Likewise if any personal orifice literally looks like an extended letter P, seek professional medical or editorial help immediately.

No, it is not the worst logo ever. Nor is it the best. Those things are subjective, which is part of what makes logo design so hard. One thing we CAN look out for, however, is the context in which a logo will be viewed. If we’re all seeing dirty pictures in this one, what does that say about the context in which this candidate is presenting himself? Or, perhaps more importantly, about us? Is “middle-school locker room” really where we’re at, or the context in which we’re seeing it?

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Beth Voigt

Beth is a graphic designer in Chicago, a superhero in her own mind, and absolutely nothing on TV. She wrangles fonts professionally, pummels code amateurishly, and has been known to shove fire in her face for fun. Fond of volunteering, late-night bursts of productivity, and making snacks, she dislikes grocery shopping and sticky public transit and is only on her second smartphone. Her opinion is that you should try everything twice; if you don't like it, you were probably doing it wrong the first time around. If external links are your thing, here are links to Twitter and Instagram, and you can support her ongoing weirdness by buying her a coffee or six.

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