Hillary Clinton's campaign logo is as open to interpretation as an inkblot test. Some say the blocky red arrow bisecting the capital 'H' conveys a shift to the political right, while others say the design reminds them of a hospital sign. According to branding consultants who spoke with Inc., however, critics are missing the point by not considering the underlying message of Clinton's campaign. Below, these experts explain why the logo is not the disaster some people are making it out to be.
1. Focus on the campaign's message
The overall design of Clinton's website uses a different tack than President Obama's presidential campaign, says Ashleigh Hansberger, co-founder of branding company Motto. Whereas Obama's campaign used a design that was very inclusive, Clinton has taken a bold approach in ditching the typical flags and patriotic emblems. The design is very much in line with Clinton's forceful personality, says Hansberger, who interprets the right pointing arrow as the campaign moving forward. "Generally speaking it has a boldness about it that is reflective of who she is and her position as a candidate."
2. Don't look at the logo in isolation
Logos can't communicate the full extent of the campaign message, Hansberger stresses. "When we look at it as part of a big system ... that's when we see how the logo looks and how it reinforces the brand." Its use must be considered in different contexts such as in flyers, town hall meetings, and websites.
Alfredo Fraile, LatAm director at brand consultancy Saffron, agrees that logos alone are a small part of creating a brand. Logos that are coupled with strong brands communicate a message upon first sight; for example, Harley-Davidson evokes a sense of adventure, while Coca-Cola evokes bubbly happiness. Clinton's campaign, Fraile says, has to find a way to communicate a message through the logo so people don't judge it at face value.
3. Give the logo a chance to grow
Although Clinton's campaign may have gotten off the wrong foot by choosing a logo design that is too traditional, Fraile says, her brand's success ultimately will depend largely on how the design looks on digital platforms. The initial controversy surrounding the campaign logo is but a passing storm, says Hansberger.