Washington Post

Political campaigns are getting savvier about design. The exception? Trump's MAGA hat.

A banner featuring an image of U.S. President Donald Trump is seen near a table with official campaign merchandise during a 2018 rally in Washington, Mich. Foto: Bloomberg photo by Daniel Acker

WASHINGTON - One evening this past October, around 150 people - a standing-room-only crowd - crammed into a pop-up event space in northeast Washington. The occasion: a pre-midterms panel discussion on graphic design in politics. "Political design is this relatively obscure sector of design and of the creative universe," Bruce Willen explained to the room. (His Baltimore design agency, Post Typography, hosted the event. Despite the name, the company has no relationship to The Washington Post, although it had previously done some work for the Post.) "But at the same time, it's work that's really important, and has the power to shape politics, our cities, nations, the places we live and our policies."

Indeed, the smallest details can influence public perception of a candidate. Signs for Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, for instance, eschewed the word "for" and instead read: "Stacey Abrams Governor." The simplicity of the message highlighted the transformational aspect of her candidacy: A win would have made her the nation's first black female governor. "It's her image that's the key image of the campaign, not the logo," Ben Ostrower, one of the panelists, explained to me later. His D.C.-based firm, Wide Eye, designed the sign...

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