March 20, 2008

brand a cowboy

[Skipping the house tour one more day, because this post is time-based] Scott Kleeb is a Nebraska Democrat who ran for Senate in 2006 and came close to winning in a district that has long been considered a Republican stronghold. Kleeb is running again and similar to Obama, represents to me a new generation and a new brand of Democrats, and also like Obama, he seems to be showing some recognition of the importance of branding. Kleeb is holding a logo competition that I read about a few weeks ago. I'm not usually a fan of contests for graphic design - they usually bring about some scary results - although that could also be a result of whoever does the judging for those contests. (Again, the old design by committee complaint I and many designers bitch about - resulting in compromises that usually kill the strength of any design. "What if we take this piece and add that part...") I wanted to enter, but ended up never having any time to come up with anything before the dealine. Today I ran across a link to the top four choices, which he is asking everyone to vote on. I have to admit, I am pretty surprised and pleased with the four finalists. I hope he also takes a cue from Obama's campaign to recognize the importance of a full visual identity system, of which the logo is just a small, albeit important, part. All the logos are good choices. If you don't want to be influenced my opinion, stop reading here and skip to the link at the bottom to vote for yourself.

As for my personal opinion, while I like the first choice, it is strikingly similar to the new identity for Ruby Tuesday restaurants (which I also like). The second is nice as well, but is a little reliant on color and doesn't seem like it would work as well in a single color (which is an important factor in logo design). The tractor and star elements could also be troublesome when reduced to a very small version. The third is my favorite. I love the reference to a cattle brand and the reference to the shape of the state, without being completely obvious about both. It also would work equally as well as a single color without the leather texture, and it holds together when reduced to a very small size. It's both confident and localized to Nebraska, without relying on traditional political logo gimmicks (like stars and stripes, etc). And of course, the fourth choice is nice as well, but suffers from being a less-strong version of the third choice. While nice, it lacks the strength and energy of choice three. But, thats just my opinion. Make your own known and go vote for yourself. (also a note, I extended the background myself on choice two and three above - original versions are on the link below).
  • Scott's logo finalists - vote
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