Monthly Archives: June 2008

Psychographics – the use of demographics to determine the attitudes and tastes of a particular segment of a population, as in marketing studies.

I was watching a video about a viral marketing campaign from BMW and Jack Pitney, VP of Marketing at BMW said something pretty cool. He said that BMW targets an audience based on psychographics rather than demographics.

“What kind of mindset do we think this vehicle will really resonate with?”

That’s different than most people who might ask, “What age group is our target audience.”

That title isn’t meant to be sarcastic either. I love that the design of Obama’s latest podium front has made the news. Finally, political campaigns are setting a standard in the design world, instead of being the worst of the worst when it comes to design. Obama’s website is the best designed, most standards-compliant and user friendly of any presidential candidate’s website in history (the last two elections). His overall brand is also a cut-above. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that obama’s circle logo resembles a corn field and sunset. Afterall, he did start this campaign in Iowa, the corn state… where he won big. The first time I saw the Obama circle logo was on a large yard sign in Iowa City and directly behind the sign were corn fields.. very interesting.

I think it’s hilarious that people are getting worked up about great marketing and design. We also got worked up about McCain’s lack of great design and color choice – the use of a green backdrop. One design choice was well made and one wasn’t.

The Obama seal is a clever way to brand Obama as a presidential candidate. There were no copyright laws broken. If you look closely, the eagle’s are totally different renderings, the colors and font choices are different. It also doesn’t say “President of the United States”, It says “Obama FOR President”. The repetitive stars also weren’t used from the presidential seal… that’s more than can be said about McCain’s website and its overuse of stars. I think Obama’s designers need to be hired to redesign the white house website, government websites and heck why not the presidential seal. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with beautifull design in a political campaign.

McCain seems to have taken notice of how awesome Obama’s website design was and revamped his whole website a few months ago… before then he had no direct links to his social networking profiles (bad choice to leave this out – maybe that’s why mccain has 9 times fewer facebook supporters than obama who has over a million) I spent the semester researching the presidential candidate’s websites and how to reach young voters with them. I focused on McCain and getting him the young vote through a “students for mccain” website. 

Lastly, I think Obama’s website and overall branding resembles who he is: hopeful, ready for change, different than usual. His website resembles these phrases through his color scheme (not typical red/white/blue), spotlight effect with white highlights around the edge of the page and around photos of people, great typography and attention to detail with his pages for states and people groups (he uses imagery specific to each state and people group). His logo area of the website is very clever – using a photo of him looking up, in a hopeful manner.

What are your thoughts?

elements-31I began reading “The Elements of Typographic Style” today. I read something profound, and interesting to a me as both a musician and designer.

Typography is to literature as musical performance is to composition: an essential act of interpretation, full of endless opportunities for insight or obtuseness.”

I watched the second episode of the new series of HGTV’s Design Star. I like watching these sort of shows that redesign rooms in your house, because it’s fun to see the overlap that interior design has with graphic design.

I caught the last few minutes of the season premiere and contestant Michael Stribling said something cool. He was asked what his design style was. He said, “Whatever my client wants” He got blank stares from the judges.

But isn’t that what it’s all about?

Meeting the client’s needs while at the same time creating something you are proud to put in your portfolio. That’s the number one difficulty when working with clients: giving the client what they want while making great design (because we all know that clients will go for bad design, if you let them).

One of my new clients needed a logo, banner (6ft x 4ft)) and website. I’ve got a prelim. website done. This website led to another website project that I’ve not even started on. It’s for another drug prevention organization.

Now if I could only balance this work with my internship.


I’ve never really followed politics. I guess I started when I did a website for John Howser. The conversations we had about his opponent and other politicians made me intrigued. Then I began to follow the Kerry/Edwards campaign and even had their bumper sticker (*gasp!). I shook Edwards’ hand at a speech in Cape Girardeau, MO that I was invited to by Howser.

Then began the primary season for the 2008 Presidential Election. The first nominee I had heard of was Ron Paul and I almost began to like him, until he didn’t stop speaking in his grumpy, whiney voice all the time. Then I heard Huckabee answer a question about faith and politics at a debate. I was sold on Huckabee the moment after he finished answering. I then joined his email list and checked his website almost daily to find out more.

Well, grandpa McCain became the nominee and everyone dropped out, except Ron Paul who is off in his own little world where every problem in the US revolves around “the value of the dollar dropping” and I was not going to support McCain for many reasons.

Then I remembered that one youtube video I watched of Obama speaking at the DNC. You know, the one where he blew everyone away. I began learning more about Obama and was convinced that he’s got something special. People say that it’s not all about oratory skills, but it sure helps and oratory skills are definitely going to hurt McCain, since he lacks in that area. I heard someone say that Obama isn’t running a campaign, he’s leading a movement. They said that as if it was a bad thing. I think it’s great that he’s got a targetted message and wants… you guessed it “Change”.

I went to the Des Moines rally where Obama declared that he had a majority of delegates. I also shook his hand which was pretty cool.

A little about McCain
I spent the semester in Advertising research John McCain and how he could better reach out to student/young voters. There aren’t many routes he can take, without changing his message, beliefs on the issues and getting younger. My research showed that he has one of the lowest number of facebook supporters of all the candidates, his own website also receives traffic from primarily 30 yr olds and above. If you compare this to Obama, it’s amazing. Obama has almost 1 million facebook supporters and his own website draws people from every age group at an equal rate. So my project was to create a “Students for McCain” website that wasn’t so depressing as his current site. The results are here. Before McCain recently redesigned his website it was almost all black,gray and dark blue. Not the color scheme I would choose for the oldest candidate running for the highest office in the US. I also tried making the site full of interactivity, which his old design lacked. It is a blog-style site so people can comment and have a community among themselves. There is also a video player of his cooler appearances (most of them have been taken down from youtube since the project ended)

Did anyone see this speech?

He seems so flat and angry in this speech. Not to mention, he can’t seem to read the teleprompter. To me he seems so old-school politics. My favorite is when he says “Now that’s not change we can believe in” a few times he always smiles and chuckles softly aftewards. It’s kind of creepy. I also think it’s funny that he pauses when he wants applause, and there’s an awkward pause when he does so.

What are you thoughts on Obama’s movement that is drawing millions and McCain’s lack of a movement?