Would You Vote for The Jeb Bush Campaign Logo?

jeb bush campaign logo

Yesterday, Jeb Bush unveiled his Presidential campaign logo (above) with a tweet. The logo’s exclamation point transforms the Governor’s first name into an enthusiastic slogan: “Jeb!” It harkens back to old campaign traditions and it’s easy to picture the logo on a button pinned to some Southern plutocrat’s corduroy jacket. However, the logo is also jubilant to the point of utter silliness.

In comparison to Hillary’s clever-yet-restrained logo design (below), Jeb’s logo looks amateur, over-excited, and conceptually one-dimensional. The slogan-y exclamation and Baskerville typeface make the design feel outdated rather than old-fashioned. The logo is also notable for excising the Governor’s maligned last name. That’s probably a smart move for a guy with a first name that’s memorable enough to go the Madonna route.

Perhaps Jeb’s primary demographic doesn’t care about clever Internet virality (Hillary’s logo inspired lots of memes and even its own font, Hillvetica), and that’s fine – but this feels like a logo that wasn’t built to compete in a modern campaign. I mean, out of these two choices, which logo would you vote for?

hillary clinton campaign logo


Here’s Why Richard Prince’s Instagram Portraits are Brilliant – and Misunderstood

The artist Richard Prince has created a series of portraits that has totally pissed off and confounded the public (for many artists, this would be victory number one). The series of ‘portraits’ are really just printed versions of other peoples’ Instagram photos. Prince’s pieces are priced at $90k. The Instagram comments sections include comments written by Prince – kind of the artist’s postmodern, digital signature on each piece (see bottom of this post for gallery photo).

The show has created controversy and dialogue surrounding two important subjects: ownership and value of artistic content in the digital era. This dialogue is victory number two for Prince’s series.

As if to underline the misunderstanding of Prince’s intentions, one of the original Instagram photographers is selling her original work for $90, as if that’s a bargain. This is to totally miss the point. First of all, she’s not selling a Richard Prince. Prince is a world-famous fine artist who has a 40-year career of appropriating imagery. And that’s the most important point: Prince’s work performs the classic Warholian Pop Art trick of taking a mundane, everyday image (an otherwise value-less Instagram photo) and using context (including but not limited to authorship, gallery setting, and price tag) to elevate the item to fine art status. Therein lies the value. It’s no different than Warhol’s Campbell’s soup cans. Prince could’ve used anyone’s photos, and to sell the original Instagram photo itself is to remove the context and miss the point.

New Work: Kindle Book Cover Design

I am excited to have designed my first Kindle book cover! The book is Thomas Paine’s Agrarian Justice: With a new Foreword, “Social Security, Thomas Paine, and the Spirit of America,” published by my friends at Social Security Works. This project was really fun and we have printed books on the way as well. Social Security Works Executive Director Alex Lawson said, “Dan, your cover design is fantastic, the hard copies look amazing.” Thanks to the folks at Social Security Works.


The Internet’s Best Newsletter Signup Form

Here’s a reminder that you’re allowed to have fun and extend your brand into all areas of your website design. Even the boring parts. ESPECIALLY the boring parts.

Most websites use a newsletter signup form with the same old trite, inoffensive text: “sign up for the latest updates, unsubscribe at any time.” It’s so tired, you barely even see it – no wonder it’s challenging to get new subscribers. Well, the crazy kids over at apparel company Teenager decided to take the opposite approach with an evil wizard commanding you to subscribe and buy (below). It’s tongue-in-cheek and fun. Well done.

newsletter signup form

Audiences Can Judge Your Logo Within Seconds

They say that we develop first impressions of the people we meet within moments. For example, one study concluded that we judge the trustworthiness of a human face in a tenth of a second or less. Branding is remarkably similar: a quick glance at a logo can yield a wide range of emotions and associations.

I was on a bus driving through Times Square recently when I invented what I call ‘The Logo Rorschach Test.’ Basically, it just means that you look at a batch of logos in quick succession, giving your first impressions of each without over-thinking it (it’s not exactly the same as an actual Rorschach test, but it’s a catchy name).

The following are some logos I saw during that bus ride, along with the first words that popped into my mind when viewing them. I actually think this can be a very efficient way of critiquing brand identity. Of course, my first impressions of these logos are not first impressions – these are familiar brands so my responses partially reflect the logos themselves, but also reflect my feelings about, for instance, how crappy the Times Square Marriott probably is.

What does your logo say to people at first glance?

Ann Taylor Loft Logo

Ann Taylor Loft First Impressions:


Charles Schwab Logo

Charles Schwab First Impressions:

Blue is disarming

 Asics Logo

Asics First Impressions:

Complete and total indifference

Merrill Lynch Logo

Merrill Lynch First Impressions:


Marriott Logo

Marriott First Impressions:


TD Bank Logo

TD Bank First Impressions:

Wasted opportunity
Green = money = duh/so what

H and M Logo

H&M First Impressions:


A Tribute to Tracy Morgan

Thankfully, Tracy Morgan is healing from his 2014 accident. Once he is done healing, he said, “I’ll get back to making you laugh. I promise you.”

Tracy Morgan has made me laugh very hard. The time he made me laugh the hardest was when we watched a movie together in Times Square. I’ve been living in New York City for 17 years now and I’d say it is one of my all-time favorite New York experiences.

My girlfriend and I had just sat down in the 42nd Street Regal to see Sam Raimi’s over-the-top horror/comedy masterpiece Drag Me to Hell. We were chatting in the half-full theater when a couple walked into our row. The man spilled popcorn on me as he clumsily climbed past. “My bad!” he exclaimed. The voice sounded familiar. “I’m spillin’ popcorn up in here! I’m outta control – somebody ’bout to get pregnant up in here!” It was Tracy Morgan, and he entered the theater using his own catchphrase.

Tracy sat down next to us and was talking loudly to his female companion. He apologized to me again about the popcorn, and we made a couple wisecracks about the movie trailers. I knew that he had just filmed the Kevin Smith flop Cop Out, and I asked him how it went. He made a few affable comments about the shoot, which I think was in Canada. Tracy was loud and boisterous, and generally acting like we were all in his living room. A few people in the audience turned around, squealed and waved. His presence was large and he was totally unabashed about it.

Drag Me to Hell was the perfect movie to watch with Tracy. It’s outrageous and hilarious – but also a loud romp that is only enhanced by some uproarious commentary. Tracy made a lot of brief wisecracks and interjections to the characters onscreen, but there was one moment in particular that I’ll never forget. Apparently, Tracy heard a fart in the audience after a particularly scary moment in the film. “Yo, he farted!” Tracy exclaimed. “Somebody got so scared, they farted!” Tracy was dying with laughter. Waves of laughter went through the audience, too.

Get better, Tracy. New York loves you.