The Best and Worst Design

Photo-Illustration: Curbed. Photos: courtesy of the campaign

The year of merch – New Yorkers showing civic pride and support for local businesses by purchasing logo t-shirts and tote bags – met the mayor’s campaign. Most, but not all, of the contestants have a hat or poster or button (and sometimes a lot more) that supporters can buy. It’s always anyone’s race. But is there a clear winner in the swag department?

Although the candidates’ branding dates back decades, “I love IkeAnd beyond that, Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign was the defining moment. His recognized strategists that visual tools in commercial advertising and branding could help elevate an Illinois senator to a national leader, highlighting their perceived strengths and addressing their perceived weaknesses, and it worked. From the Obama campaigns, good (and genuine) political graphics have become de rigueur, and a sophisticated visual language has spread at the Congress races and now to local government (sometimes with a direct Obama scam). Today, candidates must meet potential voters in more places than ever before – on social media, TV, radio, podcasts, print and digital media, billboards, the list goes on – while battling the attention economy and people with a deeper understanding of visual communication. In his 2020 presidential run, Pete Buttigieg even released a downloadable design toolkit his supporters could use. That said, the strongest political brand speaks with authority to the audience it is meant to read, as Trump’s MAGA hat has proven. He broke most of the so-called design rules, but he was right about one thing – he was instantly identifiable from any angle, even from a great distance – and it really worked on its basis.

The pool of candidates, which topped 40 at one point, still have few familiar names (with the exception of Andrew Yang, for better or worse). No candidate polled above the low 20s, and one estimate 50% of voters are still undecided. It is precisely this scenario in which branding can help establish and shape – and perhaps redirect – someone’s reputation.

This year, the mayoral candidates took full advantage of our Zizmorcore moment in hopes of winning the votes and the placards of New Yorkers. We took a look at all the official products.

Dianne morales

Photo-Illustration: Curbed. Photos: courtesy of the campaign

In the design office, Morals is a step above. She made the headlines for her custom campaign sneakers – so it’s no surprise that his people pay extra attention to the merchandise for their followers. Her brand image is more evocative than that of the other candidates, with nods to the historical campaigns of black women (the all-caps and high-impact typographical treatment similar to those used by Shirley Chisholm and Kamala Harris) and progressive candidates (the use of yellow and purple, which happens to be her favorite color, instead of the establishment’s red, white and blue palette). His use of a gradient is meant to evoke an energetic aura, like campaign creative director and merch designer Jiar Zeman explained in a recent Medium article, and maybe a rainbow flag. (He also became a background that his followers use on their avatars.) Morales’ “I PREFER EDIBLES” t-shirt uses a quote of his that appeared in the New York City. Time (one of the first and very rare references to his campaign in the newspaper, and one that blew this detail of his worldview to the extreme) and reappropriates it to highlight the need for cannabis justice. The idea for the shirt came from a phone call from the team and was on site the next morning. Then there’s the prayer candle, on which a collage of Morales surrounded by flowers is reminiscent of viral political posters. artist Broobs made. The candle is something for his loyal supporters to burn before the election, and possibly afterwards if things don’t turn out the way they hope.

Maya wiley

Photo-Illustration: Curbed. Photos: courtesy of the campaign

Like Morales, Wiley chose purple for his campaign. (Is this the new shade for progressives who are trying to to distance oneself from the democratic establishment?) Former civil rights lawyer, she introduced herself as “The candidate for the crisisAnd uses her many years of experience in local government to back up her claim that she can get things done. His branding, however, seems more personal than that of a stuffy bureaucrat. For starters, she wears her first name, as have candidates like Hillary, Jeb! And Joe (maybe also since his last name is associated with cunning and cunning, like a certain character from Looney Tunes). Her “Maya for the Mayor” logo, rendered in a scribbled font on a face mask, looks informal and her smiley artwork is accessible. Her use of “BLACK WOMEN LEAD” on bags, stickers and buttons testifies to a political and social moment where intersectionality – a social theory that takes into account the overlaps of race, gender and economic class – is. enter more into mainstream conversations.

Kathryn garcia

Photo-Illustration: Curbed. Photo: courtesy of the campaign

Another veteran of the town hall, Garcia was involved in the management of a few municipal agencies: the Department of Sanitation (where she was commissioner), the Department of Environmental Protection (she was the incident commander after Sandy) and various government entities like the COVID-19 “food czar”. She plays out her environmental commitment by using a distinctive yellow-green that resembles the hue that was used with Green New Deal branding. She also tilts her slogans upward to signal a forward action, as AOC did. Meanwhile, her wordy and charming “CUT THE BUREAUCRATIC NONSENSE” tote will likely speak to people who just want results – which is more or less how she framed her entire campaign.

Andrew Yang

Photo-Illustration: Curbed. Photos: courtesy of the campaign

Yang is a veteran of the start-up scene, so it makes sense that he has the most boring but competent brand. He looks strong on the water bottles, buttons, watch caps, and pins he sells. The campaign says the variety of merchandise “has always been about meeting the moment,” and indeed, it started with free face masks and Zoom backgrounds before moving on to cold-weather clothing, like the knit hat, then a water bottle for the summer. The fact that Yang relies solely on his name (no special fonts, graphics, or symbols here) makes sense since he’s the only candidate people seem to know he’s running. Also note: he seems to have given up MATH hat.

Ray mcguire

Photo-Illustration: Curbed. Photos: courtesy of the campaign

Black and yellow have become a shorthand for the Black Lives Movement, and McGuire, a former Wall Street leader posing as a Democrat, said he the candidate for black voters (and the city’s business elite). Colors do a lot of things, telegraphing BLM values. The RAY FOR MAYOR wordmark (here’s another contender who wants to be known based on their first name) also looks bold on all of their merchandise. But you must be wondering if this color scheme is allegiance or appropriation: McGuire is committed to reform the police but no divestment in them, like the Black Lives Matter movement called, and racism and capitalism are intimately connected, as historians and activists like MLK and Angela Davis have long argued.

Scott stringer

Photo-Illustration: Curbed. Photos: courtesy of the campaign

It tightensra recently lost a number of recommendations after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced. It remains to be seen whether they will sink his campaign. But as of today, he’s still in the race. Stringer wants you to know he’s as New York as they come, and he takes every visual opportunity to let you know. At the top of his multi-part logo – which he has put on T-shirts, buttons, masks, posters, and lawn signs – the MAYOR 2021 arc evokes mid-century Americana; the campaign says it aimed to suggest round union logos. The little “NYC” icon hidden above his last name will remind older New Yorkers of subway tokens. The Skyline t-shirt and mug – clearly the most collectable merchandise of the bunch – is a play on Zabar’s orange logo. And some campaign buttons display the candidate’s thick horn-rimmed glasses as well as the phrase “TEAM STRINGER”. It’s a game transparent enough to make a politician with a somewhat blunt reputation seem a little more friendly. (But don’t the glasses already belong to Bernie Sanders?)

Curtis sliwa

Photo-Illustration: Curbed. Photos: courtesy of the campaign

Seeing as SliwaThe company’s fame is to found the Guardian Angels – the citizen security patrol that has roamed the streets of New York City in distinctive red berets and satin jackets since 1979 – it’s a missed opportunity he didn’t have uses these familiar symbols in its brand. Instead, he opted for a fairly generic red, white, and blue wordmark on a baseball cap (why not a beret?), A hoodie, a t-shirt, a phone wallet (which uses even a phone wallet ?!), and a tote. The slogan on his “POLICE REFUND” T-shirt also feels understated, just another conservative appropriation of a progressive slogan. (In addition, without a hyphen in REFUND, this suggests that he wants to take the cops back to the store where he bought them.)

Stacey Prussman

Photo-Illustration: Curbed. Photos: courtesy of the campaign

Oh my God… bikini bottoms entered the mayor’s merch race. Before his political ambitions took hold, Prussman was a standing actress, and it makes sense that her brand image is satirical, from the Colbert Report–portrait style on his cup of coffee a nod to the graphics of the metro on its slogan “Wake the F up NYC”.

Eric Adams, one of the leading candidates in the polls, has not released any official products. (Maybe logo t-shirts don’t go well with his powerful suits and ties.) Shaun Donovan is another top contender who has skipped derivatives manufacturing. Surprisingly, Paperboy Love Prince – one of the greatest personalities in racing and probably the most progressive – also does not have any merchandise, although they do sell vintage clothing and artwork at their Bushwick Love gallery.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button