Can Design Win an Election?

The Fast Company recently published a dialogue between Jennifer Kinon and Scott Starrett, former members from the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The two discussed the significance of campaign design in public support for candidates and the role of design in public consciousness.

Both designers acknowledged the importance of context when devising design plans for a candidate. They must consider the candidates public, political personality and support base in considering both visual and literal rhetoric of the campaign. Starrett calls this “political design” and notes that the idea is relatively new. He says “The skill set an architect and industrial designer bring to the table might not be directly applicable to a campaign design team, but someone advocating on behalf of a humanistic approach to complex information might be the perfect next step in design’s involvement in politics and civic engagement. Sometimes politicians are open to deep branding exercises, but many campaigns are still applying design principles as an afterthought to their communications systems, not an integral component to the organization’s fundamental strategy.”

He notes the importance of integrating design and considering communication early on in the campaign as opposed to an ‘afterthought.’ That way, the campaign’s design identity can evolve as organically and at the same rate as its support, and hopefully more authentically represent a candidate.

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