Revamped Democratic Logo Aims to Be More Social, Inclusive

But Critics Quick to Bash New Design as Weak

By Published on .

At least no one will confuse it with a Pepsi logo.

The Democratic National Committee's new logo is more akin to a Facebook or Twitter app logo, with nary a red-white-blue flag motif in sight. With its dark-blue-encircled, lighter-blue capital D, it would fit nicely alongside the lowercase F and T now so familiar among social-media users.

And that's part of the plan. With an accompanying website overhaul, the new logo will be applied "everywhere," said DNC National Press Secretary Hari Sevugan, including the DNC's iPhone and iPad "Organizing for America" app.

How deliberate was the social-media look and feel? "The primary goal was to reflect the openness of our party, but certainly we thought the logo could be used in a variety of ways, and we've already been very active in using various social-media tools to get our message out, whether it's Facebook or Twitter or anything else, and the logo lends itself to that as well," Mr. Sevugan said.

The new logo comes with a new slogan, "Change That Matters," as well as the new website, which was revamped to better reflect the principles of the Democratic party. "It's not just a new website, it's what the website does," Mr. Sevugan said. "It's very utilitarian. We wanted to the entire look and feel to reflect who we are as a party, as a community, as Democrats. The logo that had existed was block-letter DNC, red-white-blue color scheme, which was fine, it served us well, but it was really tied around the idea of the national committee, which evokes images of people sitting around a conference table. So this was much more about who we were as a party," he said. "We are a grassroots party. We are a party that fights for everyday people."

The site will become personalized based on a user's IP address, he said, and provide local information, such as registration deadlines and polling-place locations.

Mr. Sevugan declined to say how much the redesign cost or what agency or design firm worked with the DNC to create the new logo. "We haven't been sharing that at this point," he said, adding that "it wasn't done completely in-house. The process was collaborative," and that the redesign "had been in the works for a while."

Not everyone in the advertising and design community is thrilled with this particular change.

"I think it accurately represents the state of the Democratic party right now. Confused," wrote Patrick Hanlon, founder-CEO, Thinktopia, in an e-mail. "It's another reason why the majority of voters prefer to remain independent. It's like a transit stop sign that leads to no where we want to be."

Added Chris Steffan, a designer at Jack Morton Worldwide, in an e-mail, "It looks like a big target , as if things aren't bad enough already!"

"'The change that matters?' What really matters is changing that logo," Tony Cornelious, Jack Morton account director, wrote in an e-mail.

Even comedians and actors took shots at the logo, with both Bill Maher and Jon Hamm mocking the design.

But Brian Collins, founder and chief creative officer of Collins, said critics are missing the bigger picture. The new logo "is only a part of it. The bigger, more provocative change is this: The shift from the clunky and dusty 'Democratic National Committee' to, simply, 'Democrats.'"

Mr. Collins said he had no involvement with the logo, but gave the logo and the idea behind it a thumb's up. " It's direct. It's smart. And it's about time. All together, the idea is not bad. Not bad at all."

As to arguments that the new logo, arguably an O-encircled D, is too similar to President Obama's logo, Mr. Sevugan said, "The primary motivation was to have it reflect the openness of who we are as a party, of the grassroots nature of the party. That was our motivation."

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