Can a typeface truly represent a presidential candidate? Yesterday on the Times’ Campaign Stops blog, Steven Heller invited several designers and critics to comment on John McCain’s use of Optima for campaign collateral.
Is it dated? Classic? Does it convey strength? Or, quirkiness? The replies run the gamut; many of them funny or tongue-in-cheek. Michael Beirut notes the font’s resemblance to the one used to carve the names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and Matthew Carter muses about how the typeface will hold up with the addition of a running mate this summer. But, my favorite judgement comes at the end, from Rudy VanderLans:
What does Optima say about Senator McCain? Nothing. It probably says more about the designer than anything else. Who, except designers, would judge a candidate by the typeface?
Oh, and earlier this month, Heller did a similar discussion with branding expert Brian Collins, on Obama’s Gotham-heavy design scheme.