We Fix Your Brand: 02 Ben Carson

Sep 7, 2015 by

In our last episode we tidied up Marco Rubio’s brand and in all honesty, there really wasn’t a lot to do. Ben Carson is a different matter. The Carson team broke out of the gate with a truly bad branding attempt. So bad it only lasted two short months under heavy criticism before being mothballed.

We just threw some ideas against the wall and left them there...

We just threw some ideas against the wall and left them there…

Gold is a nice change, I suppose, but we’ve been force fed so much red, white and blue by campaigns that it just looks showy. Still, that’s nothing compared to the semaphore eagle cleverly hidden within the A of America. I think he’s signaling an “L” for “Lame.” I didn’t even see the eagle when I first saw this on my phone. I thought it was a pair of Abbie Hoffman’s bell-bottoms! And nobody has yet been able to justify that ribbony apostrophe flailing off the A and creating the epithet that represents the fact-averse, mouth-breathing crowd of yokels that haunt a thinking man’s dreams: ‘Merica! Apparently the backlash against this brand petrified the Carson team so badly that all they could muster as a replacement was this:

Just use Helvetica. And don't get creative with the colors!

Just use Helvetica. And don’t get creative with the colors!

Helvetica! Nothing screams President of the United States like the world’s most inescapeable Swiss typeface! Unless you add in an unbalanced color scheme capable of causing epileptic seizures in people who don’t actually have epilepsy. And what’s with the baby blue? Clearly your design team couldn’t handle balancing two colors; why on earth let them try three? Then there are those teensy little plus signs. We get it: plus signs in your text equals trendy! Except that really only works when they’re the same height as the text and unspaced. This just looks like your team wasn’t certain if they’d look good so they tried to hide them. If that’s your thought process, then take them out entirely!

So, what can be done? Plenty! The slate is basically blank but let’s take a little direction from both of these hideous designs and see if two wrongs can actually make a right! First, the name merging; CarsonAmerica is awkward. But notice that they share two letters in the same order at the extremes. Just swap them around! We put your name in red to make it pop which leaves blue for America. The shared letters stay red for name recognition but use a blue outline to complete America. No more ‘Merica, but an easily distinguished America Carson! Bonus: the colors combined with the text imply that you’re the guy who will unite the blue Dems on the left and the red Reps on the right! The red pinstripe ties it all together and we set the text in Eagle to make up for the loss of the eagle graphic.

You seem like you really wanted a jazzy graphic inserted into your text, so we went with the overused-so-much-it’s-now-expected motif of using a star to compliment a letter. You’ve already dazzled your audience with a word merger, keep the rest simple! Designers hate that star trick, but sometimes you gotta give the people what they want! Bold, clever and most importantly, readable at all sizes!

The best of both worlds

The best of both worlds

We got rid of “For President 2016” because at this point that’s useless information. You’ve got the name recognition and people realize your ambitions. Slim down to the essentials! The last thing we did was strip in an uncluttered and more balanced version of your slogan, also readable at all sizes in Bank Gothic. Straight white text for the full red, white and blue American effect and it balances nicely with the star above.

As always, we invite your campaign manager to contact us!

-M Styborski

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