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Panned When It First Came Out, The Clinton Logo Is Saying Something Now

Like the Empire State Building in New York, Clinton's logo is changing appearance to say something about the topics of the day or to tailor to key constituencies.

Hillary Clinton's new logo has been much maligned. A simple, rightward-pointing "H" with a red arrow through it that looks like it could have been made in "Paint."

Red, the color of the other team. How could she? some Democrats wondered. It seemed so amateurish, some design experts lamented.

"I think the Hillary logo is really saying nothing," Scott Thomas told Politico. Thomas was design director for Obama's 2008 campaign and worked on the White House website's redesign.

Clinton's simple logo, though, is certainly saying something now. On Tuesday, the day of the Supreme Court oral arguments on gay marriage, her logo on both Facebook and Twitter were changed to a rainbow-colored "H."

And it's not the only example of how the campaign has tried to adapt the logo. For Iowa, the background is an open field with corn in the foreground. For New Hampshire, mountains.

It's kind of becoming the Empire State Building of presidential campaign logos — changing colors to celebrate any variety of milestones and holidays, from pink for breast cancer awareness to red, white and blue for Memorial Day to "pastel fades" for Easter. (The Empire State Building has a whole calendar of scheduled colors.)

Among perhaps the smartest analyses of the logo was from Sol Sender, who designed Obama's 2008 logo. He told the Huffington Post that the point of campaign logo design is to first address one of the candidates biggest weaknesses. For Obama, because of his unusual name, the campaign knew it had to play up patriotism. For Clinton, it's the criticism that she represents the past.

"If you boil it down it's really a symbol of forward motion," Sender said of Clinton's logo. "On the Obama work we were really conscious from the start about where he was vulnerable — we knew Obama critics said things like 'he's not American.' So we thought going strong with a patriotic theme was quite important. Hence the red, white and blue colors in the Obama logo. In terms of vulnerabilities, Hillary always seems to get dragged into the past by her critics. Therefore, you might argue that a symbol like this which is so aggressively pushing forward could help counter-balance any negative energy that is directed at her past."

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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