I love it, but it scares me.

Posted in at 15:29 by RjZ

Obama – Hope Poster

Originally uploaded by spaceninja.

Have you seen one of these posters already? There’s a big one of these hanging in the window of Mt. Sun Brewery, but that’s not the first place I saw one. A great looking poster and it’s hard to deny the simple and effective message.

I guess, since it was produced by the same folks how make those OBEY Giant images (an equally effective image), that I shouldn’t be so surprised that it looks like, well, propaganda. I think many of those parodying the poster agree.

Much of the graphic design around Obama’s campaign has been so far beyond political campaigns. From the flag-O (showing a ‘new’ horizon) to their frequent use of simple tag lines such as ‘change’ and ‘hope’ all in beautifully simple Gill Sans font. It’s a pleasure to see such consistent, and attractive design. I wish it didn’t freak me out.

What’s bugging me is these things remind me of Soviet propaganda posters and cults of personality that often go along with it. The Obama campaign can’t be blamed for good graphic design and the folks at OBEY Giant can’t be blamed for their artistic inspiration, but I just hope people don’t start celebrating the our new leader as if he were anything more than the executive of our great system, whose successes and failures are as much due to him as to all the members of congress, the courts and even the citizens.

It’s bad enough that religious extremists in the United States might really believe that God intervened to keep George Bush in office. (No, really, follow the link.) Even McCain, in one of his early negative ads, tried to attack Obama’s fame. After seeing this poster, I can sympathize a bit more. It better not be time to replace one demagogue with another. Like I said, I love the poster, but, um, it scares me.


  1. Dave said,

    October 31, 2008 at 10:44

    Yes. Syl and I have had the same sort of thoughts lately. Not necessarily about the propaganda, but of Barack himself. His charisma is so powerful it’s frightening. We hope that he wins, but with that win comes a power beyond imagination.

    Speculation is that the first thing he’ll do in office is check to see if Extraterrestrials are real. What do you think?

  2. Traveling Hypothesis » Campaign branding said,

    November 21, 2008 at 15:05

    [...] I mentioned in my earlier post the graphic design and branding for the Obama campaign were impressive. The New York Times [...]

  3. Mark said,

    January 10, 2009 at 1:18

    I going to break into your house and tack one on your ceiling above your bed. Maybe I’ll put the extra special effort in and rig it up so he’ll drool on you at night while whispering “chhhhaaaaaannnggggge”.

    I’m reading The Audacity Of Hope by the O Bomb and it’s really thoughtful and forthcoming. He acknowledges his own weakness and potential blind spots that can develop as you climb the political ladder, there is a self awareness there that is refreshing. When the bIg Wank won for the first and second time I thought “I can’t believe this guy is our president.” When Obama won I thought the same thing but in the opposite way. I guess I don’t see him as particularly charismatic so much as he’s just plain ol’ honest and sincere.

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