Last month, Scott Walker, the current Governor of the state of Wisconsin, was the 17th (and probably last) Republican to announce his candidacy for the 2016 Presidential election. (The Democrats only have 5 candidates). Aside from Hillary’s logo, Walker’s has drawn the most attention for its similarity in concept to that of America’s Best, an eyeglass and contact company with 400 retail locations. The logo and identity was designed in-house, at Scott Walker Inc..
I’ll tackle this first as it’s probably clouding everyone’s judgment of what is possibly one of the best executed campaign logos of the 2016 Presidential election. The argument is clear: both use the American flag as a starting point to create an “E”. It’s a clever concept but it’s not exactly groundbreaking nor does it require a Ph.D. in conceptualizingness to come up with it. This is not a knock on either America’s Best nor Scott Walker Inc. but to point out that it is humanly possible for two people or groups of people to arrive at a similar solution, especially when either the name or the subject is “America”. Look! America’s Best also uses blue type on a white background! I bet they copied that too, right? No. It’s America. It’s obvious.
For the record: I am not a Republican. I did not get paid by Scott Walker, Inc.. And I have no stake in clearing the name of anyone associated with this logo. What I think we need to see here is that someone who knows very well what they are doing did this logo for Scott Walker. Whether they saw America’s Best logo and directly or indirectly copied it is impossible to judge — America’s Best isn’t Target, or Walmart, or Nike, it’s a company with very limited visibility and there are only two retail locations in Wisconsin so I doubt the Scott Walker designers were driving past it every single day. But, hey, let’s say they did, they at least showed how to do it right because everything about America’s Best logo is so poorly done you have to wonder whether they need some contact lenses of their own.
I asked the team at Scott Walker Inc. if they wanted to comment on this issue but they opted not to answer. I don’t blame them, I don’t think they need to defend the logo.
I’m sure haters are going to claim that Scott Walker Inc. did all these graphics after the controversy in order to make it seem like they came up with it. Save it. Concept aside, which is good, the execution of this logo is very good. Of all the underlying grids we see, the dark blue “Construction” image is perfect. The use of the baseline grid should get you all hot and bothered and it shows the lovely relationship between the thickness of the letters and the simplicity of the “E”-flag. Even the choice of Interstate, which is also an obvious one when it comes to things-that-need-to-look-American, has been elevated with the right choice of weight, kerning, and sizing. The logo downsizes to “WALKER16” quite nicely and obviously the social media icon boils down to the “E”-flag. So, believe what you will on plagiarism, but this is a finely tuned logo that makes the other Presidential candidate logos look like chumps.