On July 15, 2016, Donald Trump announced U.S. Governor Mike Pence as his running mate. This is their campaign logo for the general election for President and Vice President of the Unite States.
Images (opinion after)
On Friday, Trump announced his choice for Vice President and the first sight of the new logo came through to their email list subscribers. Blurry, jagged, and small, the logo quickly caught the internet's attention because it's impossible to not interpret the interlocking "T" and "P" as the former penetrating the latter. Whether that looks like fornicating is next-level interpretation and, well, the internet easily went there. It's difficult not to because the composition, structure, and metaphorical connections of Donald Trump as an Alpha Male (in his head) who has to precede over everything and everyone, provide every bit of ammunition for the conversation to plummet to giggles of the "T" penetrating the "P". The animation (shown after the text) by the team at Full Frontal with Samantha Bee materializes our thoughts in the most basic manner.
But does the logo deserve such misinterpretation? Maybe, I dare say, not. On Friday I posted on Twitter about the possibility of looking at the logo as a piece of design — separate from the man, or men, that the logo represents — and that it's actually not 100% terrible (maybe just 90%). With a better interpretation of the "TP" monogram, the concept of taking the American flag to construct a logo where the initials take the place of the stars (while not new) is fitting in this case and, if you were (or happen to be) someone to vote for Trump, this is a fairly rallying logo. I took an hour of my day to clean up the logo — because just like I align my place setting at a restaurant if something is misaligned I need to visually align misaligned logos — to show that, yeah, this could have worked with a little more finesse. To be clear, I'm not defending the logo with any kind of invested passion, I just wanted to do an exercise in objectivity and basic grid-abiding. Also, the main problem with the logo isn't the misinterpretation of the letters but there is an aggressiveness to it, like a hammer on an anvil that, although appropriate to the subject, comes across as an unpleasant thing to look at. Not that it matters because less than 24 hours after its release the monogram and flag design was pulled from the brief online appearance it had made.
This can be read two ways: 1) The internet mob has forced the Trump-Pence camp to retire the logo and in turn made us all the villains for seeing a "T" fucking a "P" or, my preferred take, 2) Trump-Pence's camp and the designer or design team behind the logo had no confidence in what they did or how they did it to allow the logo a chance to prove if it had staying power. (As a counter-example of this, see Airbnb, where the confidence of client and designer prevailed and now the logo is one of the most well-known icons of the 2010s.)
Anyway, thanks for the LOLs, Trump and Pence and, please oh please, America… don't let this be our future.