28 March 2012

Leaving Gotham

This is an ad for Obama. It could easily
be an ad for Domino's pizza. As a party
game, count the number of fonts: I see
five, which is the same number of
angels who wept when they saw this jpg.
Among the many disappointments of the Obama administration is its abandoning of its once-favorite typeface, Gotham.

The Obama 2008 campaign's masterful handling of typefaces in branding the then-Illinois senator's campaign. Gotham is a magnificent font, summoning the best of the industrial-era firmness and streamlining of Art Deco with a mature and inspiring mixture of informality and strength.

It was perfect.

Therefore, Obama abandoned it.

At left is a Web advertisement from the New York Times. It is a travesty as shameful as the solicitor general's performance in oral arguments yesterday. It is needlessly filigreed, polluted by multiple typefaces, and inconsistent in its color schemes. Even the familiar Obama "O"--once the central point of the brand's visual identity--has been reduced almost to illegibility.

The White House Web site is, if anything, even worse.

If you use six typefaces on your home page, the terrorists have won.

Gotham makes a cameo in the bottom right, but the remainder of the Web site uses a mix of Georgia, Arial (goddamn ARIAL!), and some custom font I don't recognize. (In some circumstances, the designers were unclear whether they wanted serif or sans serif; the css sheets reveal that the order for certain elements is Georgia, then Arial or Helvetica, and then Verdana. Why not just use Comic Sans, Barack?)

The most glaring flaw, of course, is that terrible, Fox News-style red white and blue banner for "West Wing Week." It's bad enough that the Obama Elegant font for "West Wing Week" at top left places a weird visual emphasis, such that it reads as WEST WING WEEK, but the boring, Microsoft Word-looking sans serif banality of the banner is a betrayal of Jesus, NASCAR, and the Statue of Liberty.

1 comment:

  1. Now we know why he's going to loose.