Dear Jeb, A few weeks ago I wrote a post evaluating the logos of most of the candidates for president, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Hillary Clinton. All but one of the logos got low votes. I was expecting better from you, Jeb.
Let me explain:
Yesterday Jeb Bush threw his hat in the ring to compete for the Republican nomination and reintroduced the same “Jeb!” logo he used the last time he ran for president and very similar to the marks he used when he ran for governor as well.
The “Jeb!” logo is a no-go for me for four reasons:
A logo needs to illustrate the brand it represents. The best logos are all about the authentic truth of the product/candidate and why it matters to the buyer/voter. I know Jeb. We’re both Miami guys and I see him around town and have spent time chatting with him. Jeb’s a nice guy, a smart guy, and a connected guy. But he is not an “exclamation point” guy. He’s a steady candidate, not an exciting one. The “Jeb!” logo does not represent the real Jeb Bush the voters need to meet. It might be a marketing technique to focus attention on “Jeb!” instead of “Bush,” but the logo does not fit him.
Regardless of your political leaning, voters look for candidates with new ideas. Even very conservative voters, who want things returned to the way they used to be look for candidates with new ideas to get there. By using the same “Jeb!” logo he used the last time he ran (when, let’s not forget, he DID NOT WIN) Jeb telegraphs that you can expect the same old story. Same old “Jeb!” – same old ideas.
Jeb’s biggest problem — amongst Republicans in the primary race and amongst Rs, Ds, and Is if he makes it to the final election — is his connection to his past; his brother, his brother’s advisors, and his brother’s bad decisions and what they cost the country. If Jeb wants to talk about new opportunities, new directions, new solutions, why would he use a symbol that traps him in that past? What the “Jeb!” logo says is that he’s just the same old wine in the same old bottle.
It’s not a very good design. Regardless of what Jeb wants to suggest he brings to the race — intelligence, gravitas, experience, power, forward thinking, or whatever — the “Jeb!” logo does not represent those attirbutes. The typeface is weak, the letter spacing is too open (which makes the mark look even weaker and not solid) and while the color may be red for Republican it is otherwise uninspired. Only the exclamation point says anything (Excitement!!) but as we saw above, that excitement is not consistent with Jeb’s authentic truth.
Of course the obvious argument for reusing the “Jeb!” logo is awareness. “But Bruce, isn’t awareness the key to getting attention, money, and votes? Doesn’t a “Jeb!” logo that’s already recognizable make sense because of the brand equity it possesses and the awareness it brings to the election?”
Those questions are a fool’s challenge. The “Jeb!” logo is old and rehashed yet owns no brand equity. There may be some faded “Jeb!” bumper stickers on old supporters’ cars but beyond that it’s a bankrupt image. And that’s a shame, really, because Jeb is a good guy and deserves better.
But here’s a big idea: Turn Jeb’s “b” around to make a “d” and flip the “!” over to create an “i” and “Jeb!” becomes “Jedi.” Maybe Jeb’s plan is to build his brand on top of the new Star Wars movie that’s coming out soon. As Yoda might say, “The conservatism needs to be strong in this one, yeeeees?”