When it comes to elections, it’s issues ¡ª not icons ¡ª that matter most to us, and I’m sure logo design wasn’t even on most local candidates’ to-do lists.

Nevertheless, politics has always been about symbolism (i.e. donkeys and elephants), and graphic designers like myself understand the impact a well-designed icon can have on voters.

With that said, here’s my take on the logos I saw during our recent election. Some of my comments might seem nitpicky, but it’ll give you an idea of how much thought some logo designers put into their work.

Nelson Taruc, an Oak Park resident for more than 10 years, owns a graphic design business. He has no affiliation with any of the political parties mentioned.

It Takes a Village

Yeas: What do you get when you incorporate unity, diversity, and a tree (presumably oak)? This logo!

Nays: It’s hard to take this logo seriously because it tries to do way too much. I’m also not a big fan of citizens being represented by bathroom sign symbols. The logo tries to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, but, ultimately, you have no idea what they stand for. “It Takes A Village” … to what, lie down around a tree?

Subliminal message: If this political stuff doesn’t work out, we’ll probably open a daycare center.

Grade: C-

Residents for Progress

Yeas: This very smart design incorporates the River Forest logo while spelling out the initials of the party. The clear message of “Progress” is underlined just in case you weren’t sure what they stood for.

Nays: I would’ve ditched or lightened the black square; it suggests that the party is stuck in a box and very afraid to venture out of it (look how crazy the little “f” is sticking out like that!). Letting the letters stand alone would give it more impact.

Subliminal message: We don’t like the light, so progress only comes out at night.

Grade: A-

Bracco & Graves

Yeas: The decisive logo winner of this election boasts a distinctive font, bright natural colors and even a little bird reminding you when to vote. The unity of the “b” and “g” symbolizes a strong partnership between the two candidates, while the bird, grass and baseball illustrate their support for nature, parkland and sports ¡ª and more importantly, that they can keep all three in balance. This logo works effectively on so many levels, almost to the point of overkill.

Nays: If my logo was running against this logo, I’d try to kick it off the ballot. It’s that good.

Subliminal message: One-legged birds have a place in all our parks.

Grade: A


Citizens for Responsible Leadership

Yeas: The obligatory oak leaf is present, and “Responsible Leadership” screams at you. Right off the bat, you know what this group stands for. Good color choices too, with the yellow grabbing the eye and drawing it to the blue.

Nays: I don’t get why the horizontal stripes line up the way they do; they seem extraneous. Also, I would’ve pushed the yellow and blue boxes together to reinforce unity instead of division. More troubling is how the word “citizens” gets lost in the logo. Aren’t they more important to the process of “responsible leadership”?

Subliminal message: Thanks to all the people out there who voted for us, but please limit your comments about our logo to three minutes or less.

Grade: B

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