Responses by SimpleScott
Background: Civic organization RUN’s new campaign #TheNew was intended to excite the Asian American and Pacific Islander, or AAPI, community in an effort to have the fastest growing voter block show up to the polls to cast their ballots this election.
Reasoning: We initially explored the concept of “the face of the new American voter,” intending to illustrate a new perspective and playing with the ideas of multiculturalism over assimilation. Normally, many political brands focus on American imagery, symbolism and ideals, which only furthers the concept that people should leave their heritage, customs and traditions behind, assimilating to “American” values and traditions. We wanted to avoid this, and instead, celebrate the traditions and symbolism of Asian culture in America. Multiculturalism would suggest cultures can mix, while remaining distinct in some aspect.
Challenges: There are many traps one can fall into when trying to design a brand for political purposes, like only focusing on the generalizations and stereotypical tropes that define a group of people. But with the AAPI community, this is much more challenging because it represents a far-reaching group of cultures that are all very different and distinct in their own rights. The design process of looking at the various alphabets, writing styles and characters led to the decision for the mark to go either horizontal or vertical. Looking at the different colors of each culture’s flag led to a primary palette that we then muted on end and made florescent on the other. This allows a great amount of flexibility and diversity in the way we presented the brand.
Visual influences: We developed the logo mark by starting with the stripes of the American flag. Stripes in general represent our collective cultures. For example, the stripes of the Thai flag represent the nation, religion and the king, and in India, the stripes now represent courage and sacrifice, peace and truth, and faith and chivalry. The stripes in the US flag represent the thirteen original colonies that seeded this nation, which was established to gain control over the land from the Indigenous People of America, a group which shouldn’t be forgotten.
244 years later, the stripes still represent the act of colonization, not of a single culture but rather, the multitude of cultures that have been brought to these lands. Each wave of immigrants colonizes in their own way, demanding that they be represented in this democracy. Demanding that this place is not just the United States of an old America, but instead, a United States of a New America. Using just the stripes, we shaped them until the mark no longer appeared as stripes and instead took on the shape of an Asian character, abstract in form but deliberately forcing the viewer to look at it from a different perspective to reveal the word NEW.
Anything new: For my entire life, I have used the term “Melting Pot” or have said that “America is a Melting Pot.” But I will never define it this way again. America shouldn’t be a melting pot. We should never hope for a monoculture. Rather, we should work to respect and carry each culture’s traditions and customs along with our own because doing so will allow us to coexist and cocreate a better world together.