Life is not a series of large decisions. In fact, for the most part it’s made up of small day-to-day choices. But this year, on November 8, the majority of Americans will be making a huge decision. The ThoughtMatter team decided to show our support for Hillary Clinton by ordering a full set of the Forty-Five Pin Project her campaign launched after her nomination. They were designed by renowned designers from all over the country and made by union labor in support of Hill. Each pin embodies a different message and illustrates of what each designer sees in the Democratic nominee.
After a long wait, we recently received the assortment and picked out some of our favorites. Truth is, at first I wasn’t that impressed. After having dumped them out of the box and spread them across the conference room table, I rummaged through the pile looking for a pin that popped out at me, but was left with only one in hand. I chose the oddly whimsical and weird pin created by Helen Rice. I wasn’t sure exactly why I gravitated to it. Maybe because I have this weird thing for drawing hands. Make that strange hands! Rice’s Hill pin depicts two six-fingered hands, one holding up a single four-jointed finger and the other hand holding up all six fingers to denote the year 2016.
I sifted through some more pins and pulled a few others that caught my eye. Having some prior knowledge of the designers who created these pins, I’d expected to see a selection that was eye-catching and graphically engaging—something more along the lines of the project Sagmeister & Walsh had created in response to the 45 Pin Project. But then I took a step back and said to myself, “This is politics, and it’s also Hillary Rodham Clinton.” Once, when I was 13, I actually met her face-to-face at my uncle’s house (Real talk, peep the pic.) She was smart, ready, and full of stamina. In short, someone who doesn’t need to put out flashy buttons and anti-Trump pins as part of her campaign. She’s far above that.
Looking back down at the pins I picked out, they accomplish exactly what they were made to do: get the message out. They are simple, deliberate, direct, extremely legible and bold. If I were to blow past somebody wearing one during my lunch hour, I would be able to make out exactly what it said. Most display a predictable patriotic, electoral color palette and, aside from varying widely in style, they all feel cohesively on-brand. If nothing else, they definitely help push the HRC brand forward.
There’re a few playful buttons thrown in the mix. Hyperrakt’s approach was comic relief on a conventional execution, replacing Hillary for a popular meme ‘Pantsuits for President’. Simple and awesome. Pentagram’s Michael Beirut created an extremely clever and inviting ‘Hi!’ pin that repeats and flips the ‘i’ upside down to make an ‘l’ as well as exclamation point, spelling both Hil and Hi! all at once.
The design agency Open mixed it up by re-appropriating the praise emoji as a silhouette for an H; another by Open combines the Obama and Hillary logo for another to spell out “OH yes”. OH YES is right! Paula Scher of Pentagram took a more literal approach, reworking the arrow in Hillary’s logo to highlight topics on the candidate’s agenda. Finally, there are a bunch of more traditional political pins with slogans that embody Hillary’s campaign. Both Silas Munro’s and Bobby Martin’s refer the glass ceiling that HRC shattered at the Democratic National Convention when she became the first female presidential nominee of a major political party. Make it rain Hill!
I admit that at the start I was quick to judge, but I think the creative contributions to the 45 Pin Project are quite successful and a great way to promote Hillary’s campaign. Will I be proudly wearing my Hillary pin around New York from now until the election? Probably not. But I know who I’ll be voting for and that I will be wearing Pantsuits for President come Election Day. Hill Yea!
(please register to vote if you haven’t already)
In the interest of full disclosure, we also bought some homemade anti-Trump buttons from a passionate Hillary-supporting couple. They’re actually kind of amazing. Enough said.