We the Designers: Reframing Political Issues in the Obama Era


March 5–April 5, 2013

On view at the AIGA National Design Center in New York City

Politicians, journalists and pundits use language. Graphic designers use visual language. Drawing on two realms, designers unite visual and verbal content in compelling communication.

In a divisive era when words alone are not enough, can design thinking help unite citizens on the issues?

The 2008 campaign to elect President Barack Obama highlighted the role of graphic design in national politics. While previous campaigns used posters and collateral to great effect—the “I Like Ike” posters and buttons for General Dwight D. Eisenhower spring to mind—Obama’s was arguably the first presidential campaign to employ a sophisticated professional strategy to create a candidate’s visual identity. The Obama logo and typographic framework, developed by Sol Sender and Scott Thomas, represented a degree of sophistication associated more with corporate and institutional branding. It was unprecedented for political office. Just as influential, an unofficial poster by Shepard Fairey—despite copyright infringement prosecution for unauthorized use of an Associated Press photograph—fused the idealized image of the candidate with what was then a simple campaign slogan. Through design, Obama and the concept of “hope” became one and the same.

“We the Designers” is a national exhibition of self-authored graphic design. Through the process of design thinking participants wield opinion and analysis to inform and persuade about the unique issues facing the Obama administration.

See the exhibition

The exhibition is on view from March 5 through April 5, 2013 at the AIGA National Design Center in New York City. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Gallery hours and location
Monday through Thursday: 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Friday: 11:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m.

AIGA National Design Center Gallery [map]
164 Fifth Avenue (between 21st and 22nd Streets) 
New York, NY 10010
212 807 1990

Featuring the work of:
Christopher Brand
Alicia Cheng
David Comberg
Matt Dorfman
Allan Espiritu
Sarah Gephart
Milton Glaser
Timothy Goodman
Lucinda Hitchcock
Pamela Hovland
Mirko Ilic
Daniel Jasper
Garland Kirkpatrick
Dylan Lathrop
Chaz Maviyane-Davies
Steven McCarthy
Post Typography
Andrew Sloat
Thomas Starr
Topos Graphics
Winterhouse Institute
Brett Yasko
Edvin Yegir

Special thanks

This exhibition is supported by Northeastern University, Department of Art + Design. 


This program is supported, in part, by public funds from theNew York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.