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Thursday, July 24, 2008


The above left graphic is Barack Obama’s campaign poster which publicizes (in German) the major address he will make tomorrow in Berlin.

Predictably, once the flyers came out looking “different” from what we’re used to seeing, the Republicans started to throw around their new favorite attack word for Obama: “arrogant.”

They love using it — these days Obama can’t brush his teeth in the morning without the Republicans telling us how the flavor of toothpaste he uses somehow reveals how “breathtakingly arrogant” he is.

“Arrogant,” after all, is the new “uppity.”

But here’s what the Republicans and even some moderate voices are missing: this campaign poster isn’t evidence of a “messiah” complex; it pays homage to a pivotal era in graphic design history: the German Bauhaus movement during the early 20th century (see above right for example).

As I’ve noted elsewhere, Obama’s design team is very, very good; and they would know the history of German graphic design. Obama’s Berlin poster contains the same bold, diagonal lines and sanserif type which typifies 1920s -era German “industrial design.” Another example here.

So before the pundits and professional GOP douchebags try to point to Obama’s German flyer as evidence of arrogance, they should take a minute to stop and think whether or not his design team sat down before creating yet another elegant image and said: “When in Rome Germany, do as the Germans do.”

Many Germans will recognize this little tip-of-the-hat to German graphic design history, and those that recognize it will appreciate it. This type of move wouldn’t even occur to the McCain campaign, despite the fact that McCain was born around the time German Bauhaus was all the rage.

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