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Caption: An attempt in vain to try something new., Credit: Campaign poster by Larry Rivers.
Image by: Campaign poster by Larry Rivers. 
An attempt in vain to try something new. 

Election Signs

From: Hillary Frank
Length: 04:30

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Graphic designer Michael Bierut answers the question: Why do all election signs look the same?

Mcgovern_poster_small Around election time, you?re likely to see more and more red, white and blue bumper stickers, buttons and lawn signs cropping up all over. Graphic designer Michael Bierut explains why so many of these campaign signs look the same, no matter what side of the fence they?re planted on. First aired as part of Studio 360's ongoing series "Design for the Real World" on 9/25/04.

Piece Description

Around election time, you?re likely to see more and more red, white and blue bumper stickers, buttons and lawn signs cropping up all over. Graphic designer Michael Bierut explains why so many of these campaign signs look the same, no matter what side of the fence they?re planted on. First aired as part of Studio 360's ongoing series "Design for the Real World" on 9/25/04.

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Review of Election Signs

I would like to hear this on the radio because i like that this story explains why election materials all look the same ... While this is not a question that had been burning in my mind, i found that once i listened to the story it was intriguing. My only additional comment, is that a bit of lead-in to the story would be helpful ... e.g., "Ever wonder why all election signs and bumper stickers look similar regardless of the party or the candidate? XYZ, as a graphic designer, offers his views ..." (maybe when played as part of a radio program, this would be included anyway although it's not part of the recorded story).

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Review of Election Signs

With campaign signs popping up all over the place, this piece is for the here and now, the here and now being October 2004. The piece explains the blandness and sameness of signs, no matter which party, and would certainly give a snap, crackle and pop to one of the NPR news magazines.

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Review of Election Signs

Fun piece. Takes an upbeat look at the election through the art of graphic design. The main interview of the designer is puntuated with archival sound and music. My favorite quote from his talk is "people want to be different but not too different." That about sums up the 2004 election. More about packaging than substance. This piece would work well on any news magazine show and even though it ran on Studio 360, I think it has local appeal in this election year.

Broadcast History

First aired on Studio 360 on 9/25/04.

Transcript

Election Signs script

HOST INTRO: We hear all the time these days that voters in this country are more and more polarized. But at least on one thing democrats and republicans agree completely: all bumper stickers, all button and poster should look the same -- no matter whose name is being promoted in the logo. Political parties always seem to flaut the marketing gospel of clear brand identity and today Michael Bierut explains why.

MB: a typical campaign button for a republican candidate usually consists of that person's name as large as possible on a blue field with some red graphic accents that usually take the form of stars & stripes- the name is often white bc that gives you contrast between white & dark blue-

[start US Air Force "Stars & Stripes Forever"]

democratic candidates buttons look almost exactly the same- in fact i'd be hard pressed to come up with differences betwee...
Read the full transcript

Timing and Cues

IN CUE: A typical campaign button...
OUT CUE: ...blue white and red, stars and stripes.

piece - 3:35
+ end music - :54

Musical Works

1. ?Stars and Stripes Forever? performed by the United States Air Force Band

2. excerpts from the film Bob Roberts

3. ?Stars and Stripes Forever? performed by Jelly Roll Morton, from the Library of Congress Pt. 2 on Rounder Records

Additional Files