New Book Recalls the Image-Making of Obama's Campaign
By Garance Franke-Ruta
After the passionate criticisms of late summer, the fervor for Barack Obama that resulted in an icon-creating artistic outpouring on his behalf in 2008 can seem like a distant political memory. Now the former design director for new media for Obama's campaign is looking to bring some those memories back into circulation by publishing a book that collects the posters, graphics and art of the campaign to elect Obama.
"Designing Obama: The Book" is the brainchild of Scott Thomas, today an independent design consultant with no connection to the White House. (When I spoke with him Friday morning, he was on his way to give a presentation to a New York Times Web team.) But in 2008, he ran the design department for the Obama for America campaign, where he was responsible for the look of the Web site, the creation of those blue "Change You Can Believe In" posters and the overall consistent look of the Obama brand.
The project started then, though informally, as Thomas began collecting images, and after he organized a poster campaign where outside artists contributed art in support of Obama's bid for office. "The response we got was really terrific," he says. "It was a fun thing to do -- artists have typically been against politicians."
More than 100 artists have signed on to have their work featured in the 360-page volume, which Thomas will be self-publishing after raising money through KickStarter.com, a small-dollar fundraising site for creative projects. He needs $65,000, he says -- the minimum for a print run for such a glossy, full-color book -- and is hoping to raise it in $50-$150 increments using this "Obama-like fundraising model."
Publishers were interested in the volume, but he didn't want to follow their visions, he says, and he decided to self-publish as a way of maintaining his original concept for the book.
Donors also become pre-orderers of the book. Since launching the project on Wednesday, "we're already over 10 percent of the way" to the fundraising goal, Thomas says.
Posted at 1:31 PM ET on Sep 18, 2009
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