Visual Language – Week Uno

For this weeks assignment I chose a poster of Barak Obama used for his 2008 presidential campaign. It was designed by the artist Shepard Fairey and became an iconic portrayal of “hope.” The layout of the poster is very straight forward. There is a clear image of Obama looking up and out into the distance with a thoughtful and headstrong look on his face. The word “hope” is clearly written is bold typeface underneath his portrait with a small logo that could be considered a lapel pin above the “e.” The poster is now considered a cultural phenomenon. There is an interesting article about how it became such a success that you can findĀ here.

You can see here that the print is divided into 4 spacial elements. Starting from the top the first three portions of the photo are all the same width apart. At the bottom, where “hope” begins, there is less space used to amplify the emotion that the viewer is supposed to feel when seeing the poster. The emphasis is therefore placed on the portrait of Obama rather than the text, although, the bold font forces the audience to feel hope when seeing the image as a whole.

The color selection plays off of red, white, and blue using an orangish red, a muted pale yellow/beige, and a navy and light muted blue. The lighter colors are meant to portray the light that is hitting his face, as well as the white shirt he’s wearing. The red is used as a darker contrast color while the blues are there to outline his face and suit. It’s interesting that the creator of this image chose blue and red to contrast each other since it implies a centrist party affiliation (blue for democrats, red for republicans).

When trying to find the font used in this poster, couldn’t locate it so I did a simple google search and found another article (here) that identified it as Gotham. This font was created by Tobias Frere-Jones in 2000, first becoming well known as the go-to font for Esquire magazine’s cover. It has since become the official font for Twitter feeds and the most popular choice for movie trailers. Gotham used in this poster is set to a very bold and capitalized typeface that emphasizes the meaning of the word in a simple and effective manner.