Conservatives, broadly speaking, are incapable of communicating visually.

Cluttered Gays Against Sharia UK poster (mostly “typeset” in Arial)
  • They use Windows (Rush Limbaugh a prominent exception), an antitypographic platform that leaves you afraid of your own computer, which really is out to get you. (I’ve done paid work – indirectly – for Microsoft Typography. Some of my best friends work at Microsoft. Facts are facts.)

  • When your only means of communicating with the world are top-posted E‑mails in Outlook; Word for Windows; and PowerPoint, you have no actual design vocabulary.

    Since you’re afraid of your machine and because Microsoft Office defaults and templates are so vile (requiring expert competence to override them), you just bang shit out using those defaults and templates. There is a cognitive style of PowerPoint.

  • It is impossible to teach Windows users anything about typography. You can’t even get them to understand what an apostrophe is. It’s been attempted for a full generation and simply cannot be done.

At some level, those complaints apply to all members of the inferior species that is Windows users. Now we get to the repercussions of the conservative mind.

  1. Conservatives are idea people or word people. They don’t think in images. They aren’t visual people.

  2. Conservatives cannot even express themselves in clothing choices. Males and females really do look interchangeable, respectively.

    Here, for example, are members of Identity Europa (perverse official orthography: Identity Evropa).

    Eleven men (all in suits) and one woman (in a blouse), most males wearing triangle pins (point facing down)

    (Subjects here are visually illiterate enough that they do not understand they are effectively wearing pink triangles. They also don’t realize they look like Mattachine Society protesters circa 1955. Right-wingers really do need a photographer who can make them look good.)

  3. Conservatives’ views are unquestionable eternal truths, the foundations of human civilization, the cornerstones of Western democracy hence freedom.

    • Rather akin to the true word of God as articulated in Arabic in the Koran, conservatives’ truths transcend space, time, and language. It doesn’t matter how they’re expressed.

    • As such, banging shit out in Arial (now Calibri) in MS Word is just as effective as real typesetting that’s user-tested. There can’t possibly be a difference. (“I can read it. Why are we having this conversation?”)

      Great slogan… literally banged out in Calibri:

      hate tuition fees? you’re going to love your hyrdo bill

      (Conservatives have learned that bold is possible, but still treat word processing as typewriting.)

    • Eternal truths are inimical to detail and details. Visual design relies on detail and details.

  4. Progressives deny that beauty exists. Conservatives deny that variations matter.

    • They further deny that it is even possible to communicate visually. All they can imagine is communicating with words, which, as expressions of ideas, have no form. Conservatives are great at talk radio, YouTube, and podcasts – speech, not writing.

    • Form, or format, of words cannot matter.

  5. Even the simplest design methods, like laying out a page on a grid, can’t be explained to conservatives who like everything else in their lives boxed neatly inside boundary lines.

Even if you could explain visual communication to conservatives, they’d still be frozen in place. What would be their next steps?

  1. Conservatives do not even realize they need design or designers. They have even less of an idea how to hire designers than is usually true.

  2. Designers are liberal at their rightmost and are usually straight-up progressives. Conservative clients repulse them. It’d be like designing an ad campaign for guns.

    (The exception here is the Mormons, who, while often homophobic, are amazing designers.)

  3. The only political graphic designers, a real category, are far-left: Jonathan Barnbrook; James Victore (more accurately an illustrator); Sheila Levant de Bretteville.

  4. For anything resembling a demonstration or rally, conservatives could not possibly get smart enough to emulate the most effective protest graphics the world has ever known: ACT UP’s.

    The idea of designing absolutely everything the public might see is incomprehensible. You could never get them to that point.

You cannot explain to conservatives that, while some people respond to transcendent ideas and others to persuasive turns of phrase, yet other people respond to what they see.

…except when they can design

I’m collecting examples (obviously pictorial) of how conservatives cannot design.

Except sometimes they can. This one is particularly well done:

Bearded eldery white male face vignetted behind THEY WILL NOT REPLACE US

The case of Donald Trump’s podium flashes

I’m adapting the term “mike flash” (surrounding a broadcast reporter’s microphone, showing station name and logo) for the sign stuck onto a speaker’s podium.

When Donald Trump was running for president, his podium flashes really were banged out in Arial…

  1. TRUMP in Arial
  2. DonaldTrumpforVets.com and TRUMP in Arial
  3. TRUMP in Arial (but serif quotation marks): TRUMP TEXT “TRUMP” to 88022 Las Vegas, Nevada
  4. TRUMP in Arial, some other text in scrunched serif type

…until they weren’t, at which point they were only half-corrected:

Did Giles-Parscale do half the correcting? Not according to principal Brad Parscale, to whom I showed a couple of these images: “Usually Giles-Parscale made nearly everything. However, [even while] trying to protect the branding, it was often destroyed by the advance teams. So no, neither of these items were probably made by my designers, but most likely [by] some 20-year-old with a laptop on location.”

The conservative mind and eye view all these podium flashes as succeeding in communicating and doing that job equally well.

Trump campaign graphics

At my request Brad Parscale sent along a huge set of Trump campaign graphics his firm designed in 2016. Not all were actually published or manufactured – including, sadly, this delicious ensemble:

Cap and lapel button reading Love trump hats.

Updates, December 2017

Update, May 2018

Worst conservative design identifed.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2017.08.06 11:21. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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