Clinton Campaign Adeptly Utilizes Color Theory

Subtle advertising techniques have the ability to influence our subconscious emotions. Think about the extremely deliberate music, imagery, and production styles associated with political ads.

The selection of infographics above employ this with a highly effective use of color psychology. The Clinton campaign has been pumping these out on Twitter where they are viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

The Clinton campaign drapes itself in a friendly shade of blue, a color strongly associated with trust. It’s obvious why they would want to hammer that point home, as a July NYT/CBS poll showed that 67% of voters find her untrustworthy.

The campaign’s anti-Trump ads are so yellow they are almost hard to look at (as this author can attest, having spent 30 minutes photoshopping the above graphic on a widescreen monitor). Yellow exudes warmth when it is done right, as is the case with the McDonald’s logo. Trump Yellow (#fff00) is harsh, and excessive – it reinforces the irrationality and ugly impulsiveness that Clinton is trying to convey about Trump.

The effects of the color psychology are driven home by several other factors in the graphics. The text in pro-Clinton ads is always white, and the text in anti-Trump ads is always black. Many of the anti-Trump ads also have large blocks of text in a condensed caps lock. The pro-Hillary ads have a pleasant amount of negative space, but the anti-Trump ones are crammed full of aesthetically unattractive text and imagery.

The sophistication and quality of Clinton’s ads are the product of years of Democratic Party investments in digital infrastructure and data. The campaign signaled this early, saying in 2015 that the campaign “could ultimately be staffed with more than 1,000 data geeks, techies and digital gurus.” It is the same digital-heavy strategy that Obama employed in his two successful campaigns.


If you enjoyed this article about campaign advertising, check out this article ranking 2016 political swag.

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