A Gordon Smith graphic design mystery

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

OK, I'm honestly baffled -- and I'd love some help figuring this out from the BlueOregon audience.

By now, you've probably seen Gordon Smith's newest logo. Set aside the laughable tagline, and notice the font:

Smithfont

Look familiar? It should. It's exactly the same font that the University of Oregon athletic program uses:

Ducksfont

And lest you think it's an accident.... his latest TV ad is Duck yellow and green:

Smithgreenandyellow

I don't get it.

Is he deliberately trying to piss off fans of the OSU Beavers? Or does he think he's got them locked up - and it's the UO Ducks that need work?

Or is he so clueless that rabid Duck fans on his staff got carried away, and he didn't notice? (I don't think so. There are no accidents or coincidences when millions in TV advertising are being spent.)

I just don't get it. Y'all have any ideas?


Oh, and lest this be an entirely policy-free post... Let me remind everyone: Smith voted seven times against the very Pell Grants that allow low-income Oregonians to attend college, and voted twice to kill a tuition tax break for 53,000 Oregon students and their families. Details at StopGordonSmith.com.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    And full disclosure: My firm built the websites for Jeff Merkley and Stop Gordon Smith. I speak only for myself.

    (Oh, and as a USC Trojan, I'm mostly agnostic on the whole Beavers/Ducks thing - but I do have a soft spot in my heart for the PSU Vikings and Lewis & Clark College Pioneers.)

  • (Show?)

    Kari:

    I was wondering the same thing (I have to admit, I'm addicted to fonts, so I wasn't sure if anyone else noticed).

  • (Show?)

    Kari,

    You are such a nerd.....LOL Thanks for the laugh.

    P.S. You now have post something as nerdly about Jeff Merkley...you know because of equal time....LOL

  • (Show?)

    Gordon Smith isn't fooling anyone - everybody knows the O stands for Obama. :)

  • wow (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Shocking development. You should be aware of other offenders as well:

    Jeff Merkley and SEIU use the same exact font

    The outrage!

    Also, I like the Smith logo better than the Oregon Ducks version. Maybe they should hire Smith's designers!

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Slow news day?

    I noticed it too. However, the font may be one of the few items the Citizen's Republic of Duckville uses that hasn't been copywrited for their own exclusive use. Either that or Phil Knight isn't telling us everything...

    Just think if GS used a classic Star Trek font...

  • TheSuperviser (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Gordon Smith Anagram: Morn This Dog

  • (Show?)

    As a long-time typesetter and designer, I'd hesitate to read too much into the selection of a font. I'd first want to know who Gordo's ad agency was; any chance it's the same people doing design work for the U of O? Could just be a lack of imagination -- or maybe they just like the font.

    Of course, if his next series of ads comes out in orange and black . . .

  • Garrett (unverified)
    (Show?)

    With the exception of USC I think the Pac-10 is soft. Go Longhorns. :) It doesn't surprise me Gordo ripped off a font. I'll bet you George Bush told him to do it. He's shown a penchant for doing anything W. tells him to do over the years. I'll bet the next N.I.E. comes out in Duck font.

  • Hobgoblinoflittleminds (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Is anyone else struck over the head with a two-by-four of irony at Kari making a big deal of someone else's potential theft of intellectual property?

  • (Show?)

    I say Kari you ought to fight back and use the Star Trek The Next Generation font on Jeff's sight. That'll one up them. Make it so Kari!

  • (Show?)

    sorry, "site" trying to do too many things at once.

  • James (unverified)
    (Show?)

    As a passionate alumnus of OSU...I am not alienated, just amused. It's kind of pathetic if you ask me.

    Go Beavs:)!

  • (Show?)

    Gordon Smith anagram, using his middle name (Harold):

    Hold Hog Riots, Ram!

  • Fenbi (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I don't know - but the repulicans are a bunch of German (Deutsch) bags for rejecting the climate change legislation.

  • (Show?)

    As the proud owner of a stylish Oregon Ducks track jacket, I noticed the Smith thing right away. I thought it was BRILLIANT and it pissed me off at the same time. I'm going to have to go back to the New Mexico Lobo gear.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Another anagram:

    Rath on his 'R' God mold.

  • (Show?)

    As a serious answer, I suspect the GOP is trying to alter its branding, without actually altering any of its policies, by "Going Green".

    Not being environmentally conscious. I mean literally - using the color green as a backdrop.

    Mind you, Smith has chosen a slightly less nauseating color than McCain has. He's also gone one step further, by associating himself with education (without actually being in favor of education) by adopting and mimicking fonts associated with educational institutions. But the strategy is identical: try to build subconscious associations with things people are in favor of, as a way to pretend you're in favor of them too - when you're not.

    Frankly, I don't think it's going to work.

  • (Show?)

    perhaps Gordon will just claim it's a parody...

  • Garrett (unverified)
    (Show?)

    As I was thinking...maybe he should have picked a font from a school that had won a national championship in a major sport since 1939. When I think of U of O I think of disappointing season and unfulfilled expectations. It's sort of the same way I view Gordo's congressional record.

  • (Show?)

    With the exception of USC I think the Pac-10 is soft.

    Yeah, that's why, even without some of our star offensive players, we were still on a ridiculous pace to the BCS Title, at least until Dixon got hurt. Pac-10 is waaaay soft.

  • mkd (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I second Steven,

    I think this has less to do with a U of O copycat than Republicans in general running away from their team colors. No one wants to be on the Red Team this year because everyone knows the Red Team is going to get crushed by the Blue Team. But a Green Team? Who's ever heard of a Green Team?

    McCain and Smith are greenwashing the hell out of themselves in an attempt to stay afloat in an incredibly hostile environment. I really doubt we will see a single Smith ad or sign this election that associates him with the color red. Right now in the public's mind Red = Bad.

    (I should also mention that the cynical irony of the Republicans choosing to go green is diabolical rebranding of the highest order)

  • Beaver Believer (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Wow....don't you guys have better things to do than criticize campaign logos? Oh, I forgot you would all melt in the light of the sun if you actually left your dark computer rooms and actually attempted to contribute useful labor to a campaign. Get off your 300 pound behinds (and Kari I know that you are at least 300 pounds because I've seen you on TV and you didn't fit in the screen) and actually contribute to society.

  • mamabigdog (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Steve Maurer and MKD are correct- this is a GOP re-branding, designed to associate Republicans with the positive press of going green. This, despite the fact that the GOP couldn't be any less green than than are, very few people actually look good standing in front of these shades of green (pasty white, anyone?), and the green is really more of a subconscious symbol of what's REALLY important to GOPers- MONEY. It's all about the money for them, folks. This is just their way of showing it.

  • mamabigdog (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Steve Maurer and MKD are correct- this is a GOP re-branding, designed to associate Republicans with the positive press of going green. This, despite the fact that the GOP couldn't be any less green than than are, very few people actually look good standing in front of these shades of green (pasty white, anyone?), and the green is really more of a subconscious symbol of what's REALLY important to GOPers- MONEY. It's all about the money for them, folks. This is just their way of showing it.

  • (Show?)

    Pandering, pandering, pandering.

    Green = environment

    Common ground = bipartisan

    Common good = public services

    Denim shirt = everyday guy

    In other words, he's trying to be everything he's not. Looks like running scared to me.

  • (Show?)

    Garrett:

    Longhorns? No way. I have to admit that I've been an Aggies fan ever since I was young. Now there is a rivalry that even the Ducks/Beavers can't touch. ; )

  • Garrett (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Yeah, that's why, even without some of our star offensive players, we were still on a ridiculous pace to the BCS Title, at least until Dixon got hurt. Pac-10 is waaaay soft.

    Does it get ever tiring saying that so many times? Which year was it Oregon won the national championship? Oh wait...

  • mkd (unverified)
    (Show?)

    There are no off days in Pac 10 football. No East Central Arkansas Tech's out there to help pad your stats and keep the goose egg going in the loss column for another week.

    Oh and Beaver Believer, I'm having trouble wrapping my head around the meta-pointlessness of your post. Is that meant to be satire or something?

  • Joba (unverified)
    (Show?)

    That's just like Conservative whacko's Jeff Duyck's ripoff of Obama!

    http://www.voteduyck.com/

  • Stacy6 (unverified)
    (Show?)

    It's a nice typeface but perhaps not the best choice for this particular politician. The font is edgy, modern, probably going to look dated sooner rather than later, and on Gordon Smith's campaign it makes him look like mutton dressed up as lamb. On him, it looks fake, so I guess it's appropriate.

  • anonymous (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Why is this so hard to believe and baffling to you, Kari? There's the Duck font, the green Oregon shape, and all that subliminal stuff that ad agency types feel oh so clever about selling to a client. What it really means is that Smith is feeling on the defensive more than he ever has before.

    (Oh, and as a Duck who went to a party on the USC campus back in '85 and met the most beautiful Trojan girl for an evening, I have a soft spot for USC. Strange campus in those days... Cops circled USC, because once you crossed the streets away from campus, especially eastward, it was LA in the grand days of crack cocaine and gang warfare. It made concerts like Pink Floyd's 7 night stand at LA Sports Arena that much more surreal.)

  • Ted (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Maybe he's trying to associate himself with disgraced Oregon running back (and NFL flunkee) Ontario Smith.

  • James X. (unverified)
    (Show?)

    It's a custom font (Bellotti Bold, in fact), designed by Nike for which UO owns the trademark. The Smith campaign denies it's the same font. Apparently The Oregonian is looking into it.

  • James X. (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Sratch the Bellotti Bold, I believe that's actually the tapered font for jersey numbers.

  • James X. (unverified)
    (Show?)

    The link above presents another good question: "How did the campaign get this font, considering it’s held tighter by the UO than Joan Collins’ face?" It would be ironic if he got it from Republican former politician and current UO president Dave Frohnmayer, brother of fellow Merkley opponent John Frohnmayer. I doubt that, though. Still, the campaign would have had to have taken considerable trouble to procure that font. Google shows a record of several people unsuccessfully trying to ID and acquire it over the years.

  • Jiang (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Well spotted! I've found 90% of the time that if the question is about something that a software engineer produced, the answer is usually is meaningless, involving some kind of fraud.

    I think an ad. developer just ripped off the Duck font/colors because they liked them, and it never occured to the mindless twit that there were psychological implications!

  • Jiang (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Well spotted! I've found 90% of the time that if the question is about something that a software engineer produced, the answer is usually is meaningless, involving some kind of fraud.

    I think an ad. developer just ripped off the Duck font/colors because they liked them, and it never occured to the mindless twit that there were psychological implications!

  • JHL (unverified)
    (Show?)

    While I'm certain this is just an innocent example of an out-of-state ad firm thinking: "Hmm... let's get us a font that looks cutting edge yet Oregonian,"

    ... it cannot be denied that the University of Oregon makes a pretty penny off of licensing items and merchandise that evoke the U of O image.

    So the real question here is... Why did Gordon Smith's campaign feel that it was okay to steal from the students of the University of Oregon?

    (Seriously, it's a non-issue, but Merkley's team ought to be able to squeeze some mileage out of it and knock Gordo a bit off kilter.)

  • James X. (unverified)
    (Show?)

    But how did Smith even manage to acquire the font in the first place, Jiang and JHL? It was a custom font, you can't just buy it. And as a knockoff it's a bit too perfect. I've seen plenty of fonts that attempt to knockoff famous logos, and they're never this good.

  • JHL (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Hmm... Interestingly enough, there was this blog post over on a font-related board back in December...

    http://typophile.com/node/40408

    Some guy named "McIntire" from Oregon is asking the other users to please help identify the University of Oregon font. Does anyone know when Smith first started using this font?

    There was also a guy looking for the font in late 2007 on Yahoo Answers. Shortly after, a young man named "Brandon" found the font he was looking for on a website called AbstractFonts.com. Here's the thread.

    In fact, it seems Brandon gets what he was looking for... though it should be noted that the 'G' at AbstractFonts.com and the 'G' in Smith's ad are not from the same font (though similar).

    So James, to answer your question, there are plenty of font-nerds out there on blogs aside from Kari (and, apparently, me) who were helpful enough. :)

    Anyway, for those so inclined, here are the logo (both regular and athletic) standards for the University of Oregon. (Big PDF file)

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I doubt the choice was mindless or accidental. I assume Smith works with well-paid professional communications people who are well aware of such things. It's interesting that all the letters of "GORDOn" are in "OREGOn", so the association with the UO logo is even stronger than it would be otherwise.

    Perhaps Merkley should refer to Smith as a "dead duck" and a politician who "ducks and covers" who needs to get his "ducks in a row." Or how about an ad beginning, "Gordon Smith wants voters to believe everything is ducky with his record in Congress...".

    I'll see all you folks at the next meeting of Typophiles Anonymous; or possibly at the Typophilic Church, gathered around the baptismal font.

  • (Show?)

    Smith was a BYU graduate of 1962. I guess the dark blue, white, and tan of the cougars didn't seem Oregonian enough.

    I'm also befuttled as to the use of the "OR" for the Gordon Smith ads/logo.

    It's the "GO" in Gordon that needs to be focused more.

  • Linda Martin (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I do my own graphics design on occasion. I'm not defending Smith, but I'm also not so sure that this use of font was an intentional plagiarism of the Duck's font. I would have to run it through my design package to know what the font is, but I recognize it as a common one. The green color scheme is no doubt intentional, but I wouldn't read too much into the choice of font. Sorry for being so literal in a whimsical discussion...

  • TR (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I think Kari stole his Mandate Media logo from another source:

    http://mandatemedia.typepad.com/mmlogo.150.border.gif

    http://web.syr.edu/~mecastel/mlb-logo.gif

    classy.

  • Miracle studios -- web design company (unverified)
    (Show?)

    hAVE YOU SEEN THE LOGO OF oBAMA ......

    iT'S GREAT ......

    http://www.barackobama.com/index.php

  • Rajita - Logo design (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I think it looks cool.

connect with blueoregon