Communication scholar at USC Annenberg


Typography Mattered in the 2016 Election? Well, I Think So...

Good news! My newest article, "Citizen Typography and Political Brands in the 2016 US Presidential Election Campaign" is officially forthcoming in the journal Marketing Theory and has been made available online ahead of print. It's a shorter piece than your usual research article, but I took the open format of Marketing Theory's commentary articles to use the case of the 2016 presidential election to introduce and illustrate some theoretical concepts I've been developing elsewhere in my own work on graphic design and in my work with Rachel Moran on networked branding.

Here's a quick look at the abstract:

The 2016 presidential campaign between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump saw citizen typography emerge in highly visible and highly impactful ways, particularly as the candidates made seemingly little attempt to maintain full control over their visual brand identities. But what does the surprising significance of typography in this recent campaign reveal about marketing and citizen participation in politics, about political brand management in a networked media environment and about typography’s role as a key pillar of branded political communication? This essay offers two key concepts: the networking of political brands and an emerging logic of participatory aesthetics – both of which point to a decentralization of traditional ‘brand management’ in favour of affectively driven political engagement through visual communications disseminated over communication networks.

You can download the unpaginated proofs here, on my CV page, or from the "Selected Publications" section of my Research page.

Thomas J BillardComment