Walker Art Center

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Designing Obama



Dubbed a “strategic and smart campaign” by Fast Company, the Obama “brand” has received much recognition not only within the design community, but also throughout the nation and abroad. Sol Sender and Scott Thomas, creators of the official Obama logo and Web site, will describe their experiences developing this historic political brand. The event features a special exhibition of posters from Threadless Loves Democracy, a challenge to design the most unique and conceptual call to vote, sponsored by Sappi Fine Paper, Threadless, Rock the Vote, and Jones Soda. The conversation will be moderated by Paul Schmelzer, editor of the Minnesota Independent news site, author of the blog Eyeteeth, and contributor to Adbusters, Cabinet, Ode, Utne Reader, and other journals focusing on the intersection of art, media, and politics.

Sol Sender

As founder and principal of Sender LLC, Sol Sender spearheaded the logo development for Barack Obama’s historic 2008 campaign. Now a strategist with VSA Partners, he works across disciplines to impact the communications of some of the world’s most valuable businesses and brands. Over the course of his career, Sender’s work as a designer and a strategist has been recognized by the AR100, the Webby Awards, The International Web Awards, Communication Arts, How Magazine and as a nominee for The Brit Insurance Design of the Year. A faculty member at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago since 1999, his articles on design history and design education have been published and distributed by Allworth Press.

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas (a.k.a SimpleScott) is constantly seeking the simplest answer to complex problems. His design pursuits began by studying architecture before bouncing to graphic design and web development. He started practicing design in London’s Shoreditch, before moving to Chicago where he started focusing on user experience design informed through immersive user research. From products to websites, Scott works to simplify the experience of use. In 2006, he and 5 others began a design collective, lovingly titled, The Post Family. The group is devoted to supporting each others design habits, from silk screen to letterpress, from illustration to blogging, in an effort to “get back to the hand.” In 2007, his career took a dramatic leap when Thomas was invited to join the New Media team at Obama for America. The chance encounter led Scott to becoming the Design Director of the historic Obama Presidential campaign.