Artists For Obama Poster Gallery

With the presidentials exactly a week away, election fever soars. During my stay in San Francisco last week I discovered the streets and windows plastered with electoral posters. Amongst them were some beautiful artist’s creations. I had already heard from star type designer Jonathan Hoefler’s purely typographic design, and found the Artists for Obama gallery featuring the other posters on Barack Obama’s website. All art and merchandise were donated to the campaign by the artists to help raise money to support the Democratic presidential candidate in his bid for the White House.

I was quite impressed by the outpour of support from the artistic community – which also led to the compilation of the Yes We Can: Voices of a Grassroots Movement music album – as I hadn’t seen anything like this yet. And the campaign also spurs interest in typography. When walking down Geary Street at Union Square last Friday I overheard a snippet of a lively conversation which made me smile. It went something like: “… use Trajan, Trajan all the time, whereas he uses Gotham…” (Gotham is the official campaign typeface for Barack Obama).

Obama 08 | Lance Wyman

Lance Wyman’s creation is a striking op art design in red, white and blue. The line pattern emanating from the diagonal “OBAMA’08” is a conceptual visualization of Barack Obama’s dialogue with the American people. Wyman explains that the constructivist lettering is formed by outer energy, the red, white and blue of America. The presidential candidate’s name is also the centre that inspires the energy of an American environment of change.

Words of Change | Gui Borchert

Detail from Words of Change | Gui Borchert

Gui Borchert’s artwork is pretty impressive – he created an entirely typographical portrait of Obama using over twenty thousand of his words, which were carefully arranged in different sizes and colours. The detail of the poster illustrates the intricacy of Borchert’s work. All type was set in what looks like Helvetica Condensed (I’m not 100% certain), not only to compose Obama’s portrait but also for the big Gotham characters in the background. Type within type as it were. Borchert previously used the same technique for his type texturized illustrations of rock icon Jimi Hendrix.

Possible | Jonathan Hoefler

Jonathan Hoefler didn’t need long to decide which approach he would take when he was commissioned to create a poster for Barack Obama. “I knew immediately that I wanted to work with the text of his stirring speech, A More Perfect Union. Barack Obama is a leader unique in the history of our nation, who not only understands but embodies what it means to be an American in the 21st century: not only to reflect on our rich heritage, but to embrace our possibilities.” Hoefler used his own Verlag, one of the six typefaces originally created for the Guggenheim Museum. I’m a teensy bit disappointed in his submission, as the delightful samples he designs for his typefaces are always a treat and considerably stronger than his Obama poster. Maybe it is too subtle to work well as a poster.

Hope | Robert Indiana

“HOPE” is a reinterpretation of American artist and sculptor Robert Indiana’s iconic “LOVE” sculpture. This should be classified as an art print more than a poster, as the print – silk screened with archival paints in colours on 100% rag acid free paper – has a limited run of 150 and costs a hefty US$ 2,500.

“Sea to Shining Sea” by master printmaker Lou Stovall falls in the same category. This piece measures 20″ x 20″ and is limited to only 200; it costs US$1,000.

Yes We Can | Antar Dayal

Antar Dayal’s artwork is inspired by Barack Obama’s words, wisdom, accomplishments, and expression of his and his compatriots’ hopes and dreams for a better America. The hand drawn portrait is bold and expressive, thanks to the blue monochrome treatment offset against the red and white background. The portrait of Senator Obama was created on a scratchboard coated with an ultra-smooth absorbent Kaolin clay ground. After the image area was sprayed with black China Ink fine lines were engraved into the surface sculpting shadows and highlights.

Progress | Scott Hansen

Scott Hansen a.k.a. ISO50 wanted to create an image that evoked the ideals he feels are central to the needs of the American people at this critical time in history: change, progress and hope. It became a texture-rich image full of detail; warm and colourful, and rife with symbolism. Apparently the colors on the JPEG above don’t come through as well as they did in print and there’s a lot of fine detail that’s lost at this size, so you’ll have to stretch a little bit to imagine what the real thing looks like. I personally like the hand made feel and the beautiful way the Obama campaign logo was incorporated into the overall image.

CHANGE | Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey wanted to make an art piece of Barack Obama because he thought an iconic portrait of him could symbolize and amplify the importance of his mission. And as far as iconic portraits go, Fairey knows his stuff. Not only was his print sold out in no time, but it is the only one that gave birth to a plethora of spin-offs and spoofs. Fairey himself is most proud of Mad Magazine’s new cover which he considers a high point in his career for pop culture recognition.

Now, like I announced last time I’d like to also post an entry favouring the Republican side, just to prevent people from suspecting us of any bias. The problem is I couldn’t find any Artists for McCain. Actually, not even one. It appears the conservatives aren’t really inspiring artists to produce beautiful work, let alone donate it to support McCain’s campaign. I’m afraid the only thing I could come up with is this hilarious T-shirt, a satirical take on the Obama campaign logo. Donuts and Bacon: a scrumptious breakfast treat! Taste we can Believe in? You betcha!

T-shirt designed by STRK3, available on

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  1. this was awesome! thanx!!!

    Posted by amoi on Oct. 28, 2008
  2. Hello hello. POSSIBLE actually isn’t in Verlag — it’s in a forthcoming design… Stay tuned to :)

    Posted by Jonathan Hoefler on Oct. 28, 2008
  3. What do you mean, a forthcoming design? Jonathan, you sneaky bastich! Now you made my type identifying skillz look dodgy. Grrr…

    Posted by Yves Peters on Oct. 28, 2008
  4. check out the art and the Obama ad.

    Posted by zach on Oct. 28, 2008
  5. I recently whipped up a few posters of revolutionaries, done in the Shepard Fairey style:

    Posted by Patrick on Nov. 1, 2008
  6. lovely collection. yves, could you please help us with the fonts used.. esp in the posters by shepard fairey (change) and scott hansen (progess).. thanks.

    Posted by k on Nov. 6, 2008
  7. Fairey’s poster uses Gotham, the official campaign typeface for Barack Obama.

    Hansen’s “Progress” I don’t know.

    Posted by Stephen Coles on Nov. 6, 2008
  8. A new and improved Obama art piece. A worthwhile peek:

    Posted by zach on Nov. 6, 2008
  9. I am inspired by Barack Obama’s integrity and openness, his ability to write, speak, and engage on both emotional and intellectual levels. He is truly a citizen of this new age of the 21st Century — using both sides of his brain he will possess the agility, intelligence and insight to speak for growing global maturity and self awareness. Where difficult problem solving requires a whole new mind of unexpected solutions! Thanks for all this inspired art. Check out for my contribution!

    Posted by Dale McNutt on Nov. 9, 2008
  10. I was inspired to create my own poster to commemorate the victory on November 4th. I’d be happy to hear any criticism you may have!

    Posted by Michael on Nov. 11, 2008
  11. Here’s a graphic I put together using the “Yes We Can” theme:

    Posted by Joe Rademan on Nov. 15, 2008
  12. Greats works for obama, all of them. Congratulations.

    Posted by J. Victtor on Dec. 18, 2008
  13. Posted by Glennys Anglada on Dec. 29, 2008
  14. Wow, this is really important stuff….while we head toward socialism, lose our hard-earned wealth and surrender our freedoms to an overbearing, helicopter-parent government all in the name of affirmative action run amok. But we do have some nice propaganda related artwork, so I guess it was all worth it.

    Posted by Ed on Apr. 28, 2009
  15. At last a dissenting voice in this thread! I was fearing the whole country had turned into pinko tree-hugging bleeding-heart liberals.

    lose our hard-earned wealth and surrender our freedoms to an overbearing, helicopter-parent government

    Oops, I think you are describing the Bush administration there.

    Posted by Yves Peters on Apr. 28, 2009

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