Popular Rap Rocker Kid Rock is throwing in his bid for the United States Senate in 2018. You probably already know this, but if not I apologize for being the bearer of bad news. He recently released a series of promotional merchandise that includes t-shirts, bumper stickers, hats, and much more, along with a statement of intent. Now politicians are notoriously difficult to brand and most would rather pick a basic stamp that is as inoffensive as possible. You needn’t look further beyond the myriad of U.S. politicians bearing some combination of red, white, and blue, with a basic symbol that suggests… something. I suppose you could call it patriotism or stagnation.
During our last political cycle, the American people spoke by choosing a popular culture idol over a politician. This has opened a flood gate of individuals with little to no political experience throwing their name onto the ballot. And of course, each of those individuals will need their own logo that says… something. Low and behold, we have our first contender in Kid Rock, so let’s put his logo to the test. First is the basic logo and type pairing by itself and applied to his merchandise.
Off the bat, it’s clear there’s no need to dig for a massive conceptual reasoning. Red, white, and blue? Check. A logo that uses stars and (or) stripes? Check. A font pairing that says “I may be too old and boring to understand millennials, but these italic serifs sure are inoffensive aren’t they,” check. It’s actually surprising for someone who’s career revolved around entertaining people, there’s not an ounce of excitement here. Nor is there a deep message (in comparison to say the Pentagram designed Hillary Clinton logo speaking to forward progress, or Barack Obama’s horizon featuring “O” logo). It’s an abstracted flag sloppily protruding from the “KID” part of his name, so maybe his political ambitions are that of a child’s? That’s my best guess. There’s also a bunch of promotional phrases backed by American colors, each more cringy than the last and hopefully lacking the iconic “we are old people and don’t understand new generations so we’re scared” attitude of “Make America Great Again.”
I’m actually more concerned with how the American flag has been abstracted in this case. Here’s paired it down to two predominant red stripes separated by a minimal white stripe (which I hesitate to call an actual stripe instead of just white space), next to a blue square matching the D’s curve and a single star in the middle. The single star itself holds the most potential here suggesting unification or at least singularity. We are one people, not 50 given the same platform. Given how divisive the American political climate is right now, that’s a reasonable message (that could certainly be better told in a different form). Although, that message is still there.
That being said another interpretation could find the singular star less inclusive. The American population is diverse and made up of many differing cultures and ideologies, and where 50 stars in the same space might represent a multitude of voices and peoples all being represented, the single star reads as somewhat utilitarian. There is no singular identification for “American” that could possibly represent the mass of cultures we pull together. So the question becomes, whose voice(s) makes up that star and who’s voice(s) are dominating its voice? Is it Kid Rock’s voice? Then God help us.0