How we made the logo for the 2020 Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee
Design

How we made the logo for the 2020 Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee

In July 2020, the city of Milwaukee will host the Democratic National Convention. And though that’s more than half a year away, the city’s Host Committee has been hard at work on plans to make the Milwaukee DNC the best convention ever. 

A few months ago, they hired us to design the official logo.

Louder for the people in the back:

!!!!! CI Design created the official logo for the 2020 Democratic National Convention !!!!!

How does one go about creating the official mark for one of the most important events in Milwaukee’s 21st Century history?

We asked CI Design’s Executive Creative Director, Jim Taugher, and Chief Storyteller, Greg Marshall, to share what went into their collaboration with the host committee, and how they wound up with the official, final logo. 


Finding inspiration in the city and beyond

Every logo project at CI Design starts out with three critical steps:

  1. Conversation
    to better understand what this mark has to represent and accomplish

  2. Inspiration
    a thousand different ideas brought on by our conversation

  3. Research
    Into the existing worlds surrounding each idea—a goldmine for the logo’s visuals and story
     

Before Jim did a single sketch, he and the committee thought deeply about the city and its neighborhoods, history, and hopes for the future. The conversation, inspiration, and research led to the first round of logo concepts that featured the city skyline, Lake Michigan, a variety of neighborhood icons, Milwaukee’s iconic bridges, and more.

 

Separate the “Yays” from the “Nays”

Getting input from our clients or collaborators is critical. Jim and Greg took the first round of logo ideas and shared them with the Host Committee. Together, they eliminated the ones featuring more predictable elements and instead focused on the designs that speak to what makes the event and the city unique at this moment in time. 

Gone were symbols that have been relied on as visual shorthand time and again, like stars, flowing stripes that could stand in for waves of grain, the Milwaukee Art Museum’s beloved (but wildly overused) Calatrava, or the Hoan bridge.

 

Building the bridge from idea to execution

During that editorial review, Jim, Greg, and the Host Committee kept coming back to the idea of bridges, and what they mean metaphorically.

They also agreed that they wanted to get away from a logo that led the viewer by the hand to explain where in the country Milwaukee is, or that this was a symbol for a political event. 

“Let’s let people get it on their own,” Jim explained, “and let’s not try so hard or be too obvious. Let Milwaukee be bold and stand strong!” 

 

The Result?

A clean, modern logo featuring a large “M” as a two-tone graphic element that evokes images and sentiments relevant to a convention as massive and critical as the DNC: people meeting and coming together, a conversation, a handshake—even two people with differing points of view creating a bridge to understanding.

“Milwaukee” is front and center, as it should be. “2020” was placed at the bottom of the mark to serve as a foundation, and was given an italicized treatment to indicate forward motion. The elements combined visually tell a story of this convention in Milwaukee being the foundation for moving toward the future together. 

(And it’s gonna look really sharp on hats, signs, and other merch if we do say so ourselves.) 

Still want more “behind the scenes” content about the DNC 2020 logo? Check out this recent Journal Sentinel interview with Jim and Greg. 

 

Don’t settle for any old logo. Let our team help you make your mark the right way.

The CI News Team

The CI News Team