I’m simply flabbergasted. I tried to help. But now it’s too late.
This may be the first time in the history of presidential campaigns that a candidate will get more media attention over their lack of professionality than their message. I’m talking about the clowns-come-marching-in redesign that has been “premiered” at Michael Badnarik’s campaign website today. The horrible color scheme. The logo that for some reason links to lp.org. The graphics made in, what, MS-Paint?!? Did I mention the color scheme? The lack of any aesthetic at all is sure to cause headaches for supporters used to well-designed campaigns. Personally, I have a lot of faith in Badnarik’s intellect and his position on the issues, but to allow his campaign to be hijacked by an amateur designer with no experience — who seems determined to steer his chances at presidency into the ground before they’ve even been cleared for lift-off — is irresponsible and flies in the face of everything he has said to this point.
To make my point clear on how much design matters, imagine someone telling you a great story, and you wanted to pass that on to friends. So he writes it down on a napkin, with a crayon. Now, imagine how your friends will react when you show them the napkin and try to explain to them how great the story was. The crayon on napkin distracts from the story, and makes them laugh at that instead of focusing on the story.
Sadly, this is not a surprise to me, as I had the opportunity to see the redesign while it was still in it’s infancy. I declined to post negatively about it and went to the campaign with my concerns, even going so far as to offer my assistance (pro bono) with the design. This was rebuffed (ignored!) in favor of the lovely Barney children’s playground scheme that you see now. To give them some credit, they did ask me to write for the blog, but there is an obvious disparity between what I was offering and the attempt to pacify me with a token volunteer position. To make matters worse, insiders tell me that they also have come to a head with the webdesigner and are fed up. As one source told me:
“Stephen [Gordon, Communications Director] and David [Rostcheck, Media Coordinator] have tried and aren’t making headway because nobody in charge (Fred [Collins, Campaign Manager] or Barb [Barbara Goushaw-Collins, Asst. Campaign Manager]) wants to get Greg [Dirasian, IT Manager/Webmaster] to shit or get off the pot…”
Could there be a rogue element inside the Badnarik campaign? If so, it may be excusable, but may be telling as well.
I will once again make a plea to the campaign, though this time it will have to be publicly, as they have no shame. Here is a list of designers that I would recommend in a heartbeat (in no particular order):
I have to say that unfortunately, Badnarik does not appear to be serious about the presidency (and appearances are important in politics); Considering he’s the only candidate with “geek” qualifications (a Cobol and C programmer), it’s even more ironic that his site would be so blatantly amateur. Would Badnarik be inclined to appoint unqualified persons to cabinet positions, or would it be ironic as well? I hear Ken Lay is looking for a Treasury Dept. appointment.
Update: In the interest of actually trying to get this guy elected (God forbid, ya know?), I have created a(200K) that I am hoping they will look at, then slap themselves in the forehead for not taking my (pro bono) suggestions in the first place.
Update 2: Gary DuVall over at Operation 9 has also thrown his hat into this with his own . I think the Badnarik redesign is making a lot of designers wring their hands with the sheer lunacy of such a bad design for a campaign site. Gary has also noted that Eric Lanehart is working on a mockup. The word from the campaign on this outpouring of alternate designs? Silence so far.
Update 3: Is IT Manager Greg Dirasian incompetent? We found examples of Dirasian’s prior design work: NewsNetPipeline, Josef’s French Pastry Shop, Atlantis Condominium Associates, Institure for Health Freedom. Dirasian hosts Badnarik’s sites on his own personal servers, sources told us that it has been a constant struggle against Dirasian.
UPDATE 4: I’m only posting this because it’s already been leaked to the Yahoo! Group for Badnarik. Eric Lanehart, Gary DuVall, Michael Christenson and myself have all joined forces behind Eric’s proposal. What he’s created is a simplified redesign (which incorporate elements from both Gary’s and my own mockup and is very aesthetic) which can be accomplished by August 16th and will be a giant step in the right direction. If the Badnarik campaign management can put it’s differences aside (it appears that the proposal has been warmly greeted so far), I think we can accomplish a lot and catapult Badnarik into this campaign as a real viable alternative.
For all those who see the derisive commentary I have made above as a bad fit of whining or complaining, it is only because I believe a strong dose of criticism was warranted. I have high expectations that this minor flub will amount to nothing in the grand scheme of the campaign, and Badnarik will flourish under the coalition of support that his campaign deserves.