It worked for Barack Obama in 2008. When artist Shepard Fairey designed a poster depicting Obama in the style of Communist propaganda from the Soviet years, and slapped the word “Hope” on it, the Obama campaign quickly adopted the image and never looked back.
The Guardian’s Laura Barton penned a paean to the iconic poster:
The image’s strength lies in its simplicity. Over the past few months it has acquired the kind of instant recognition of Jim Fitzpatrick’s Che Guevara poster, and is surely set to grace T-shirts, coffee mugs and the walls of student bedrooms in the years to come.
It remains ubiquitous to this day, frequently copied, modified slightly, riffed on.
— Slate (@Slate) September 21, 2014
So it’s probably no surprise that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has decided to post her own “Hope” poster – hoping, as it were, for a similar rocket boost from iconography.
Being, well, Ocasio-Cortez, she chose a different aesthetic style. It’s wordier, for one thing.
Your daily reminder✨ pic.twitter.com/8g5jepaiDE
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 29, 2019
It’s also – no getting away from it – pink and yellow. As a political message in the USA, that will inevitably limit its iconic appeal. Even grrrls tend to go red, white, and blue for political image campaigns.
There’s something a bit one-dimensional and “Julia-ish” about it too, as opposed to the light and shadow of the Obama image. Julia was always an image that seemed to proclaim the battle for socialism had been won, and human beings with the depth and cragginess to fight were no longer even needed. It was all faceless NPCs, homogenized communal gardens, and state subsidies from here on out.
It’s hard to beat the subliminal message of Ocasio-Cortez’s Twitter comment, however: “Your daily reminder.” She probably meant a reminder of “Hope.” But, of course, the eye sees the image of Ocasio-Cortez, and associates that with the verbiage.
Blazing Cat Fur quickly perpetrated the obvious FIFY.
— Blazing CatFur (@Blazingcatfur) May 30, 2019
Not that we would venture to dispute Blazing’s prowess in this area, but Millennials do have another way of reading “dope.” This could be a win-win for AOC with her natural constituency.
Admittedly, it’s hard not to be partial to Joe Biden’s foray into iconography.
— Ridin' With Biden (@ridingwithbiden) May 17, 2019
The screen-printed onesie is particularly compelling.
— Ridin' With Biden (@ridingwithbiden) May 20, 2019
We’ll see if Ocasio-Cortez’s “HOPE” image can pass the onesie-tastic test.