The Commission on Presidential Debates

Brand Identity

Identity for the non-partisan organization that sponsors and produces the US general election presidential debates.

The Commission on Presidential Debates is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that has sponsored and produced all general election presidential and vice presidential debates since 1987, the year it was established. Pentagram designed a new identity for the organization as it prepared for the 2020 debates.

The general election debates traditionally include three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate. Each is hosted at a different university but produced by the Commission. The organization has always maintained a low profile; many people don’t even realize it exists. Its presence is usually covered up by network branding during broadcasts (except for C-SPAN). With the 2020 election coming up, and anticipating increased attention in an intensely-fought race, it wanted a new identity to help increase its presence, especially as a digital platform where people can turn to for information.

The new identity shifts the emphasis from the Commission to the main event, the debates themselves. The all-type logo dispenses with quasi-governmental imagery, combining the sans Caslon Doric (designed by Commercial Type) and the appropriately named Trust Serif (designed by Jeremy Mickel). The Pentagram team also designed animations to promote the upcoming debates on social media. The sequences switch the candidates’ names and the colors associated with their political parties to reinforce the non-partisan nature of the event.

New York
Michael Bierut
Project team
Britt Cobb
Abby Matousek
Stephanie Winarto
Chris Guerrero
View all images