Inspired by the upcoming presidential election, the first year students in the SVA MFA Design program created “Re Elect: Old Presidents, New Candidates.” For this exhibition, students redesigned campaigns for former presidents as if they were running in today’s world. Included are 20 presidents – from George Washington to George Bush – whose modern designs range from critical commentary to strategic campaign, all influenced by who they eventually became after winning the election.
I created a modern campaign for the 38th American President, Gerald Ford. Often referred to as the “Accidental President,” Gerald Ford is the only US President who was never elected to an office higher than Congress. Ford took over the Vice Presidency when Spiro Agnew resigned and, shortly after, became President upon Richard Nixon’s impeachment in 1974. Although Ford is best remembered for his controversial pardon of Nixon, his most important role was bringing honesty and stability back into the White House after Watergate. While Ford was often portrayed as an uncoordinated klutz, he was actually one of the most athletic presidents in history. A star football player who was voted MVP at the University of Michigan, Ford maintained a deep love for the game the rest of his life. This campaign underscores Ford’s strengths as a football player, and uses this theme to highlight his often forgotten accomplishments in the White House: intercepting a national nightmare and allowing the country to heal.