Meg Jannott decided to do 44 Brands for 44 Presidents as a project for herself, and in the zeitgeist of the election she’s gotten a lot of attention. The Festival decided to endorse her work with our own seal of approval.
Meg Jannott: I really just wanted to do something that wasn’t school driven or client driven. Something I could put some of my free time into which was also design. And I wanted something that still had parameters and guidelines around it. I couldn’t do a daily regimen, but something that comes in numbers — like a series. Then I just started brainstorming and came up with the presidents.
JM: Are you really into politics or history?
MJ: I’m not my, but my dad is. He knows a lot about history. Sometimes I’ll call my dad and ask him if he knows anything. It might sound cliché but it’s been a learning experience.
JM: Did it have anything to do with the fact that it is an election year?
MJ: Yea, sort of. I started researching things online and what topics I could do and obviously presidents were a top story online. I also figured since each president had their own personal quirks and traits I thought that would be fun to play up.
JM: What quirks are you looking for?
MJ: When I figure out who’s next I do some quick research on them. I try to only spend an hour on it — obviously you could work on it for days on end — and I figure out what they’re known for as a president or a person. As you can see online I go with nicknames as that leads to what they are known for. I’ve realized that I’ve been using a lot of presidents with animals.
JM: What kinds of animals?
MJ: I think the last three, it’s always been the president with their dog. But yea, the Roosevelt and the moose got a lot of attention.
JM: Are there any that you felt that you nailed perfectly?
MJ: The first one: George Washington. And it’s weird because you can either hit or miss,
but I think I got that one right. I felt like I had to do it right the first time. And obviously he was the first so he’s kind of a big deal. That one to me was probably my favorite one. Even the painting and the “G” felt right.
JM: It’s interesting because he’s almost a mythical figure at this point. He was the first, and can almost only be seen as perfect.
MJ: And he wasn’t compared to anyone else. I’m getting nervous about the most recent presidents, especially Obama or Bush as they’ve already been branded. I have to do it differently and well.
JM: Has this gotten you a lot of attention?
MJ: Yea, I don’t really know – It’s wierd because I started doing this and didn’t publicize it. I did Tumblr because it was easy. And then I don’t know what happened, but I think I did 8 presidents, I stopped for a while and I went on 2 weeks later and I had 200 new followers within that short of time. I though “Oh my gosh, I need to start doing it again!” It’s exciting, but at the same time I’m feeling the pressure. I recently put a disclaimer saying I know these aren’t all great, but thanks for looking at them. I didn’t think that all these people would be looking at it. I’m excited for the project to be done, and just to see them all together. And I’m excited to start a new series.