CSS Design Politics

Found: Barack Obama's Web Designer

Update: The New Website

Update: Who will be the White House web designer?

A lot of people have wanted to know who designed Barack Obama’s website. With good reason: Obama’s website is beautiful. It even conveys Obama’s message of hope in it’s wistful design. Well, here it is:

Barack Obama’s web designer is:

SimpleScott. SimpleScott designed Barack Obama’s website, so here’s to SimpleScott for a gorgeous design.

From Scott Thomas, of SimpleScott:

I am the creative director of New Media for Obama for America. The team consisted of many people in house as well as many volunteers. Project leads were myself and John Slabyk. We are maintaining site and brand in-house. Sol Sender designed the logo before I joined the campaign.

How did I find out SimpleScott was involved? Just check out Obama’s main style sheet. SimpleScott uses CSSEdit, a great program for Mac CSS web design.

The CSS code gives it away:

CSS Version 2: – View the stylesheet

/* CSS
Author: Scott Thomas
Client: Obama for America
Created: 12-15-07
Modified: 12-22-07

CSS Version 3: – View the stylesheet

/* CSS
Author: Scott Thomas
Created: 12-15-07
Author: Walker Hamilton
Modified: 08-10-07

Did you notice there are two authors for Version 3? If you’re like me, you want to know who this Walker Hamilton fella is that is referenced in Version 3 of the CSS.

This is from Walker’s resume at

I architected and implemented the deployment mechanisms and technologies for the campaign’s various web properties. I implemented various applications to improve some processes, automate others, and facilitate instate/headquarters communications for departments within the campaign. Other duties included general maintenance, day to day content administration, and feature planning and development for the social network tied into the site.

Update: I’ve learned a couple of more people who were involved in the website:

The Barack Obama logo design is by Sender, LLC

Sender, LLC developed the Obama ’08 logo.

From Brian Drum, of Sender LLC

Sender designed the original mark, but the site is developed and maintained in-house by the campaign’s web team.

Sender was involved *only* with the development of the “sunrise” mark, and had no role whatsoever in the design, development, or maintenance of

Leave your reactions here

Do you like the design, or not? What aspects work best for you? Drop a line below.

Which design do you like?  I prefer the lighter, more optimistic “Primary Obama” website, not the Obama/Biden serious, solumn “General Election Obama” site. What do you think?

44 replies on “Found: Barack Obama's Web Designer”

Or probably the CSS stylesheet was stolen from this simplescott guy 🙂 (Conspiracy theory here )

Interesting, hadn’t seen that before. The Sender website certainly uses the same font (Futura?).

One possibility is that Sender created the original brand and website and updated it?

Anyone know?

Hi Brian, thanks for clarifying, and great job! Do you know how SimpleScott comes in to the picture?

Well, congrats to both Sender/Brian Drum and SimpleScott – this is one of the most nicely designed websites I’ve come across. Also, excellent branding, visual consistency, etc.

Obama website is the best website of any candidate so far. I’m sure later in the future there will be one to compete with it from another candidate, but right now there is no competition. This one beats any of the candidates that ran for the White House. The logo is also the best one so far. Brian, I believe Sender had a little more to do with the logo, just by seeing the CSS file:

Scott Thomas was involved with the CSS, that’s another step than just the logo. But since i don’t know, I won’t say what else they were involved with.

I’ve updated the article to be accurate; both SimpleScott and Sender have been helpful in clarifying their roles in Obama’s brand and website. Thanks!

Hey guys, excellent review … however Sender & mo/de have had nothing to do with the campaign since creating the initial mark, and the old wordmark.

A friend of mine knows the Art Director over there, John Slabyk … his portfolio is down, but used to be available on … now its only available here: … from what I understand its basically him and another designer, Scott Thomas (SimpleScott) who carried almost all the code work on his back, his portfolio:

John’s basically the branding guy / art lead and Scott is the web ninja / design specialist from what I understand … these are the guys responsible for all the branding and design seen for the campaign.

Ever since I learned that Gotham is Obama’s font (and there are some great articles about Obama’s graphic design), I’ve been seeing it everywhere.

I think it was even in a beer commercial with some forward-looking text like “Drink for tomorrow.” or some such. I laughed.

@Gray – One thing I can’t figure out is why they spent the extra load time on the presidential seal in the middle of the background…other than it looks even more impressive as it loads!

anyone know what it was actually built with? it’s great to know about the stylesheet but is this really all custom programming from scratch by one guy?? was there a framework involved at all for the community stuff? what language/databases? how about the server setup… more more!

It’s funny that it was designed by that humanot guy.. I’ve run across his non-portfolio I don’t know how many times over the last 5 years. For being completely unadvertised, he sure is popular.

I Love obama he is soooooooo cute and he is the best president ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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