Good Design. Positive Change.
Wheelhouse Collective

Kim Olson put up one hell of a positive fight

In deep-red Texas, a female Democrat gave the incumbent Commissioner of Agriculture a run for his money.

Kim Olson got fed up with the politics that have divided our country and her beloved state of Texas. She is a fourth generation farmer, so agriculture was a natural focus for her. She decided to run against incumbent Sid Miller as the state’s Commissioner of Agriculture. Miller had gotten a bad reputation for his divisive approach and irresponsible handling of public funds. He also played dirty. But Olson rose above all that.

Kim’s campaign focused on her desire to bring people together. Farmers may disagree day to day or feel some level of competition with one another, but when one farmer hits a rough patch, his or her neighbors are always there to help out. Kim wanted to bring this approach to politics — maybe we disagree, but we can come to an agreement and find a solution together.

This is where her “I mend fences” tagline came from. She recognizes the importance of repairing the rift between parties to move on to better solutions. (And, of course, she also literally mends fences on her farm.)

The visual strategy was similar—a simple, straight from the farm or ranch approach, using weathered wood and burlap paired with modern type and iconography. Rather than the expected, and often divisive red or blue, we used brown and teal to remind us of our commonalities—earth and water.

Kim’s campaign touched a lot of people. She collected five times the donations that Miller did! While her opponent collected donations from a total of ten donors, Kim received support from thousands of small donors all across the state. Kim succeeded in getting a conversation started and made unexpected headway in a straight-party-ticket state. In the end she came within 9% of becoming the second ever Democratic as the Commissioner of Agriculture in over 40 years. We were disappointed that victory was not to be this time, but we are proud that we got to help Kim in her fight for the people of Texas!

Learn more about the entire project here: Kim Olson’s for Texas Commissioner of Agriculture.

Wheelhouse is proud to have had the opportunity to put our expertise in the service of Kim Olson’s campaign. We believe in the work they do, and we’re honored that they believed in us.

Strategy, Creative Direction & Design: Cathy Solarana
Strategy, Creative Direction & Copywriting: David Burn

Shout out to David Burn, my brilliant partner from Bonehook, for his insight, patience, and killer wordsmithing. Together we made one hell of an impact!


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