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John McCain for U.S. Senate

Regardless of whether you agree with him politically or not, of whether you voted for him or not, I think we can all agree that Barack Obama’s campaign websites — that his overall web presence — was quite remarkable, and displayed a use and understanding of the web that no other political candidate had displayed to date. One needed only to compare the look of his website to that of his opponents. Obama’s website was beautifully designed and laid out. Its smooth, elegant look was upbeat, warm, and inviting, and made other candidate websites seem crude, kludgy, and ancient by comparison.

Since then, it’s been interesting to see the impact that the Obama campaign has had on what other political candidates have begun doing with their websites. Unfortunately, I’ve seen some websites where it looks like the candidates in question haven’t really learned anything. Rather, they simply co-opted Obama’s visual style, which just means they end up looking derivative (as if they’d applied some sort of “Obama-izer” effect to their design in Photoshop).

All of which is to say, I’m very pleasantly surprised by the website for John McCain’s senate campaign. The design is clean and thoroughly modern, but doesn’t at all look like an Obama rip-off job. There are all manner of intriguing little details (like the different states of the little buttons that populate the site), the content is laid out nicely, and there’s a nice use of Cufón to introduce some additional typography to the site. And I must say, I love the logo design. Like the design, it’s clean and modern, and its simple, graceful design lends itself well to being iconic.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the site runs on ExpressionEngine and was built with HTML 5.

I do have a few minor quibbles, though. Some of the colors seem a little heavy-handed to me, but then, I’m personally not a big fan of red and orange together. And the header — which I assume to be a shot of the Arizona landscape — is a nice idea, but the actual execution, with its deep blues, feels ominous and gloomy. Which isn’t exactly the tone you want for a political candidate’s website.

The website was designed by Forty, and they have a nice write-up of the process behind the website on their blog.

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