Heath Mello for Mayor

This Nebraska State Senator believes that together we can build a brighter future for the city of Omaha.

Campaign Launch

Our initial meeting took place over coffee in midtown. Summer 2016. I got to hear first-hand Heath’s vision for a more progressive, inclusive, and equitable Omaha. We share a lot of similar hopes for the city. A city with a lot of good things going for it but with big challenges ahead.

After a successful career in the State Legislature, Heath was turning to the Mayoral race. And he needed a brand to capture his spirit, optimism, and vision. 

His formal announcement was to correspond with an interview in the Omaha World-Herald in August. We had just over four weeks to get the campaign designed and ready for a perfectly timed launch. Full brand package, photoshoot, social media graphics, rally signs, and splash page all came together for a launch that was met with much enthusiasm for those of us in the city who are ready for bold vision at the local level.

Ready for Kickoff

After the launch announcement, we continued to design out stationary, invitations, stickers, banners, and T-shirts. The splash page was doing its job by collecting email addresses and driving donations via Act Blue. More photoshoots (by the great Adam Casey) were done to show Heath in action. And iconography was designed to visualize the major points of the campaign — welcoming, connected, innovative.

The campaign formally kicked off on December 6, 2016. Election day in Omaha was May 9, 2017.

The Campaign

The results of the election were not what we were hoping for. Mayor Jean Stothert won re-election with 53% of the vote to 46% for Heath Mello. Turnout in the election was 34%. Below are the results by precinct from our divided city.

In the months leading up to election day, we used design to help get people excited about participating in what was an intense race for the future of the city. 

Primary Election via Rebecca S. Gratz/ Omaha World-Herald

Primary Election via Rebecca S. Gratz/Omaha World-Herald

Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press ( Via the New York Times )

Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press (Via the New York Times)

The election was watched nationally as one of the first in this odd new Trump era. Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Keith Ellison were brought to Omaha to campaign for Heath as part the DNC’s Come Together Fight Back tour. While the event did energize the base, it unexpectedly spurred a heated discussion around being a pro-life Democrat in a conservative state. While some of the coverage was incorrect, this article in The Nation breaks things down well. The discussion is certainly an important one for Democrats to have, but it did detract from what the campaign wanted to be talking about in the final weeks leading up to election day.

Not getting a win is certainly disappointing. Having another 4 years of a harsh Republican mayor who lacks vision is very concerning for the city’s future mass transit needs, riverfront development, and the prioritization of equity for EVERYONE. 

But, the creativity and energy from the campaign is a hopeful sign for future citizen engagement. The tireless work of young leaders in our community mean the central idea of the campaign — creating a city that’s more welcoming, inclusive, and innovative — is still possible. Those of us who want a more progressive city aren’t giving up. In fact, we’re more determined than ever.

Justin Kemerling: Direction + Design
Human Shapes: Development
BCom Solutions: Digital + Development
Adam Casey: Photography
Matt Carlson: Illustration
Watie White: Art
Bryan Findell: Animation

This project is Action Backed. A collaboration with the Mello for Mayor campaign team.

2016–2017: Campaign, Brand, Print, Web, Social, Illustration, Video

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