No matter what side of the election you feel on, no one can fault Trump for his marketing and campaign strategies. While they may have seemed comical at one time, it was these strategies that ultimately won him the election. As a designer, if we look at "Trump the person” in terms of "Trump the product,” there is a lot to be learned.
Start with Something Recognizable
Trump started his campaign being recognizably similar to the Trump we saw on The Apprentice and played deeply into the "Make a Deal” persona he had already established. Rather than creating something more presidential, Trump updated what people would already expect and recognize. In design it is often tempting to drive for fully unique, but this is all lost if your user interface is unrecognizable, or your website ends up being organized counter-intuitively. While some level of uniqueness is important, it is key to give your user something that looks familiar and feels familiar.
Keep it Simple
Message is important to any design, but it can also be easily over-designed and ineffective. Trump kept his messages clear, consistent, and never strained to deeply into details. Whether true or not, “Trump the product” was able to cleanly state what he would do as president and his “users” rallied around those simple points. While new for a politician, this approach of keeping things clean and simple is key to creating effective design. A good website will offer it's users only what they need and nothing more.
No matter how much you plan, things happen outside your control. Throughout the election “Trump the product” remained in track with his plan, but also was able to adapt. This ability to plan and re-plan meant the campaign was able to include new data, and actively apply the lessons learned along the election process. Great design teams follow this same strategy. Any project strategy needs to have the ability to develop and adjust for errors in order to be successful.
Effective strategies like these are exactly what let “Trump the product” contribute to “Trump the man.”
Good luck to both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and thank you for your service to America.