Unlike the legal talent working on behalf of the presidential candidates during the “whine in the sunshine” (as one local political pundit astutely termed the monthlong Florida fiasco), the presidential inauguration invitations for George W. Bush didn’t come from some overpriced Washington, D.C., outfit with a mahogany staircase.
Instead, the elegantly understated blue-and-gold-lettered invitations for George Bush’s Jan. 20 inaugural were created, strangely enough, in Al Gore’s home state. The Republican National Committee chose Nashville public-relations firm Dye, Van Mol & Lawrence to design the invitation, which includes an illustration of the White House by Nashville artist Jim Hsieh. DVL has worked for other Republicans as well, including two-time GOP presidential aspirant Lamar Alexander and GOP Gov. Don Sundquist.
“It always gets you fired up when you get a call from the president,” says DVL chief creative officer Chuck Creasy, who also worked on Ronald Reagan’s 1984 presidential campaign and with the Republican National Committee in 1984 and 1988 while employed by another Nashville company no longer in business. At the time, Nashville Republican Joe Rodgers held a leadership role with the RNC, and that’s how Creasy made the contacts.
This time around, at least two D.C. creative firms presented potential logo designs to the RNC for the inaugural invitations, but those were rejected. In the end, the RNC went with the sketch that DVL’s team presented. “That’s exactly what they were looking forsort of that underplayed, ‘Let’s don’t be in anybody’s face’ approach,” Creasy says.
Because of the “wackiness of the election,” Creasy says the design team had an incredibly tight deadline to produce the invitations. The drawn-out legal challenges in Florida meant that Creasy didn’t know whether he actually had a client until the election’s final strawthe U.S. Supreme Court’s last ruling. Then came the real work. “We worked day and night for about four or five days and pulled it off,” he says.
The more than 12,000 invites were not only designed here in Nashville, but were printed here as well. “We kept it all in town,” Creasy says.
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