For a man who should be required by law to have the words “POOR IMPULSE CONTROL” tattooed across his forehead, Trump has caused a surprising number of people to believe he must be pursuing some sort of incredible ulterior master plan to the attainment of the U.S. presidency.
I will admit the notion has some appeal. To people who manage to go entire months without dreamily gushing about the machismo of foreign despots, marking up their day planners with the names of all the local Girl Scouts they’re feeling “bullish” about as long tail sexual investments, or inadvertently crafting amazing viral memes for their political adversaries, the sheer superabundance of ineptitude on display from the Trump campaign seems explicable only if you assume he’s crazy . . . like a fox!
So if Trump doesn’t actually want the presidency, what does he want? The most popular theory is that Trump’s plan is to use his failed presidential bid to launch his own cable news network—politically to the right of Fox News, but still more mainstream than Breitbart, the Drudge Report, or other level-headed publications that have endorsed a sputtering human cumquat for president.
It’s a notion so horrifying that Matthew Ipcar, executive creative director of Blue State Digital, decided to mock up a dystopian peek of the news landscape as it soon could be: TRMP.NEWS.
“We were inspired by the thought that this talk of TrumpTV was becoming more than just talk and more like a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Ipcar writes. So his team at Blue State Digital asked themselves a question: “What if we designed a simple website whose dystopic vision would compel progressives (and even sane conservatives) to think about the reality of a Trump media empire and to keep themselves updated after Election Day?”
Ipcar is no stranger to political branding. In 2012, he designed the logo for President Obama’s second election bid, as well as the campaign’s website. Previous to that, he designed the White House website, Change.gov, and a number of other government websites. So the first thing you’ll notice about TRMP.NEWS is that while it’s definitely bold and aggressive, it’s infinitely better designed than any of The Donald’s actual websites.
Instead of Trump’s usual stochastic hodge-podge, TRMP.NEWS features a coherent layout, strong typography, and an effective color palette. “We imagined a restrained website whose design was closer to his luxury properties (Gotham! Simple! Clean!) than to the chaotic haphazardry of his campaign properties,” explains Ipcar. “A creature where lurid, bilious creative would be reserved for the words themselves and not the outward appearance.” He parenthetically adds: “Sadly, this is also how I imagine the alt-right’s next serious candidate, and that scares me a whole lot more.”
Content-wise, there’s not much at TRMP.NEWS, besides some stabs at the vile sort of copy Ipcar and his team think a Trump news network might trade in. “A voice for real Americans that can never be silenced,” the front page of TRMP.NEWS blares, before getting to its mission statement:
A NETWORK FOR THOSE THAT AREN’T AFRAID TO DO WHAT IT TAKES FOR FREEDOM
Elections can be stolen, but liberty will never be. TRMP.NEWS is committed to telling the REAL story of the corrupt elites holding true Americans back. We’re through with political correctness, we’re putting the elites on notice, and we’re taking our country back.
And what, do tell, is the network’s tagline? Come on: You don’t even need to ask. “Make news great again.”
Sadly, TRMP.NEWS doesn’t offer any mock news stories to go with its mock website. Instead, it simply functions as a way for people to be alerted if Donald Trump starts working to launch his own network, as well as ways to potentially stop it.
We asked Ipcar if, down the road, TRMP.NEWS might feature more Onion-like parodies of the sort of news stories Donald Trump might find to be good journalism, but he says he doesn’t actually think those parodies would be very funny. “Writing the launch copy alone made us nauseous enough, and the things he’s saying already sound like parodies, if parody wasn’t funny,” Ipcar says. “Imagine a far more hateful, bigoted, and misogynist version of Stephen Colbert—it just doesn’t sound like fun anymore.”
This article originally appeared in FastCo Design on October 21, 2016.