Missile Defense Agency, Obama Campaign Logos Cause Internet Stir

Is this Logo-gate?

The Internet is abuzz with comparisons of the "strikingly similar" logos of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and the ubiquitous Obama 2008 campaign.

The Missile Defense Agency, which is part of the Defense Department, now features a circular red, white and blue logo on its Web site that has been characterized in some reports as "scarily" similar to President Obama's former campaign symbol. Others have noted that it has a crescent and star design, evoking a common symbol for Islam.

The logo, which first appeared on the Missile Defense Web site in the fall, was designed by TMP Government, a marketing and communications firm that has managed Web site redesigns and logos for numerous government agencies, including recovery.gov and more than a dozen Defense and intelligence-related sites.

But this particular one has caught the eye of critics of the Obama administration.

"I'm having trouble seeing past the crescent and star in the new logo," one critic posted on WashingtonTimes.com. "Is this our signal to the muslim world that we're not going to shoot down their missiles?"

Another poster on WeaselZippers.net likened the logo to that of a "corny science fiction movie."

But others said it was all in the eye of the beholder, and that they saw little or no similarity between the Obama and Missile Defense logos.

Richard Lehner, a spokesman for the Missile Defense Agency, dismissed the comparison entirely.

"It's ridiculous," Lehner told Fox News. "It isn't a new logo to replace the official logo. It's a logo developed for recruiting materials and for our public Web site. Also, it was used prior to the 2008 election and it has no link to any political campaign."

Brian Collins, chairman and chief creative officer at COLLINS:, a New York-based design and innovation firm, said both logos use the "same visual language," complete with two circles and three stripes.

"The Obama logo is filled with messages of hope, it's about looking toward an optimistic future," he said. "They've taken those exact elements and they've made them more technical."

Collins said the newer Missile Defense Agency logo simply took on more patriotic colors to convey its message more quickly and simply. But he doesn't think the creative minds at TMP Government had Obama in mind when they produced their governmental branding.

"I wouldn't buy the argument that it's an evolution of the Obama identity," Collins said. "There are similarities but I don't see the genesis in the Obama logo."