Campaign Signs 411

Insuring name recognition when the voter steps into the voting booth is priceless, and name recognition is the biggest product of yard signs. So, let’ s take a closer look at the yard sign.

1. Should my yard sign include party affiliation?
If your campaign involves a setting where party affiliation is even more important than the candidates themselves, the R (Republican) and D (Democrat) is quite important. Using party affiliation is excellent if the majority of voters are from the same party but less effective if you are in the minority.

2. What is the rule of thumb with pictures on a yard sign?
Yes, pictures are nice and can be flattering, however they also take up valuable space and can be quite distracting. Research has shown that potential voters remember the great-looking pic, but won’ t be able to tell you the candidate’ s name. In your jurisdictions, photos are probably not on the ballot.

3. I’ ve got a great slogan…
Slogans on yard signs? Save it for direct mailing, television, radio, newspaper or other media that do not require visual & cognitive recognition in 1 - 3 seconds. If it’ s absolutely essential to the integrity of your campaign, make it large enough to be read by walkers or stopped traffic, but not so large as to compromise name visibility. And remember, slogans are not on the ballot.

4. How about verbal imperatives (i.e. Re-elect, elect, vote, keep)?
Think of your yard sign as a resume. You are trying to get a job. Avoid misleading language… Therefore, make sure you accurately state your current position as it relates to the office. Generally, emphasize your success (re-elect, retain, keep), and minimize your lack of experience (elect, vote for).

5. Is a Union Label needed?
A Union Label (also known as a “ union bug” ) printed on your signs is important in some communities and with some voter constituencies. If a union bug is desired, confirm that the company supplying your signs is a union shop and has the legal right to use the union identification in question. You should never have to pay extra for a legitimate union label from a legitimate manufacturer. Republican, Democrat or Independent, it’ s best to print with a union shop.

6. What about graphic design techniques on my yard sign?
Remember, anything that compromises the ability to read the important elements of the yard sign should be avoided. Gradations, vignette, multiple dropped shadows, etc are very effective in TV and direct mail, but have limited if not negative impact when included on yard signs. Don’ t be concerned if all of your campaign materials match perfectly. Be concerned that all of your media efforts are effective and memorable!