Customizing stock campaign yard signs

[audio:|titles=Customizing stock campaign yard signs]


Hello and welcome to another episode of the Campaign Trail Yard Signs podcast.  Today we are talking about ideas that you can tell your supporters who are distributing on volunteer time or putting campaign signs on their own individual lawns.

This is something that as a campaign you’re probably not going to want to do because it takes some time, it is an extra thing.  But anybody who is requesting a yard sign or if you have a volunteer who is nuts about yard signs.  There are such people; I’m sure you have come across them already.

Something that you can do to put them to work or put a little extra pizzazz into what a campaign sign can do for you is in fact that to add some pizzazz to the sign.  Tell people who are putting your signs on their private property to decorate the sign in any way shape or form.  Doing this is just going to add extra attention to your sign.  The whole value of a yard sign to increase your name recognition as a candidate, so anything that you can do or that individual property owner can do to bring attention to those yard signs is going to increase the effectiveness of the sign to do what it is good at doing, which is increase your name ID among voters at large.

I’m going to offer some specific suggestions but you can just tell supporters to get creative with their own signs or you can offer a list of these suggestions and adding your own.  Hand out a sheet when you hand out a sheet about campaign yard sign laws and that type of thing, which you can go to our blog or check out the campaign trail yard signs articles on you’ll learn more about yard sign distribution laws.

But some of the suggestions that I have for your supporters to think about to kind of pimp their yard signs and to bring more attention to your name and the office that you’re seeking is to a) put garland up.  Some people are starting to break out their Christmas and other seasonal decorations.  Putting garland around the yard sign will bring attention to it.  When headlights go passed something like that it’s going to reflect a little bit.  Likewise, other holiday decorations are going to work.

(This was prerecorded.  At the time, people were starting to put decorations up!  I haven’t seen any here in May quite yet!)

If you got Christmas lights and you’re able to string them in and put some electric around there.  Or any type of lighting.  If you got a spotlight on your yard sign, that works out well.  You do want to check your local ordinances about lighting and what kind of lighting that you can out in your private property.  Usually, it’s not a problem but some municipalities have light pollution regulations that you need to keep in mind.

But for the most part, your supporters can put Christmas lights around it, can put a spotlight around it, can put those lights that are usually put around pathways, you can light them up and put them around the yard signs to make sure the sign is visible for 24 hours a day.  Or at least for most of the day until the solar power runs out on some of those!  For anything that you are plugging into the grid, such as a spotlight or that type of thing, that you can keep going 24 hours a day to bring attention to them when no other sign is going to be visible.

Or just sort of customize the sign.  What kind of constituency group is interested in it?  Maybe you have a strong following among sportsmen.  Well, encourage those individual sportsmen to go to the store, pick up some markers, pick up some posterboard, or even if they have some Coroplast, corrugated cardboard, something like that and write “sportsmen for.”  Adhere that to the yard sign.  Something custom, something homemade, something do it yourself like that, is really going to have an impact and is going to draw peoples’ eyes to that yard sign when they might have otherwise missed it.

This has been another real quick Campaign Trail Yard Signs podcast.  Good luck on your campaign and good luck on your campaign yard sign distribution!

Coroplast yard sign shapes

[audio:|titles=Coroplast yard sign shapes]

Welcome to the Campaign Trail Yard Signs podcast.  We’ve got a real quick one for you today.  Thanks for much for tuning in.  This is a real quick tip for you.
First, what we are going to discuss here real quick is what kind of shapes that you want for your yard signs.  Anything that you can do that is unique, that’s different is going to draw more attention to your yard sign.

The cheap and quick way no matter what kind of yard sign substrate that you are using, which is the coroplast the fold over or the plastic bag yard signs, is using extremly small or extremely large yard signs. So if you are doing traditional rectangle shaped yard signs; if you do it big or you do it small it’s going to stand out from other yard signs as an anamoly.
If you have decided that Coroplast or corrugated cardboard is the best option for your campaign.  Of course, if you haven’t done it I recommend checking out my ezine articles on ezinearticles dot com that are related to campaign yard signs substrate and I got those on the Campaign Trail Yard Signs blog as well.  So you can take a look a look at them on the blog that you’re listening to right now as part of the podcast.

Take a look at that, figure out what you want.  If you want corrugated plastic, you’ve got a lot of options as far as the shapes and sizes that you can do.  I have seen teachers who are running for school board that have an apple shaped yard sign.  People have had yard signs that are the shape of their state or district.  Otherwise, indicate the office that they are running for.  Candidates that are running for judge have had yard signs in the shape of all kinds that are related to legal issues whether that’s the scales of justice or other things that are related to the legal profession.

You can do that with your campaign.  That’s something to think about if you are using Coroplast.  The one quick caution that I have before you go ahead and make your own custom shape yard sign is not to look like a traffic control device.  In nearly all states and localities it is illegal to make a yard sign in the shape of a stop sign yield sign or any other type of traffic control device.  If you are going to do Coroplast and you are going to do something creative with the shape of the yard sign and it isn’t killing the budget to do so, great, go ahead and do that.  Just remember that one caution that you shouldn’t be making yard signs that look like traffic control devices.

Thanks for much.  Good luck in designing your yard sign and good luck in your campaign

Contrast Yard Sign Colors – How to Get Your Signs Seen

[audio:|titles=Contrasting election yard signs with scenery]

Contrast Yard Signs Colors – How to Get Your Signs Seen

Hello and welcome to another episode of the Campaign Trail Yard Sign podcast.  Thanks for tuning in.  I’ve got something else to think about with colors for your yard sign today.  First and foremost, you want to make sure that any colors or color that you choose are really contrasting, so if you are just going to do a one color yard signs you want to do a black, a brown, a purple something that’s really deep and rich that’s going to contrast with the white of the sign itself.  Or if you are using the yellow Coroplast sign something that’s going to contrast with that.  That’s generally going to be those same types of colors, those darker ones.

In addition to having contrast in the sign itself, within the color scheme itself, you want to make sure that the sign as a whole is going to be contrasting with the kind of environment that you are going to be distributing the signs.  That means if you are in a green, lush area in a primary or just at a time of year that your community is very green.

I have seen a lot of Green party members who have yard signs that are green to identify that they are a member of the Green party.  They stick that sign out along the side of the road with the green grass, with the green pine trees as a backdrop.  The sign will get lost even if the sign itself is easy to identify it’s going to get lost by the background colors that are there.

If you have an early primary or you are in a particularly harsh climate, the background or backdrop might be brown.  Or if you are in a more desert like area you are going to have a lot of tans, more neutral colors.

So when you are designing a sign you want to make sure that the design, when you’re designing on the computer screen or working with a graphic designer over the phone or getting emails back and forth, that the sign itself works but also that it’s going to work in the community in which you live.  Another example that just popped into my head is a coastal community.  You might actually have a lot of signs that are right along the waterfront or the ocean.  If you have a blue sign that’s in the intersection of a private property or an intersection that’s beachfront your sign might get lost in the ocean, the river, the lake whatever that might be because it’s a similar color.

So there are a lot of different things to consider when you are thinking about your district what colors are going to show up in your environment.  You want to make sure that your yard sign colors contrast in the yard sign itself and also in the environment in which you are running.

This has been another Campaign Trail Yard Signs podcast.  Thanks for tuning in.  Good luck!

Crazy Sign Designs – ‘Too Cute’ Signs

[audio:|titles=Campaign sign designs that are ‘too cute’]

Crazy Sign Designs – Oddball Signs That I’ve Seen

Hello and welcome to another episode of the Campaign Trail Yard Signs podcast.  Today we are going to talk about getting too cute with your yard signs.

In this last election season, I saw campaign signs from an independent Congressional candidate that said “who is the candidate’s name?”  Turns out if you went onto his website that he was a libertarian candidate with objectivist leanings.  “Who is blank” was a play on words to related to “who is John Galt,” which of course was the first line to Ayn Rand’s most famous work.

In addition to that, over multiple campaign seasons I have seen quilts.  Quilt sort of patterns on yard signs.  I have seen a potato on yard signs.  This potato had an in depth metaphor for what the campaign was about.  If you went onto the website, it explained more about the potato and what that meant to the candidate and what he was going to do with the campaign.

All of that stuff might be all well and good, it might be over the top, but it’s not the place for a yard sign.  In that first instance that I mentioned, “who is the candidate” I’ll just say Jane Smith.  “Who is Jane Smith?”  You don’t know that from the yard sign and you need to be able to know that.  Because you are asking a lot of investment from the average voters who sees this election sign and says “who is Jane Smith?”  I’m going to quick jot that down or I’m going to remember that until I get home from work.  Then I’m going to Google them and hope that they have a yard sign.  You’ve got to go through a lot of hoops to figure out who that person is.  Instead, you should be using yard signs just to tell them who that person is.

Now, in the other examples where the yard sign was meant to convey a really complex, complicated message, a metaphor for what the campaign was about.  Also, you are asking a lot of the voter to figure out what is this person doing, why is there a root or a vegetable on the yard signs, why there is some logo that has a deeper meaning.  You are asking too much from a voter who is trying to get from point A to point B.

I think a lot of ways we underestimate voters but when you are on your way to work, when you’re going to pick up groceries, or get your kid to soccer, or whatever else the case may be you don’t have the time or the extra effort to figure out who this random candidate is who has a complicated yard sign.

I recommend keeping it really simple, say who the candidate is, say what office they are running for, and leave complex messages or metaphors or allusions to great literary works to other media.

This has been another episode of Campaign Trail Yard Signs podcast, thanks for tuning in!

Are You Making This Yard Sign Design Mistake?

You might have noticed that most yard signs have a white border around the yard sign design.  Well, Wikipedia has the answer:

Bleed is a printing term that refers to printing that goes beyond the edge of the sheet after trimming. The bleed is the part on the side of your document that gives the printer that small amount of space to move around paper and design inconsistencies.

Bleeds in the USA generally are 1/8 of an inch from where the cut is to be made. Bleeds in the UK and Europe generally are 2 to 5mm from where the cut is to be made. This can vary from print company to print company. Some printers ask for specific sizes; most of these companies place the specific demands on their website.

There are certain print jobs where it’s okay to have a full bleed, where the design extends to the edge of the graphic, but for many print jobs it’s important to remember to leave an 1/8th of inch that printers need for cutting. No need to make this yard sign design mistake!

Breaking campaign sign rules podcast

[audio:|titles=Breaking campaign sign rules]


Welcome to another podcast for Campaign Trail Yard Signs.  Thanks I really appreciate you listening.  If you got to listen to couple of the other podcasts I keep them short and I keep them sweet.  I know particularly if you are in the heat of the campaign season you don’t have hours and hours to listen to every in depth detail about outdoor signage and how you are going to distribute it and all those other type of things.  Just like the actual blog posts we are going to keep them short and simple.  If you are looking for some more sophisticated, more in depth content, I recommend that you take a look at the really big, in depth articles on designing yard signs, how to distribute yard signs.  Those articles are right on the homepage and you can click on them here.

We’re focusing on quick little blurbs on our podcast and our on blog.  Today’s podcast is about breaking yard sign design rules.

Basically, for 99% of you.  You should be putting two pieces of information on your yard sign, the name of the candidate, preferably only the surname, and the office the candidate is looking for.  Whether that’s borough council, in fact you could probably knock off borough and put council.  So it would like “Smith – Council” or “Smith – Mayor.”  Just two pieces of information.

Based upon technology and based upon your district, there are two pieces of information that you can put on your yard sign that is worthwhile.  The technology piece is something called a QR code.  A QR code is basically a square looking, scannable, feature on your yard sign.  It’s different than your regular scanner in the supermarket and that sort of thing.  What this is really useful for is that most people who have a smartphone; like the Android phones, the Windows 7 phone, or the iPhone 4; have a barcode scanner on the phone that they can scan this QR code.  It will take them to a website on their mobile device.
Where this is really powerful for you, is you can set up a link that goes to a landing page or maybe even just your homepage but preferably to a landing page that says thank for scanning the QR code on my yard sign, do you want more information about the campaign, do you want to sign up to volunteer?  Are you expressing that you, yourself are a supporter?  So you can tip them off, “do you support so and so for such and such election, click on this QR code.”  They do that then they can fill out that information so that your campaign now knows that whoever that voter is now supporting the candidate, has expressed their support, you can take them off your direct mail list, you can take them off everything aside from GOTV.

You might want to contact them about a yard sign.  Maybe that’s your ask on the QR code.  “Want a yard sign, scan the QR code.”  Now you know that that person is on board.
So that’s one piece of information that you can consider putting on.  You have got know your district though.  Is this a district that has adopted cell phone technology or not?  If it has, there is a possibility here to do something innovative with your yard sign and perhaps get a few more people on board, distribute more yard signs, with your outdoor signage.

The other piece is your party affiliation.  What is interesting about this is for the most part it is superfluous.  In a competitive district where there are as many Republicans as Democrats, you don’t necessarily want to be particularly forthcoming about your political party or if you are in the minority party of the district especially.

But if you are in the far majority, let’s say you in a 80:20 Democratic district, you want to put on there that you are a Democrat.  Because in the fall election, most voters are going to go by that and see that he’s a Democrat and I’m a Democrat, that’s who I’m going to vote for.

And that’s also really powerful in a primary campaign because a good portion of your voters are going to be partisan.  That’s going to be the case in open primaries as well so long as there isn’t a huge shift of people to vote for a particular candidate who might have independent leanings but is running on a certain ballot.  In a primary situation where you expect conservative voters to come out on the Republican side and Liberal voters to come out on the Democratic side, you might be able to differentiate yourself slightly from the other candidates who aren’t willing to put their party affiliation on their yard sign.

Use that as an opportunity to say hey, look, I’m going to stand up for my principles, my party.  That could be putting the elephant up, that could be putting the donkey up, or that could be saying Democrat or Republican using text as well.  There is an opportunity there to be a true blue Democrat or died in the wool Republican.  In the fall election, if you have a strong margin on your political party that is a great opportunity there as well.

This has been another Campaign Trail Yard Signs podcast.  Thanks for much for tuning in.  If you have any questions you can always hit contact and reach me by phone, email, or otherwise.  Thanks again.  Buh-bye!

What are the best colors for campaign signs?

During election season and at polling places on Election Day, there are a lot of signs each trying to get the attention of voters.  One of the ways that a sign can stand out from the crowd is by choosing the best colors for campaign signs.

The most important factors to consider are:

  • Amount of contrast
  • Unique color choices
  • Branding across the campaign

Contrast is important in two respects.  First and most important, is that colors you choose should make the words on the sign as easily readable as possible.  If you are ordering one color signs, consider using a dark color that will contrast with the white background.  Great two color sign options are: black and yellow, black and orange, brown and yellow, blue and yellow, and others.

In addition to contrast on the sign, think about the district in which you are running.  Will you be posting signs on green grass with green woods as a backdrop?  Are you a coastal community with lots of blues or an arid area with lots of tans and browns?  In addition to contrasting the colors of the sign itself you will want to make sure that sign doesn’t blend in with its surroundings.

You’ll notice the two color choices that I recommended earlier didn’t include red, white, and blue.  To make a long story short, I understand why you would want to use patriotic colors but red, white, and blue will blend in with all of the other patriotic colored signs.  Consider using unusual colors such as brown, purple, and orange.  These underused colors will help make your political sign stand out from the crowd.

Finally and least important, is to consider how the sign works with other components of the campaign.  If possible, use fonts, colors, logos, and other shapes that correspond to the campaign website, direct mail, and other ways that you use to communicate with voters.

Best Colors for Campaign Signs

To make a long story short, the best colors are:

  1. Orange
  2. Yellow so long as you are pairing with a dark color like black
  3. Green
  4. Purple
  5. Brown
  6. Black
  7. Gray so long as the shade contrasts with the white background or is paired with another contrasting color

Campaign Sign Shapes

Campaign sign color options on color wheel
Color wheel

Are you interested in doing something creative with your yard sign that will make your campaign’s election sign stand out from the crowd?

Using a unique shape is one way to do it.

There are a few important things to consider first.  The fundamental one is that you can only achieve unique shapes with corrugated plastic signs.  Be sure to determine whether corrugated plastic or some other type of sign like cardboard and plastic bag signs is the best substrate for your campaign.

If corrugated plastic isn’t the best option for the campaign, nor is having a uniquely shaped sign.  The other thing to keep in mind is that they are going to cost you more.  Frankly, for the most part, being limited to coroplast and absorbing the extra cost isn’t worth the benefit, but if the corrugated plastic is the right choice for your campaign and you have the financial resources for the extra cost, go for it!

It’s best to choose something meaningful.  While changing to a triangle or another basic geometric shape will make you stand out, you might as well use the shape to convey a message.  Perhaps it’s to help voters understand what you’re running for such as by using an apple for school board director or a gavel for judge.

Another way to communicate information through sign shape is to choose the shape of the state or district that you’re running in.

How NOT to design a yard sign

This is a great video from a Republican firm on how not to design a yard sign.  Take a look at the video or read the transcript below:

Hey guys, Wesley and Michael here, Michael is the guy behind the camera, from Donehue Direct.

We talk a lot about the internet on these videos but today we want to go back to the basics and talk about yard signs.  In particular, we want to talk about what not to do with your yard sign.

Now, I really like Mrs. Katherine Jenerette, she’s a good lady I’ve known for a long time and as you can see, she is a very pretty lady.  Although she’s been using this picture for about fifteen years.

But check this yard sign out.  Let’s say you’re driving by in a Land Rover, like I drive, or a Mustang, very fast, like Michael drives, and you’re just zooming past this yard sign in your Mustang.  Please tell me how in the world you’re going to read all of this?

“Mister Congressman isn’t always a mister.”  True and catchy but … “US Army, veteran Persian Gulf war, US Congressional field representative, mother of four, drives a pick up truck, history professor, paratrooper, etc.” and then down here again at the bottom “US Army, paratrooper, NMB planning commissioner,” whatever that means, “USC CCU NCAA track honors, 1st Congressional District South Carolina.”

Come on.  This is a yard sign.  This isn’t a mail piece, a pamphlet, or some sort of a hand out.  Katherine, this is way too much.  If you are watching this video…  You know what, the picture is cool, stick with the picture and the logo.  Or better yet, just the logo and maybe your website because this right here is insane.  Thanks.