8 Campaign Sign Design Elements

Designing a political yard signs is simple. There are two important components: the candidate name and the office sought. The purpose of campaign sign design is to display those pieces of information as clearly as possible.

Campaign Sign Design

Following the best practices of these eight yard sign design elements, will make the process of designing your political yard signs easy. Using the best practices for these campaign sign design elements will also make your lawn signs more effective than your opponent’s in the field.


  • Campaign lawn sign ad copy: The fewer the words the better. Candidate name and office sought are the only pieces of information necessary. Using the fewest words possible makes the candidate name and office sought easier to read. While pedestrians may take the time to read a sign that incorporates a candidate’s website, logo, or other information it’s nearly impossible for a driver to do so. There is debate whether candidates with common surnames should include their first name. Personally, I wouldn’t use the candidate’s first name unless, in the off chance, that you share a last name with your opponent.
  • Font on campaign lawn signs: The bigger the better. If you judiciously chose the words on the yard sign, the candidate name and office sought can be printed large and with a bold font. These font principles make lawn signs easy for voters driving by to see.
  • Border on campaign lawn signs: Borders on campaign signs are nearly universal, but using a border around the font is less so. Using a border around yard sign copy is great for two reasons: it will help the words to pop from the yard sign and it may reduce costs as many printers will charge more if there is a bleed between two colors on yard signs.
  • Shape of campaign lawn signs: The less traditional the better. Using a unique sign shape, however, is hard to find unless you are buying corrugated plastic, or Coroplast, yard signs. If you decide that Coroplast is the best type of sign for your campaign, then experiment with different shapes to stand out from other signs and get noticed.
  • Size of campaign lawn signs: The bigger the better. The bigger the yard sign the easier it is to read. Also, a sign that is much bigger than an ordinary political yard sign will stand out from the myriad of other lawn signs that are traditional sizes.
  • Best colors for campaign signs: The more contrast the better. The more contrast from the green grass or color of homes in the neighborhood the more likely your yard sign will be noticed. Orange and black contrast with each other most. Unfortunately, Halloween already has a lock on this color scheme. Instead opt for yellow and black or orange and blue.

  • Material of campaign lawn signs: Yard signs comes in corrugated plastic, paperboard, or plastic poly bag. There’s a lot too choosing the right kind of yard signs, but some basic pointers are to use corrugated plastic if you would like a unique shape, paperboard is the traditional choice, and poly bag is durable.
  • Frame for campaign lawn signs: Corrugated plastic must use an H frame design, poly bag lawn signs use an I frame, and paperboard or cardboard signs can use either an I frame or wooden stake frame. Frame sizes vary to fit the campaign lawn sign.

Yard signs can be a do-it-yourself project if you follow a few political campaign design guidelines. Badly designed signs, however, won’t have any impact on the election because voters won’t be able to see what campaign the sign is representing. A badly designed lawn sign is like having no sign at all. Bad designs are mostly the result of attempting to use yard signs for a purpose that they weren’t designed for. Some of the most common are:

  • Branding: Unless you can incorporate the campaign logo or web address cleanly within and without detracting from the candidate name or office don’t add this information.
  • Messaging: Space is at a premium on lawn signs. There simply isn’t room for a campaign slogan, issues important to the campaign, why the candidate is running, or what the candidate will do once in office.
  • Contact Information: There also isn’t room for campaign contact information. Today’s campaigns are smart to create a conversation about their candidacy, use social media tools, and otherwise leverage grassroots supporters and ideas, but yard signs aren’t suited for this.

To see how these best practices impact signs, let’s analyze a few signs.

Candidate Yard Sign – Mason for Board of Selectman

Mason for Selectman campaign sign design.

  • Words on campaign lawn signs: ‘Board of Selectman’ is a long office title. Only using the word Selectman would have signalled the same office to voters and the candidate would have been able to increase the size of the office.
  • Font on campaign lawn signs: Mason should have used a bolder font that would have been easier for drivers to see from the road.
  • Color of campaign lawn signs: This sign is blue and white, which does have a high amount of contrast. Depending upon what colors other candidates were using in the area, I’d recommend using colors other than red, white, and blue, which can get lost in the many other signs with patriotic colors.
  • Shape of campaign lawn signs: Standard.
  • Size of campaign lawn signs: Standard.
  • Material of campaign lawn signs: Cardboard.
  • Frame for campaign lawn signs: Standard I frame.

Candidate Yard Sign – Kaler for State Senate

Kaler for state senate campaign sign design.

  • Words on campaign lawn signs –This yard sign does it right. While the candidate does have his first name on the sign, there is little he could do to make his last name and the office that he is running for larger, so there was room for some extras. That said, I would have rather seen a call to action there like ‘Vote,’ ‘Re-elect,’ or ‘Google.’
  • Font on campaign lawn signs – The font is big and bold especially for the candidate surname.
  • Color of campaign lawn signs – The color choices are great: lots of contrast and will draw the attention of voters.
  • Shape of campaign lawn signs: Standard.
  • Size of campaign lawn signs: Standard.
  • Material of campaign lawn signs: Cardboard.
  • Frame for campaign lawn signs: Standard I frame.

Candidate Yard Sign – Brilliant for Town Selectman

Brilliant for Town Selectman campaign sign design.

  • Words on campaign lawn signs: You certainly can tell what you want voters to do on this sign! On the other hand, it’s a lot harder to tell who the campaign wants voters to vote for if someone isn’t able to pay attention to the sign for a few seconds. I’d scrap the ‘Vote for,’ double the size of ‘Brilliant,’ and then see what space might be available from there.
  • Font on campaign lawn signs: Good font choices for both the candidate name the office. Since the fonts are different, it adds interest to both the name and the office.
  • Color of campaign lawn signs: I’m a big fan of purple signs! Tell me another sign that looks like this one? This sign will stand out from the ground and capture the attention of voters.
  • Shape of campaign lawn signs: Standard.
  • Size of campaign lawn signs: Standard.
  • Material of campaign lawn signs: Corrugated plastic.
  • Frame for campaign lawn signs: Standard I frame.

Conclusion

The two key concepts to consider when designing yard signs are to differentiate your campaign bandit signs from the host of other standard red, white and blue that are being distributed and to make the candidate name and office sought as clear as possible.

Use the eight elements of campaign sign design to think about how your campaign’s ideal lawn sign will look. This is a great tool to get your design organized to ensure that you are ordering a well-thought-out yard sign.