What Your Printer Knows About Campaign Sign Colors That You Don’t

Choosing the color or colors on your political campaign sign will make a big difference in whether the sign makes an impact with voters or not, but it’s also important to choose a color that your printer will appreciate too! The two most common color coding systems that you will encounter on the campaign trail are the Pantone Color Matching System (PMS) or 4 color process, which mixes combinations of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK) to create other colors.

Especially if you are doing a larger run and omitting expensive and unnecessary options like a image of the candidate, CMYK is the most common of the two. Pantone colors are very specific and they are used to maintain consistency over a broad range of mediums and print jobs, so they are ideal if color matching is essential. Process color, on the other hand, is the most economical option for large runs of most political printing including direct mail and yard signs.

Truth be told your campaign sign printer will be able to handle whatever color matching issue you have, but at a price. It’s best to choose from this palette of colors, so that you know what exact colors that you have on your yard sign. There are hundreds of colors to choose from and this list includes both the PMS number and the CMYK values for you to share with your graphic designer and sign printer.

pantone color chart
Color Chart courtesy of Wikipedia

For a full list of available Pantone colors and RGB Hex values for process colors, there are a number of resources available online including this one. If you find a PMS color or a 4 color process color and need to convert it to one or other to give you graphic designer or printer guidance, there are a number of free color conversion tools available.

Patriotic Campaign Signs – The Best and Worst Colors for Your Sign

There is something satisfying about putting red, white, and blue on your campaign yard signs. As a candidate, patriotic campaign signs make sense because you’re a patriot and you want voters to know it. I recommend, then, taking a step back and seeing how these colors work based on the factors of a good campaign sign color choice. The most important factors to consider are:

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

The more contrast on the sign the easier it is to read your campaign yard sign. The more unique the sign the easier it is to notice the sign more generally and among the sea of other signs. Finally, the more congruent the branding the easier it is for the voter to connect your campaign sign with the other ways that you are contacting them.

So how do red, white, and blue fair on three factors: contrast, uniqueness, and branding. In some ways, not too badly. Red and blue are easy to read on a campaign sign. Depending upon the rest of the campaign’s political marketing, those colors work well with the rest of the candidate’s brand. Unfortunately, they fail terribly at uniqueness. In fact, there is so little differentiation from the rest of the ticket for all parties that it also impacts contrast in a way.

Patriotic colored signs lack contrast between signs. Therefore, red, white, and blue signs fail to meet at least two out of three of the most important color choice factors for your signs. Do you and your campaign a favor and choose campaign yard sign colors that other campaigns aren’t using.

You can view a PDF of these slides at Scribd and download it there.

Patriotic Colors on Your Campaign Sign

Sign Design Contest Winner

I’ m excited to announce our campaign sign design contest winner. Congratulations to Brian Hetrick!

Thank you to the dozens of people who participated in the sweepstakes! If you signed up for our mailing list and to receive the 3 Pillar of Political Campaign ecourse, I trust that you are getting value from the content. Stay tuned, Campaign Trail Yard Signs will offer more sweepstakes in the future.


3 Tips for Campaign Signs in Open Seats

Running in an open seat, has its own challenges. For campaign signs, it’s important to keep in mind that all candidates will have low name recognition, so campaign yard signs and other tactics to increase candidate name identification are doubly important.

Video Notes

First, does the outgoing elected official have a good reputation? If the person leaving office is well-respected in the community, consider branding yourself similarly. If the outgoing official had, for example, used fold over signs that were brown, consider using the same type of sign and use the same color. Of course, if the elected official wasn’t popular or left disgraced, you should pay special attention to differentiate yourself from the outgoing official. You can use the power of mimicry or differentiation to your advantage not just with the candidate that you are running against but also to identify or disassociate yourself from the outgoing official.

It’s best to avoid indicating your party affiliation on a campaign lawn sign particularly in a competitive seat, but in the case of open seats that strongly favor a certain party, referring to a political party can help. One of the benefits of political parties in American politics is that they are a shortcut for voters. In general, when a voter knows a candidate’s party affiliation they make assumptions, that are usually correct, about the person’s views on issues and general approach to governing. Candidates that indicate their party affiliation on campaign signs help voters make assumptions about who you are as a candidate, which is useful when you are a member of the majority party in the district and have low name ID.

Finally, open seats are characterized by candidates with low name recognition. The principle benefit of campaign yard signs is that they increase candidate name ID, so get campaign signs out early. Candidates should increase their name identification as early and significantly as possible, so that the campaign can move onto to identifying who voters’ support in the election, persuading undecided voters, and ultimately getting your supporters out to the vote on Election Day.

Slideshow Notes

Check out the slideshow for the Cliff Notes version of these tips for campaign yard signs in open seats:

I recommend campaign yard signs that will help increase your candidate name recognition if your running in an open seat. Check out the campaign signs by clicking here.

Design Your Campaign Yard Sign, And The Rest Will Follow

This is a guest post from www.onlinecandidate.com

Campaign yard signs are an important element in local campaigning. Over time, a single campaign sign can be seen by hundreds or even thousands of people. Multiply that effect by the total number of yard signs promoting a campaign, and you have a powerful way to build candidate name recognition.

For several reasons, consider designing your campaign sign logo early in the campaign. It’s easier to design a yard sign and use it as the basis for your campaign website and print material designs.

You are initially creating your sign as the foundation for a consistent ‘brand’. For branding purposes, you are looking to use a particular color scheme and font.

Use a common typeface. Sure, they may be ‘boring’, but they are used for a reason – they work. Only use one color or perhaps two colors if you have the budget. Three or more colors is a waste of money and can make your signs difficult to read.

Many times a candidate will put “Vote For” along with a few lines, a couple lines, a moon, and maybe a firework burst. A lot of that is just clutter and takes away from your sign’s main purpose – name recognition. Try incorporating just one simple but original graphic element. It might be tough, but if it’s done right, the sign will look great and will be memorable to those who see it.

You rarely see a candidate head shot on a campaign sign, but almost every political website has the candidate’s photo incorporated into the header. When combined with a campaign’s sign design and colors, there is a powerful branding effect. Carry that over to your print material, and you’ll have a consistent theme that will help improve voter identification and recognition!

Finally, if your name is appearing on the ballot as “John Q. Smith”, be sure that your campaign sings, website and promotional materials match consistently. This helps build name brand identification and avoid voter confusion. In the case of write-in ballots, voters are more likely to use the correct version of your name.

Online Candidate provides political campaign websites for candidates running for local office. For one low price, you can have a quality website designed to effectively broadcast your campaign message 24/7.

Yard Signs on a Budget

Save Money Vacation

Every campaign has limited resources and it’s the campaigns that use their volunteer and financial resources wisely that win. Campaigns that are looking to stretch their political lawn sign dollar can take a few common sense steps that will save them thousands of dollars on signs.

Pick the Right Size and Type

One of the decisions that you will make that affect price is choosing the right size and type of yard sign. If you have a shorter last name, pick a smaller yard sign. Depending upon the size of your order, choose the most economical substrate: fold over signs, plastic bag signs, or corrugated plastic.

The least expensive option for small campaigns is corrugated plastic while medium sized campaigns will find that the fold over or cardboard yard signs are going to be the cheapest. For the largest orders, bag signs are often your best bet.

One Color Printing

The second important factor is whether to use one or more colors on the campaign lawn sign. The savings can really add up by limiting the number of colors that you are using on a sign. To give you an idea, a recent quote ballooned from $2,000 to $2,800 going from one color to two. Differences like this are not uncommon.

One or Two Sided Printing

Another way to reduce costs is to limit the printed surface to one side. Usually, you’re best option is to print on both sides since your cost per printed side will be less. But there are times where printers will offer great deals on one sided printing or in the case that the budget just doesn’t allow you can print one side. Campaign should keep in mind, however, that the sign will be less effective than if it had printing on both sides.

Simples Changes Save Big

To make a long story short, two simple changes will save political campaigns a lot of money when ordering signs: pick the right type of sign and choose one color printing. These are changes that won’t affect the impact of your signs and will significantly reduce the budget for political signs.

Yard Sign Design Rules – Guidelines for Political Campaigns

Campaign Yard Sign Disclaimer

Designing campaign signs is almost too easy to get right! Many political campaigns often make yard signs too complicated and dillute the impact that the sign has on voters. There are two important design elements that if campaigns’ follow will have signs that are much more effective than most other campaign yard signsincluding your competitor’s.

Yard Sign Content: Candidate Name and Office Sought

With few exceptions, political candidate yard signs should only include the last name of the candidate who is running and the simplest way to indicate the office that the candidate is running for. This is important because you shouldn’t design the sign for what the most attractive looking sign but instead design a sign that is most easily seen from the road by commuters and other travelers.

For example, this is a good way to indicate that Smith is running for judge:



On the other hand, campaigns should avoid putting in superfluous words like this:

Vote Smith for the

office of Judge

Finally, depending upon the office that you are seeking and the state that you are running in, you will have to add a disclaimer to your yard sign indicating who funded the purchase of the signs.

Stark Color Contrast

In addition to keeping the content simple so that it’s easier for voters to read who are driving by, it’s also important to choose a color or colors that have a strong contrast for the same reason.

Black, brown, dark purple, dark blue, red along with white or yellow work well.

Political campaigns should avoid colors that contrast less such as green and yellow or red and orange.

Sign Design Rules

There are other yard sign design elements but following these two most fundamental rules will help political campaigns design yard signs that voters will notice when they are driving in the neighborhood. Other more advanced elements to consider are font, border, shape, size, material, and type of frame. Designing an effective sign will also incorporate elements of the campaign message and brand into the sign.

Campaign signs and hilarious political signs

Short and sweet. Two lists posts that I found to share with you.

Campaign yard sign analysis from Worcester candidates in 2010. There are a number of them with some commentary from the author.

So you may or may not agree with the political sentiment of these primarily homemade signs but I’m sure that more than one will make you laugh.

Bonus oldie but goodie. Obama yard signs on UStream draws hundreds of viewers, for no good reason.