Yard signs are one of the most common features of modern political campaigns. Yet many candidates (even those for national office) miss the mark when it comes to designing and placing campaign signs for maximum effectiveness. Today, I’d like to go over 3 tips for designing your campaign’s yard signs, and 3 tips for placing your campaign signs to help you reach the voters in your district.
How to Design Effective Campaign Signs
The goal for your campaign signs is to help you increase your candidate’s name recognition, as well as to show voters that your campaign has widespread support. In order to accomplish these goals, you’ll need to make sure that you design yard signs that can effectively communicate your message:
Tip #1: Less is More
Don’t try to include lots of information on your yard signs. Most people will be seeing your yard signs from a car… if you try to include too much on your signs, voters won’t be able to read them in the short amount of time they are looking at them.
My suggestion is that you include just your name and the office you are seeking (e.g. “Jane Smith for District Attorney”) as well as any required legal disclaimers. You can also consider including your website URL if it is short and memorable… but nothing else. Campaigns that try to stuff their signs full of information make them unreadable for people passing by in a car.
Tip #2: Stick to Common Color Themes for Your Campaign Signs
Don’t get creative with your campaign sign color schemes. Most political yard signs have the same color schemes… blue and white, red and white, green and white, yellow and black, red, white and blue, etc. There’s a good reason for this: it’s because these color schemes are readable and look professional.
Use a common color theme for your yard signs. Most campaigns that choose uncommon color schemes for their signs later come to regret it, because those signs aren’t readable and don’t look like they were produced by a “serious” candidate for public office.
Tip #3: Use the 30/3 Test
I always advise candidates and campaign managers to use a simple test to make sure that their yard signs are readable. It’s called the 30/3 Test.
Have someone stand 30 feet away from you with your campaign sign hidden. Then have them flash the sign at you for 3 second, before hiding it again. See if you can clearly read everything on the sign. If not, you will need to redesign your sign to be more clear. This test approximates what someone sees when they drive by your yard signs in a car… they see your sign from about 30 feet, and only have about 3 seconds to focus on it. Use this test every time you produce a political sign for your campaign.
How to Place Your Yard Signs for Maximum Effectiveness
Once you have designed effective campaign yard signs, you’ll need to get them placed on as many lawns as possible to raise your candidate’s name recognition:
Tip #1: Put Together a Yard Sign Committee
One of the best ways to get your campaign signs placed in lots of different areas across the district is to put together a yard sign committee. This committee should be comprised of a number of your grassroots supporters, each of whom is tasked with getting their neighbors and friends to post your signs in their yards.
The members of this committee can not only reach out to their network to place signs, but can also be responsible for taking the yard signs to those who agree and reporting back to the campaign on the location of each yard sign they successfully place.
Tip #2: Place Campaign Signs While Going Door-to-Door
Your candidate and campaign volunteers should be prepared to place yard signs while going door-to-door and doing literature drops. While campaigning door-to-door and working out in the field, be on the look out for supporters who might be willing to place a campaign sign for you. When you find someone who supports your candidate, the best thing to do is to directly ask them if they would be willing to place a sign in their yard. If they agree, come back later that day to place the sign before they forget that they said yes!
Tip #3: Use “I’ll Take a Yard Sign!” Checkboxes
Another great way to get your supporters thinking about campaign signs is to include an “I’ll take a yard sign!” checkbox on your donor envelopes and on your campaign website. Use these checkboxes to allow your donors, volunteers, and other supporters to quickly and easily let you know that they would be willing to place a yard sign supporting your candidate. Then, collect the supporter’s address and have one of your team members go out to deliver the yard sign as soon as possible.
Photo Credit: TheDigitel Beaufort