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Have you looked at how much yard signs cost? They’re about $7 each, unless you order a few hundred, then they’re only $3.50. Gee, what a deal!* The standard yard sign is the Gill #192. It’s 26” wide by 16” tall, sealed on three sides and comes with a steel wire shaped like a giant staple. Here are a few simple ways to cut costs and maximize benefit of this necessary evil on the campaign trail.**

A. All they need to see is your name, so don’t blow the budget on signs. Unless you’re campaigning for Federal office and have millions of dollars flowing through your campaign coffers, just stick to a 1-color sign. To add some depth and dimension, you can use gradients of that color so it looks like you have different colored stars, or your first name is in a different shade of the base color. Gradations can accomplish similar impact as a 2-color sign and you save 1/3+ of the cost.

  1. Consider the season in your color scheme – if you’re running in a spring election, avoid green shades that blend in with grass. Unless your last name is Green, and then, well, duh. (Here’s looking at you, Cindy Green!)
  2. Consider sports teams in your district – orange may not be your favorite color, but if your district has a large 35-55 age demographic, they’ll identify with the local high school colors and mascots. This is especially appropriate for school board races.

B. Size matters.

  1. Stand out from the crowd: Go for a square sign, a tall & skinny sign, or if you’re running a bigger race and buying 1000+ signs, go for a die-cut sign: schoolhouse, pencil, checkmark, etc. If you’re going to go bigger than the standard 16 x 26 sign, try a 2 x 4’ or 4 x 8’ for storefronts, or…
  2. GO REALLY BIG!!! In geographically large areas (think KS Senate 15, 17, 33, 35, 36, 38, 39 & 40) with major thoroughfares, I’m a big fan of billboards. They’re VERY affordable, especially for the face-time you get with voters. Avoid the electronic boards, you pay more for less air time because they’re trendy. Depending on the number of clients on the board, voters may not even see your ad as they whiz past.

C. Sign Feng Shui– design & text

  1. District numbers. Seriously? Did you know yours before you were politically involved? Didn’t think so… Don’t put it on your sign. Focus on the name – if a voter lives in your district, they’ll see your name on the ballot and you want them to remember that, not an irrelevant number.
  2. If you have a short last name, get the type as large as possible!
  3. If you have a common name (Smith, Jones), increase the size of your first name so it is equally visible as your last name.
  4. Campaigning on a unique first name can be dangerous. It has to be REALLY unique. Just ask KS Rep. Virgil Peck, who beat Virgil Horn in 2008… *If you need yard signs for the 2012 campaign, call me ASAP – yard signs are on sale up to $0.60 off per sign through the end of February!

*If you need yard signs for the 2012 campaign, call me ASAP – yard signs are on sale up to $0.60 off per sign through the end of February!

**My opposition to yard signs for certain races is well-documented (http://www.stephaniesharp.com/issues/archives-2003-2009/the-sharp-record-2009/the-sharp-record-april-5-2009). They have their place (NOT IN THE RIGHT-OF-WAY) and can be effective when used appropriately. I recommend them for high-density races – city council, school board, State Representative and most State Senate races.

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