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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Grading the candidates' materials, part I: Yard signs
Today's bloggerPresumably we've all by now seen more than our share of signs and literature for candidates across Georgia for everything from governor to school board. Some of it sucks, some of it is great. Here's a rundown of the yard signs, including some memorable signage from the primary (feel free to chime in with some signs you know and love/hate):

  • Mark Taylor – Grade: B+. I'm not crazy about the color scheme Mark chose for his campaign – purple/blue/something and green, with white text – but the yard signs win big originality points for not looking anything like any other campaign's yard signs, which is a big deal because...

  • Cathy Cox – Grade: A. Cathy's signs looked great, which I suppose is thanks to the design skills of Melanie Goux. The only problem with Cathy's signs was that everyone else thought they looked great too, or maybe they just all hired Melanie to do their campaign logos. In any case, the end result was campaigns from Shyam Reddy to Melanie Eyre to Doug Stoner (and probably all sorts of people all over Georgia) putting out signs with similar “swooshy” logos, which looked great but boringly similar to so many signs already out there.

  • Sonny Perdue – Grade: B-. Sonny gets points for nice, small, economical signs to plaster the state with – we've all seen the damn things, I'm sure – but they're the vanilla of yard signs. I'm not including the Mega Signs that you see occasionally, because of course Mega Signs are going to look better.

  • Jim Martin – Grade: A. Jim's signs are both distinct from the Cathy Cox-inspired signs and good looking, and they've got the standard red/white/blue motif that is tried and true because it works. They're eye-catching and they say MARTIN in nice big letters. In other words, you couldn't ask them to do anything more.

  • Greg Hecht – Grade: D+. Greg's yard signs were pretty pitiful all around. They did say HECHT but they also added an exclamation point, part of Greg's “Give 'Em Hecht” campaign, which was so cheesy that it could have carried Wisconsin but was utterly lame in a normal state like Georgia. Also, a fair number of them inexplicably used blue text with a white outline on a red background, which felt like looking at one of those stupid optical illusion things where you can't look at them for more than a few seconds before you think you've been drinking, because of all the freaky pulsating contrasting colors. A crappy effort from a crappy campaign.

  • Casey Cagle – Grade: B-. Casey's signs have that rather odd-looking outline '06 on them, which I don't really like. What, is he afraid that people are going to try to vote for him in 2008? Or that some brainiac is going to an invent a time machine and go back to 2004 and say “Hey, all I see is Bush and Kerry, where is this Cagle dude?” The election year belongs in your web site URL, not on your campaign signs. Other than that they're kind of average.

  • Karen Handel, Tommy Irvin – Grade: B-. Karen and Tommy have both gone with green with white text, which makes a little more sense in Tommy's case (Green? Agriculture? Get it? Ha ha!) but still doesn't look all that great for a political sign. Passable. (Gary Black gets a B because the black (ha ha, get it? These puns are killing me) improves the look a bit, but his signs are still mostly green.)

  • Jack Kemp - Grade: F. Ok, so the signs themselves don't really look so bad, but why is it that there is STILL a freaking HUGE Jack Kemp sign at a major intersection in Melanie Eyre's district (house 46)? I mean come ON. If I were a Republican I'd tear the damn thing down for fear that one of my soccer mom constituents might not see the "Runoff August 8" sticker on the sign and look for Kemp on the November ballot, but I guess as a Democrat I'm ok with Republicans not having a clue what's going on.

  • Michael Thurmond – Grade: C. Michael's a super guy, but his signs (at least the ones I remember seeing on the way to the Georgia Democratic Convention looked pretty unimpressive. There was some kind of pinkish-red font (that I think has now been changed) and white text on a purple rectangle on a white background. I think the folks on Trading Spaces could have fixed them right up, but alas, they were not consulted.

  • Brent Brown – Grade: B-. Brent's signs are ubiquitous on my morning commute, but it took me three or four tries of concerted looking to actually see his name so I could remember it. The problem? The font is too thin. You want BOLD so people can read the thing from space, let alone from the Northside Drive exit off 75 as you're concentrating on not screaming because traffic is backed up at the exit again.

  • Jan Hackney (House 48) – Grade: C+. Jan is the Young Democrats' featured candidate and she is fantastic, but her signs just have too much text on them. NO ONE reads the text on yard signs, so you may as well just put your name on them in the biggest font you can slap on the things and hope for the best. The colors are good, and her T-shirts look much better, at least.

  • RuthE Levy (Senate 32) – Grade: B-. RuthE (E is for “Extremely Odd Looking Unless You've Gotten the 'E' Campaign Speech”) is a veteran and quite frankly I sort of like the little planes on her signs. Yeah, they're cheesy, but if Sonny can score with the “Sonny Do List” for crying out loud, we can safely assume that the electorate does not care one iota about cheesy yard sign gimmicks. My beef with RuthE's signs is that the red text on white background is thin font and hard to read. BOLD people!

  • Steve Sinton (U.S. House, 6th) – Grade: C+. Steve's signs (and his logo) have a funny little thing going on with the “O”, like you stuffed the blue part of an American flag into an O and called it macaroni, and it's just plain hard to see that “Oh, his name is SintON, not Sint with some strange logo stuff and an 'N'”. Fancy on your web site? Sure. Keep the yard signs simple.
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posted by Ataru Atlanta at 10/10/2006 09:26:00 PM


Blogger MelGX said...

Great post Benson! Any man who notices campaign identities is after my own heart. And thanks for the good grade for CC's stuff. The only other candidate on your list I designed for was Melanie Eyre. The rest are...ahem...let's just say they are “homages”.

Remind me to tell you a story about this.

10/11/2006 01:07:00 AM  
Anonymous shelby said...

At least Jan's new styling is a big improvement over the PRC-themed '04 signs. Hard for me to say more without more data - I haven't seen most of these signs, or at least I don't remember them.

When's the website edition?!?! :-D [cracking knuckles]

10/11/2006 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger Ed Hula III said...

I thought you designed all those swooshy logos...which is good to know because I was thinking you just kept recycling designs.

10/11/2006 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger MelGX said...

Nope, I've only done a few this cycle: Cathy Cox, TJ Copeland, Darryl O. Wilson, Dee Haigler, Danita Knowles, Melanie Eyre, and the original Scott Holcomb. I tweaked Lauren Benedict's logo, but the basic design was already done. Much of my campaign work looks very similar though. Basically, I like big ass font and a bouncy graphic element.

Campaign logos can't be very complex because they must hold up against poor printing, unusual applications, etc. The cleaner they are, the better.

It's funny that Benson mentioned the big '06 on Cagle's signs. This is something only Republicans do, and they do it consistently. I've never understood it, but maybe it has some "conservative" significance. It's code for "vote for me or you won't live to see '07".

10/11/2006 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger Ed Hula III said...

well, I liked all of those designs and most of those candidates :D.

10/11/2006 12:02:00 PM  

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