I recently noticed that William "Bill" Johnson, the 'Traditional Democrat" candidate for Congress here in CD 8, put up street signs. I also noticed they are totally inept. Take a gander:
There is one simple rule for such signage. You have to be able to read the last name and the office at a glance. Little else matters. Note the the former is impossible and the later unlikely. These signs are effectively useless.
Now, look closely. Notice any union bug? Me either.
Johnson swears up and down that he's a real Democrat, not some crypto-fascist racist infiltator, but I don't actually see the word Democrat anywhere on his sign. How serious can you be about your party affiliation if you don't put it in your media? ::waiving arms wildly:: Please take note of this point Mr. Pederson and Ms. Giffords. You both have also notoriously 'forgotten' to note your party affiliation in some of your media. You guys don't really want to be pulling the same stunts as Mr. Johnson, do you? Can't you at least wait to chase the Independent vote until AFTER your primaries?
Most political professionals are dubious about the value of signage. But they make supporters more comfortable, because it is expected that a viable candidate will do street signs. It MIGHT aid in name recognition, but even that's debatable.
My belief is that signage has two functions, they serve to identify supporters when placed at a home (which can be pursuasive if lots of people in your neighborhood, who are presuambly like you and whom you might actually know and respect, have put up a sign), and they can communicate an image of professionalism. They can also, if done well, covey certain intangible messages about the personality of the candidate to viewers, such as trustworthiness, good taste, focus, and group affiliations. At their best and most creative, they might prompt a viewer to learn more about a candidate.
At best, "Bill"'s signs might reassure his existing supporters, of whom I am only aware of one: his manager Russ "the sovereign" Dove. If signage indeed has any effect, these are most likely to have a negative impact.
Look at how these signs appear in context, and at a viewing distance one might optimistically expect a typical motorist to be:
At best, a glance might pick up the ambiguous, and entirely unhelpful message: "BILL". You might think there is a bill for Congress, a confusing message at best. Is there some bill pending before Congress? Some dude named Bill is running for Congress? Bill who? Who cares?
The signs also fail to make any positive impression on professionalism or design, either. Couldn't they have spent a few bones for a real graphic artist, rather than a monkey with PC? I've seen Justice of the Peace signage more interesting and professional looking. Simple competence isn't too high a mark to expect for a Congressional campaign, is it?
One can barely imagine that the creator and subject of such low-rent design and bargain-basement stock might be running for anything as exaulted as United States Congress; local dog-catcher seems more likely. If this is what "Bill" is getting the 15 grand he dropped on Russ Dove (and the 150K of self-financing Russ boasts "Bill" is prepared to drop on the race), I have to wonder where the money is going.
If I get a bug up it in the coming days, I might take some photos of some of the signage sprouting on street corners and critique some of the best and worse. I don't know if any of you will be interested, but it might amuse me: sort of like Go Fugg Yourself for street signage.