Franzi’s Blog: Political signs 101, 7-14-16
By Emil Franzi
As promised here’s the latest crop of political signage springing up at nearly every intersection in Tucson and Pima County.
The 2016 batch of signs are collectively the worst I have seen in several cycles.
Please note the basics of a political sign.
Almost all are designed to be placed in high vehicular travel areas. Yard signs are secondary and their purpose different – they are there to let friends and neighbors know that you support a candidate and hopefully encourage discussion.
- The three most important items on the sign are the last name, the office sought, and if a primary, a party symbol or something similar like a union bug for the Dems. USE THICK LETTERS – they carry further.
- Anything detracting from the above such as photos of the candidate or slogans eat space. Make the last name big and work from there. Clever designs and artsy fartsy is superfluous. Photos are not on the ballot – name, office and party are.
- The idea is simple. The bigger the name, the further away it can be read. Meaning the more eyeball time voters have on it.
- The bigger the sign, the higher the cost and the greater the expense when lost. Every election has some sign vandalism, more often from the general population than political opponents. Signs get destroyed or taken out for the following reasons:
WIND. ILLEGAL PLACEMENT. VANDALISM. POOR CONSTRUCTION.
Now here’s some from the first batch reviewed on the northwest side:
KIEHNE LARGE A-
You can see that puppy from a distance. The slogan is so small it’s irrelevant and it’s a minus for not having an elephant or another party symbol – it’s a partisan campaign in a GOP district so maybe when ordered in bulk that was a consideration for Dem turf
Wastes 2/3 of the space and has lower case letters which reduces distance visibility
BENNETT LARGE A-
Again no party
ORO VALLEY COUNCIL
PINA, RODMAN, SOLOMON A-
Reasonable use for a three way. That there’s a union bug on it makes me ask – this a Dem slate?
GARNER – Small B+
OK little sign
ZINKIN – F
One of the worst signs out. The bulldog slogan is good and could have worked but NOBODY IS GOING TO STOP AND GET OUT OF THEIR CAR TO READ IT ALL, MIKE. And the lengthy discourse on the back is ludicrous. Cheez, it’s a SIGN not a mailer.
I’m told someone on Zinkin’s team did this without his knowledge, simply redoing a printed handout. Good example of what not to do at Mike’s expense.
STATEN large F-
This has got to be the worst political sign I’ve ever seen. It gives me a headache trying to read it. The color is hideous and makes the name illegible at any distance over ten feet.
STATEN small – D
Not quite as bad.
And neither have a party designation.
JUSTICE OF THE PEACE
Roberts and Newman. Both B with some wasted space on irrelevant graphics. Also, JP is a PARTISAN office. These guys both part of the elitist lawyer establishment that wants the peasants to have as little influence as possible?
PIMA BOARD OF SUPES DISTRICT ONE
MILLER large – B
Talks too much,(kinda like her), but the basics are OK although it has some space waste. And no GOP recognition?
WINCHESTER large – D
Way too much babble. How about the name ONCE large instead of thrice too small to read at any distance? Again, no party mentioned.
BICKEL small B
OK but letters could have been thicker and “supervisor” larger.
Three way for Smith, Leach and Finchem – A-
The minus comes from no party label in a safe GOP district. Room for a small elephant.
??? for GENERIC CANDIDACY
2016 – Dustin Williams F
Why is telling us what year it is more important than your name which is hard to read at distance or, worse, whatever it is you’re running for?
I couldn’t get close enough to find out and since you consider it barely relevant, so do I.
Hopefully it isn’t an office that requires critical thinking.
Emil Franzi is the Editor-in-Chief/Publisher of the Southern Arizona News-Examiner. He’s been accused of using his high school photo for his column. Yes, he is! Photos by Julia Graziani.