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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — You can’t miss them if you’re driving around the area. Maybe you even have a few in your yard.

Political signs are an important part of any campaign, but what goes in to making the perfect pitch on your placard?

“I only have one criteria,” said Lainey Edmisten, who has managed 14 political campaigns over the years. “If you’re driving down the highway at 55 mph, you have to be able to see it.”

As a wise man once said, keep it simple stupid!

“Keep it very simple,” Port City Signs & Design President Sabrina Davis said. “The name and the office, that’s about all you need.”

But often, many signs still pop-up feeling too crowded, losing the message. At Port City Signs, designers see this mistake all the time.

“If there’s too much, people take in nothing at all,” Davis said. “They just say, ‘That was a sign, and I couldn’t read that.’ Then they move on to the next thing, because you have three seconds to take it in.”

In the end the stars, stripes and swooshes don’t have a big impact, but the color of a sign can make a difference. Experts say you need to make sure there’s lots of contrast. Sure, red white and blue work well, but trying to stand out with a unique green or a yellow is a good idea.

“We wanted it to be distinctive, and nobody’s more patriotic than me, but I like the yellow,” state Senate candidate Deb Butler said about her campaign signs. “It’s bright and kind of stands out in a crowd.

What’s funny, is in an age when technology is changing everything, political signs are a constant.

“Social media and things like that have changed the structure of your campaign and how you get your message out, but signs are still an important part,” Edmisten said.

So how important are these signs really?

“They’re effective with name recognition,” Edmisten said, “but they don’t convince anyone to vote for you.”

In the end, the experts say it’s just important that you see the name on the sign and maybe have a little bit more recognition of that name when you go to the polls and cast that vote.

Of course, you’ll still be seeing these signs across the area until Election Day passes, especially at the polls. That is unless the winds from hurricane sandy send a lot of the signs flying into the streets.

Comment on this Story

  • Vog46

    The Run Forest Run signs are an instant Wilmington classic if you ask me. Butler did a good job with the distinctive color which does stand out.
    The Yes to the Ballpark signs are a miserable failure.
    The No Stadium Tax signs, although dull – are easily read.
    The signs with red white and blue are too busy especially for a yard or road sign.
    On a billboard you can get a little more technical.
    Overall the signs are not that bad (I just hate them all)

  • Du

    I just love the signs for Run Forest Run…you cant tell what office he’s running for, when you drive past…is this a reflection on his competence?

  • captsundrop

    How about someone remove some of these signs (about 3/4 of them) that are in direct violation of sign code ?

  • Wilmington Observer

    The real story, that should be reported, will be how many candidates will be responsible enough to have their signs removed a week after the election. In years past, many of the signs were still on the roadways a month after the election.

    Wilmington Observer


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