Sunday, August 24, 2008

Guelph sign review

I don’t know about you but as a political junkie I’m always interested to look at campaign signs, and see the different themes, messages and strategies the different parties are trying-out.

And it’s always more interesting during a by-election, when the centralizing hand of the central campaign is a little less heavy and local campaigns are more free to be creative with their sign designs.

Therefore I’ve had my camera with me this weekend while I’ve been out in about in Guelph, and I thought I’d take a few snaps to share with those elsewhere interested in getting a for a little campaign sign review, by-election edition. Here’s my ranking and review of Guelph sign design:

1. Frank Valeriote, Liberal

The candidate’s name is large and prominent, standing-out well with black lettering on a largely white background, and doubling as a Web site address to drive traffic to the campaign site in an economical use of space. Stylized Canada flag motif is attractive, adding a dose of patriotic appeal. And a small saying on the bottom, Doing the right thing.

I like these signs, my only concern is how the detail of the waving flag design will hold up in the sun and weather, particularly if this morphs into a marathon campaign with a general election call. There’s a risk the detail could fad. With sign design, keeping it simple is always the way to go. Still, good signs.

2. Tom King, NDP

This is a simple, appealing sign design by the NDP. Like the usual NDP template it’s white name on orange background, and the candidate’s name is large and prominent. The large swath of green across the top corner is an interesting touch, perhaps an attempt to meet the challenge of the Green Party (who could draw more support than the NDP here if you believe that now-infamous poll) as well as counter the surging Liberal Green shift challenge. This sign also advertises the candidate’s Web site address and includes a saying on the bottom, Guelph’s National Voice. Good, simple message.

3. Mike Nagy, Green Party

Points to the Greens for having the only bilingual signs in this campaign, likely a function of the national template. Unfortunately, it does make for a more busy and cluttered site design. Dark green background on white text stands out, and reminds us, well, they’re the Greens. The white text on colour background seems to be favoured by all parties except the Liberals.

I’m not keen on their yellow party logo, and a Web site on the sign would have been a good idea but as I said it’s too busy already. Interesting construction too. Rather than have two pieces with a metal stake in between them, or wooden poles on either side, they attack the stake to one side and drill holes in to attach it with ties. Looks a little funny close up, but probably greener on materials.

4. Gloria Kovach, Conservative Party

A very basic, cookie cutter design that looks to have no deviation from the standard Conservative Party template. Which makes sense for a candidate that clings fiercely to the central party line, with no deviation from the standard Conservative Party template. Riding name in the top right corner, in case people aren’t sure where they are. No Dorthy, you’re not in Arnprior.

Elect in the top left corner standing-out in red, so you know she’s running for something. I know all parties often use elect or re-elect. But frankly, it just seems a tad archaic these days. Re-elect can serve to remind of incumbency sure, through that’s not always a good thing. Besides, don’t use elect and its easier to re-use those signs when you’re running for re-election…probably something Gloria needn’t worry about.

The white text does look good on the blue background though, and she has her Web site on there, which is also good. It’s a solid, workmanlike sign but it’s just so…bland. It’s a by-election, ask Doug Finley for permission to live a little Gloria!

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Sean S. said...

the NDP sign template has been out for well over a year, so it really has nothing to do with the "Green Shift". If you notice the colour combo, it has also been on the website for well over a year as well.
But definitely, the use of the darker green is meant to re-inforce the "Green" image of the party.

Dr. Tux said...

The NDP sign is nicest. I really think the liberals should stick with the red/green combo in their signs. It looks good and reminds people that there has been a change in party leadership and philosophy.

RuralSandi said...

I hate the NDP colours - awful and tacky.

Whoever decided this orange thing for the NDP? It's cheap looking.

Steve V said...

Thinking as though viewing an art exhibit, couldn't the NDP sign be expressing the symbolism of the Green Party starting to overshadow their message, like a partial eclipse?

UWHabs said...

The main problem with Frank's signs are that they are also semi-reflective or transparent, so when coming along, they can be a bit tough to see, since the back colours seep through.

Red Tory said...

The NDP colour has been orange for as long as I can remember and it’s hard to imagine them being anything different. The changes in recent years (introducing more white and green into the scheme are a huge improvement over the old black on orange that was really pretty ugly).

McLea said...

Riding name in the top right corner, in case people aren’t sure where they are.

As opposed to the Canadian flag in Mr Frank Valeriote's campaign sign? What purpose does that serve? To remind voters that they are Canadian? To illustrate that Frank Valeriote is "more Canadian" than those opposing him?

I understand that you're the biggest liberal homer on the internet, but come on, let's be serious.

Scott Tribe said...

Wow, BC'er, you've graduated to the "biggest liberal homer" on the internet over Jason Cherniak? Congrats!

Steve V said...


Wow, just so happens that the liberals use red and white, and the flag is red and white. What were these idiots thinking, tying those two together. Don't you know the LAST thing you want to do in politics is denote a sense of patriotism. Dummies.

Political Outsider said...

The small Liberal signs are much better than the larger ones. Black letters on a dark red background don't stand out, so "Frank" and the "V" on Valeriote get lost.

Political Outsider said...

P.S. For a really cool political map of Guelph, go to and click on the "GOOGLE MAP" button.

A BCer in Toronto said...


Perhaps not green shift related then, but as the Libs have been pushing green issues since Dion won the leadership, certaintly I think that's a factor.

dt. rux,

I liked the signs Jocelyn Coulon used in Outremont, with the red and green. I've been disapointed not to see those since.


I don't care for the orange myself, but in their defence red and blue were taken already...


We'll watch to see if the green begins to envelop the orange. Or, perhaps, if as more green is put on the signs there's less green in their platform...


I didn't notice that, but perhaps I didn't hit any in the right light. In the NDP and Green ones I posted are looking see-through.


Biggest Liberal homer? I wish. I'd like to think I'm definitely in the top 5 though. But I appreciate the support.


I hope Jason can recover, and one day reclaim his mantle. For my part though, I'll say I think we're on the first legs of a Liberal majority.

Devin Johnston said...

"And it’s always more interesting during a by-election, when the centralizing hand of the central campaign is a little less heavy and local campaigns are more free to be creative with their sign designs."

Umm... I don't know if you've ever worked on a byelection campaign or not, but I can assure that this is absolutely not the case. The central party staff are far more involved in running byelections because they can focus their resources in one or a couple ridings. Generally, byelections are seen as an opportunity for the party to test-run new messaging, imagery, etc. Therefore, the party's communications staff are usually very deeply involved in the byelections.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Devin, naturally my experience has been exclusively in the Liberal realm, so when it comes to the centralization of NDP campaigns I'll have to take your word for it.

Barcs said...

Of the ones you posted, I rather like the Liberal sign for aesthetics. Very pleasing to the eye.

I have always thought that depictions of national symbols like the flag are illegal in advertising, yet I see all political parties using them. Is there an exemption for politics?

As for reusing signs? I wish they would collect the ones after the election is over. Take them down in a reasonable time period or have the candidate fined for littering. (I used to have a piece of land along the highway that always had people trespass on it and post signs. Liberal federally and NDP provincially. It being illegal to take down political signs during an election writ the best I could do was go around them (costly) and post my own that the land owner doesn't agree with the political message of the signs and would like the owners to remove them (phone calls to the party didn't work))