Getting Your Local Campaign Up and Running: Collateral Needs
This is part of a broader series on communications that we’ll be doing for local and state political candidates.
In a women who run (for office) Facebook group, the following question was posed:
Graphics! I'm meeting with a graphic designer next week and need a list of graphics so I'm not forgetting anything. I know I need a logo and banner for social, as well as a general brand guide with colors/fonts. Does anyone have a list of graphics to ask for?
A graphic designer will be able to help with pieces, but you’ll need someone to support with communications strategy and messaging. Most of the time, a graphic designer will provide the visual, but the messaging will come from elsewhere. It helps to look for a firm (like ours — Horizon Communications Group) that can provide support with strategy, messaging, design, and printing. Be sure to ask your designer what capabilities they have.
So, what do you need to get your campaign up and running and how much of it can you front load before door knocking and events become all consuming? Here’s our list:
Logo: You’ll want an eye-catching logo with your name, what you’re running for, and potentially a tagline. Remember that simpler is often better so don’t get carried away with adding too many details. You’ll end up using it in very small spaces (buttons/stickers) to larger (lawn signs) and wan’t it to be legible in all of those situations.
Colors: Most of the time we see campaigns using blues and reds. This year however, we’ve seen candidates (especially women) move away from that and venture into bolder colors — think hot pink, purple, yellow, mint. Politics and Design has a searchable database of hundreds of logos. Check it out for inspiration.
Color Versions: You’ll want a full color logo, as well as a greyscale and white version as well.
Formats: .ai, .eps, .png — make sure you have a version that has a transparent background so you can drop it on a color block without a white block background around the logo
Once you have your logo, you can begin ordering some of your collateral (assuming you have a need for it AND your budget allows!)
Swag. You’ll want to consider ordering:
Buttons and/or stickers: I recommend ordering some buttons (magnetic back) for the candidate and key volunteers/canvassers. Then order a roll of hundreds of stickers for other volunteers and events.
T-shirts: If you can afford these, or you have the opportunity to sell them/give them out for people who donate over $x. This may be where you want to use your white logo.
Signs: Having inexpensive 12”x18” signs are great for rallies. You can order these at the beginning of your campaign and bring them from event to event. Ordering 100-200 of these are a cheap way to add energy to an event and branding to your photos.
Let’s talk yard signs for a minute. You will most likely want yard signs for your campaign. An 18x24” sign is a great size, though you could of course go up to a 24x36” if you have the budget.
Light v. dark background: Using a dark background with a white logo will help with visibility, especially at night. Screening red or blue against a white background make the colors difficult to read. Steer clear from that if possible.
Font size: You want large fonts. Other than your campaign attribution, everything else should be large with thick, legible fonts. Stick with the campaign name, and potentially the election date. Remove everything else. People will see your sign, hopefully remember your name, and then vote for you or seek out information about you. But they’re not at the red light pulling up your website just because it was in small print on your lawn sign.
Other print materials — walk cards, mailers, postcards
Walk cards: A lot goes into creating a strong walk card. This is where having someone to help with messaging is critical. You’ll want a catchy design, but more importantly, strong messaging. Try to keep these clutter free as well. Key points about you, what top issues you’re running on, a way to contact you, and the election date. A short note from you (pre-printed) is always a nice touch.
Make sure you leave space on your walk card for a handwritten note at the door. A quick “Jane, sorry I missed you. Let’s connect soon, -YOUR NAME” goes a long way. You’ll want blank space to write that note.
Another decision — do you want a walk card with a door hanger pre-cut? This certainly makes it easier to hang as you’re out canvassing, but may also require you get a version printed for events without the door hanger cut out. Make sure you factor in the cut-out when your designer puts this together. Otherwise you’ll end up with copy that is illegible.
Mailers: Again, this requires a lot of messaging and strategy input, but good, eye-catching mailers may help yours stand out when voters are inundated with campaign literature. Consider altering the size — can you do a square piece, a folded piece, a small piece, etc. Anything to differentiate your mail from others.
Postcards: Postcards are a highly effective form of outreach, and a great volunteer engagement technique. Use these to send follow up notes, thank you’s, peer-to-peer (neighbor-to-neighbor) outreach, and more.
Size: 4x6 inches
What to include: A photo on one side with your name (logo), election date, tagline or key message — no more than one sentence! On the other side, include contact information but leave it blank. People’s handwriting size varies and you want to make sure volunteers have plenty of space to write notes.
Last but not least are graphics for social media. Canva is a great, free (or inexpensive) tool that you can use to create eye-catching social media graphics. A few things to consider:
You’ll want to make sure you know the correct image sizes for each platform, and within each platform, the appropriate size for each use. For example, a cover photo is one size, a facebook photo another. An event photo is a completely different size, and ad photos are another size. Within each of those, there are different specs for desktop v. mobile optimization. A photo that looks okay on your computer as a cover photo could end up with your head cut off on mobile. Nothing looks less professional than this. Here is a great resource for up-to-date social media image specs.
You may also want to create a Facebook frame to use towards the end of your campaign. These are a great way to use the power of social media to spread your brand through your peer network. Again, keep it simple. Name and election date are all that matter! Check out the Facebook Frames page to get started.
There’s a lot more we could cover, but hopefully this gets you or your campaign team started when creating a budget, meeting with a designer, working with an agency, or speaking with a printer. As always, give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.