Any serious political candidate will need well-designed campaign literature. From palm cards, to yard signs, mailers, and websites, materials will precede and represent the candidate…and first-impressions count. Like any good brand, campaign literature should reflect the candidate, be memorable, easy to understand, and convey clarity and trust.
So, what makes great campaign literature? Following are six points to consider.
Choose a size
Is this a door hanger, a palm card, an 8.5 x 11″ mailer, a folded mailer, or something else? Does it need a tear-off postcard? Choose the layout that makes sense for your aim.
Create a brand
Step one is an effective logo. Logos that reflect a candidate’s personality will stand out more in a sea of red and blue flag logos. What images, fonts, and colors best reflect your candidate’s values? For professional, effective branding, hire a professional. Creating a memorable brand may also help your campaign appeal to and energize younger voters (think of Trump’s MAGA hats, AOC’s rainbow posters with exclamation points, Beto O’Rourke’s simple black and white BETO logo).
While a select few may take the time to actually read through the fine print on a palm card, many others will only absorb whatever information they can in 3-4 seconds. This means all key information needs to be immediately obvious through the visuals and headlines. Make sure headlines convey only the most critical information with clarity and economy. Keep text to a readable size – no less than 12 pt. Seniors, an important voting demographic and also those most likely to read campaign materials, may not appreciate squinting at a tiny 8 pt font.
Use quality visuals
This can’t be emphasized enough. Make sure you have professional, high-resolution
photographs. Visuals will be 40 – 60 percent of your literature, and quality is key. If possible, have multiple photos, and show the candidate with other people in a natural setting. Don’t use boilerplate, staged photos, or photos that look stiff and stale. Poor quality, underexposed, or blurry photography will ruin a mailer, so make sure not to skip this step. A professional designer can advise on best visuals, and will know how to use white space and position text clearly to guide a reader’s eye.
Include the basics
Don’t forget the basics. All campaign literature needs to include the candidate’s name, office, election, campaign contact information (website, phone number, email), and a disclaimer as required by Federal Election Law. Make sure your main ask (vote, donate, volunteer, etc.) is immediately clear.
- Beyond Design Does your campaign support unions? Do you care about the environment? Progressive campaigns will want to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to printing. Choose a union print shop and include the “bug;” print on recycled paper to proudly display a recycled wheel.
Though voters will choose a candidate based on the issues, not the graphic design, poor-quality literature can hamper a campaign. In an age when elections are often decided by hairline vote margins, don’t miss this opportunity to shine.
Select Gallery of Green Comma Media Designed Campaign Literature