Winning Votes with the Right Visual Cues
It’s election season again and as some of you may remember, I’m a student of political signage. I wrote an article two years ago on political sign design which got a lot of attention and got me interviewed by the New York Times.
One of my theories in that article was that there were certain color combinations and stylistic elements which identified political inclinations in a way more subtle and perhaps more effective on a subconscious level than simple party affiliation. In particular I identified a specific design style which uses purple and green and a wavy white dividing line as a way of communicating to voters in a non-partisan election that a particular candidate embraces an environmentalist agenda and ideas like “smart growth.” As an example I included the sign used by a city council candidate in California (shown to the right), though I have seen a number of others which follow the same model.
In our recent municipal election here in Austin I saw a demonstration of how effective these visual cues are in political advertising. Austin is a city totally dominated by a small left-leaning political elite which believes in the ideas of smart growth and green cities – moving people downtown and into high-rise condos instead of suburban homes, discouraging the use of cars, expanding mass transit, strong environmental regulation and green energy. It’s an environment in which conservative candidates and Republicans usually do very poorly, rarely getting more than a third of the vote in a city council election.
Austin municipal elections are non-partisan, but engaged voters usually find out the political leanings and history of the candidates. Yet in this recent election we saw a known Republican candidate named Laura Pressley come within a few points of defeating a Democrat incumbent. The campaign had a variety of strengths, but I think one of the factors in Pressley substantially outperforming other Republicans was her choice of sign design. As you can see from these images, she adopted a design which was directly out of the green candidate playbook and very similar to the Lawson sign I had previously used as an example.
I suspect that when voters from the wealthy left-leaning neighborhoods of central Austin went to the polls, instead of remembering rumors that Pressley was a Republican, they remembered the look of her signs and that visual cue influenced enough of them to vote for her that she came surprisingly close to winning. Picking that sign design was a smart move. Maybe someone on her campaign read my article from 2010.
May 20, 2012 | Filed Under Articles
New Font: BigBlok
A great many years ago when working in game publishing I had a real fascination with doing titles in a strong, super-bold font called Bolt Bold. The truth is I rather overused it. In doing some research I find it on more than a dozen different game books I wrote in the early 80s, all quite collectable and out of print today.
BUY NOW TRY DEMO Power tie is based on a design for hand lettering from the 1930s. It was originally done as a conceptual design for signage in a men's haberdashery. It is a handsome, muscular font in the Art Deco tradition. It includes a full character set with numbers and punctuation, and a se[...]
BUY NOW TRY DEMO Custom Preview We've featured some articles on the designs of pulp novel covers from the mid-20th century, including s look at the fonts used in those designs. We've also released fonts based on those designs, like suspicion. These old book cover designs are a great resource for [...]
I was out to dinner for my daughter's birthday and we went to a nice restaurant in downtown Austin called Boticelli's. Much to my surprise the logo of the restaurant was strangely familiar. It was in our Sprite font, shown to the right. In this new edition we have improved the kerning and spacing, expanded alt[...]
BUY NOW TRY DEMO Custom Preview Edifice is a decorative titling font based on samples of lettering by J. M. Bergling. It has an architectural, constructed look to it. Very well suited to sign and poster design. It's stylish but still readable and clear. Edifice includes a full uppercase charac[...]
BUY NOW Cymbeline was one of our earliest font designs and has been fairly popular over the years, but some of the shortcomings of the font came to our attention after seeing the font on a book cover, so we decided to work it over and see if we could produce an improved version, while preserving the ca[...]
BUY NOW TRY DEMO Custom Preview Doge is a new font based on samples of late-renaissance period lettering from Venice, preserved and reproduced by early 20th century calligrapher and designer J. M. Bergling. It has some similarity to some of our other fonts based on lettering from the same period[...]
Vasilisa is based on Russian folk art lettering from the pre-revolutionary period. It is included in our original Russian Fonts and Art package. It is very readable in English but also includes elements of Cyrillic lettering. It is evocative of rural Russian life and fits well with the hand crafted peasant wood[...]
BUY NOW TRY DEMO Custom Preview Iphegenia was one of our early designs, a creative advertising script font with a modern, hand-drawn look but regular character forms and a nice even line to it. It has high readability despite its decorative look and works well in combination with a variety of other fo[...]
BUY NOW Back in 1995 I designed a card game called Quest for the Grail and formed a publishing partnership to produce it called Stone Ring Games. I did a bunch of design work for the game, including designing a unique title font called Marmyadose. Marmyadose was a unique font, but it was too fancy to[...]
BUY NOW TRY DEMO Custom Preview Startling Stories was a pulp-era science fiction magazine known for its lurid covers by Earle K. Bergey and its eye-catching title designs. It was a companion to Thrilling Wonder Stories and Fantastic Stories. The magazine was very successful in the immediate pos[...]
I don't know what came over me one Halloween, but I couldn't get the idea of dancing skeletons out of my head. The classic dance of death, but a bit more expressive, with the skeletons working together to form the letters of a font. This resulted in the design for the Bonyeard font, where each letter is made [...]
BUY NOW TRY DEMO Marquis Greeking is unreadable. It is supposed to be unreadable, because it is a Greeking Font, a font designed specifically to check layout and overall appearance without the distraction of the actual text. It contains variations of actual characters from our Marquis text font, w[...]
BUY NOW TRY DEMO Custom Preview Mannering is a new font design derived from some samples of an uppercase letter set by Samuel Welo, with additional lowercase characters and numbers added to it in the same style. It is a sans serif font with calligraphic lines and distinctive embellished horizontal cro[...]
BUY NOW TRY DEMO Custom Preview Escargot is based on lettering from the cover of an early pulp novel I came across a couple of months ago. It's a strong example of a distinctive style of sign and poster lettering from the 1930, characterized by super high contrast between the weighting on the le[...]
BUY NOW TRY DEMO Custom Preview Our original Folkard font has achieved near legendary status as one of the most interesting calligraphic title fonts of the contemporary era. It has been enormously popular and appeared on movie titles, book covers, t-shirts and games. However it is not the only [...]
For the next few days - maybe as much as a week - our site will be undergoing a fairly radical transformation as we implement an entirely new theme with new features and a radically different look. This may inconvenience you with the occasional downtime or bizarre disappearance or radical reconfiguration of certain [more]
In the 1930s there was an explosion of popular literature in the form of pulp novels and magazines, featuring lurid covers and scandalous content in a diversity of genres from suspense to mystery to science fiction to westerns. Pulp novel covers had a distinctive style and that inclu[more]
In January of 1891 Little Folks Magazine published a special feature of a calendar designed and illustrated by Walter Crane with accompanying verses by his eldest daughter Beatrice. Each of the 12 panels has a figurative depiction of the month, a decorated initial and a topical verse. In style they are rather reminisce[more]
"We are saddened by the death of legendary type designer Hermann Zapf at the age of 96. His classic fonts like Optima, Palatino and Zapf Chancery set the standard for type design for the 20th century. Zapf's long career as designer and teacher was an inspiration to type designers around the world and made all of our l[more]
Our new Art Deco font collection includes a remarkable selectiion of fonts from the design movements of the 1920s and 1930s, focusing on the kinds of fonts which were generally associated with the decorative arts movement which developed out of the Arts and Crafts movement. Because we already have co[more]
I was in Amy's Ice Cream with my kids when I noticed a very large man wearing a t-shirt for a local band called The Gourds, and much to my surprise I recognized my Gloriana font on the shirt. I lacked the presence of mind to take a picture of the shirt on the spot, but when I got home I did a little research and d[more]
As we did last year, we have compiled figures on font sales through all of our outlets and here are the results for our best selling fonts for the year. Three fonts from last year made it in - Scurlock, Captain Kidd and last year's top seller Albemarle. If you have confidence in the judgment of others, then you sho[more]
BUY NOW Barataria is an elegant text and titling font with some unique features that really stand out for designing decorative logos with an elegant vintage look. It has a bit of a piratical look, a sort of more refined alternative to our Windlass font. This revised version features smoother outline[more]
- Art Deco Font Collection
- Vie Moderne | Fontcraft: Scriptorium Fonts, Art and Design: […] Read More […]
- Vie Moderne | Fontcraft: […] Vie Moderne includes a full character set and numbers. The upper case characters are ornamented with Art Deco motifs and the lower case…
- Russian Constructivist Fonts
- Under Construction Sale | Fontcraft: Scriptorium Fonts, Art and Design: […] Read More […]
- Howard Pyle Fonts and Art Package
- Futuristic Fonts - Updated and Expanded
- Pulp Fonts | Fontcraft: […] you like this package you may also like our Modern Poster fonts and Futuristic Fonts […]
- Modern Poster Fonts
- New Font: Tilbury
- Art Deco Font Collection