Yard Signs: What They Are and What to Know

Yard signs fresh of the press!
Yard signs fresh of the press!

Why Yard Signs?

Signage has been around for quite some time, to put it modestly. More specifically, however, yard signs are being used as of more recent. Some would even say as early as the 60’s and 70’s, but why. Security alarm companies from that time wanted a new way to thwart burglars from entering a particular premises. What they started to do was put aluminum window signs on to real estate stakes and then introduced the combination to the customer’s yard. Since that time lawn signs have made their staple in advertising and don’t appear to be going anywhere but outside.

Corrugated plastic and a weather-proof ink are what most lawns signs are made of. Of course if you have some cardboard, a magic marker, a wood stake, and a sunny day then you can make a yard sign at your own leisure but that’s why we’re here. We can assist you with all of your sign needs. Our ads vary from real estate, campaign, special events, and much more. Have a custom design that you want to see on a piece of corrugated plastic? Then look no further because our design team is here to help. Or if you just wanted a blank piece of plastic to write your own message on then we can send you that too.

Get Your Yard Signs Noticed!

Now we have to get those signs to stand out and stand on their own. The most commonly used supports are wood stakes and/or H-wires. However, keep in mind our corrugated plastic yard sign material comes not only in 2 colors, but also 2 flute directions. The small spaces located on the bottom and top, or the sides of the plastic are called ‘Flutes’. If you want a sign with wood stakes then you’re going to want the flute direction to be perpendicular to the stake itself. With H-wires the flutes are going to be parallel. The 2 colors we offer are white and yellow, and come in a variety of sizes. Our standard is 18” x 24” but we also offer yard signs in the sizes of 12” x 18”, 9” x 24”, and our biggest of 24” x 32” that can be screen printed. Whether you need signs for your business or political campaign signs, here’s where you can get started!

Winning Yard Signs: How to Make One

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Making an effective yard sign is more tedious than one would probably think. First, you need a design or an image you want to put on a sign. Afterward, you will need to make a stencil for that image; that alone is a multi-step process. Furthermore, the stencil gets matched with a piece of corrugated plastic, so the design registers correctly with a blank sign. We’ll take some ink and transfer the image onto the corrugated plastic. Finally, you have to let the ink cure for a long-lasting, permanent finish that will stand up to any elements and conditions it may be up against. Now that you’ve done all the hard work, you’ll have a high-quality and durable plastic sign ready to start working for you.

Making a Yard Sign Stencil

Let’s back up and start from the beginning once you choose a design or image you want to use for your business advertisement or campaign sign, it’s time to make a transfer film. This film, in essence, is the negative image of your sign. With the film made, we take it to a dark room and transfer it to a silk screen that has already been coated with emulsion. The emulsion is a photo-sensitive material that comes in the form of a liquid. It’s extremely viscous and needs to have sensitizer added to it. This process makes the emulsion photo-sensitive. Take the mixed emulsion and add a very thin coat to the screen; wait for it to dry. The screen is now stencil-ready.

We take the film from earlier, place it on an exposure table, and then cover it with the prepared screen. Go ahead and fire up that exposure table so it can begin to emit ultraviolet light. Some emulsion on the screen will come into contact with that UV light. As a reaction, those areas of emulsion get trapped on the screen. The film blocks out the rest of the light from touching the rest of the emulsion. For about 30 seconds, we wait for the UV light to do its thing.

Time to rinse. Remove the screen from the exposure table for this next part. Hit the screen with water, and the unexposed emulsion should fall right out. This works best with pressurized water. Once you’ve gotten the image rinsed out, you’re left with the stencil that will be used for making the actual yard sign. Again, it needs to dry.

Print-Ready Yard Sign Templates

Now we’re ready for printing. From here, we put the stencil onto a printing press or printing table and firmly secure it. This will stop the screen from moving during the printing process. Now we have to register a blank sign under your stencil, then add some ink. This is usually UV ink, so it will last longer outdoors. Next, you will have a squeegee that swipes the ink through the entire image from top to bottom. If done correctly, you now have a freshly printed yard sign with wet ink. The final step is to leave your sign out to dry, or you can cure it quickly with direct exposure to sunlight.

This is just one description of how the screen printing process can be done; however, there are multiple ways of accomplishing the same task. Here at Super Cheap Signs, we use automated presses to do the same thing and achieve a higher level of productivity. Hopefully, this helps give a better understanding of how an idea turns into something that can be showcased for all to appreciate.

How Effective Are Political Yard Signs, Really?

Political yard signs on a street corner in Austin, TX.
Political Yard Signs at Their Best!

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Are Political Yard Signs Effective?

    What if I said yes and no? Political yard signs have been around for a long time which brings people to ask how efficient they really are. Surprisingly enough, they are effective to the point where they can help a candidate by a little more than a percentage point. However, if you’re running for federal office then I wouldn’t count on it.

    A study performed by Columbia University – more specifically lead author Donald Green – told POLITCO that yard signs can add 1.7 percentage points on average. So yes, they help, but not as much as we have previously believed. According to the researchers, “It appears that signs typically have a modest effect on advertising candidates’ vote shares — an effect that is probably greater than zero but unlikely to be large enough to alter the outcome of a contest that would otherwise be decided by more than a few percentage points.”

    “We were surprised by these findings, because the conventional wisdom is that lawn signs don’t do much — they’re supposed to be a waste of money and time. Many campaign consultants think that signs ‘preach to the choir’ and not much else,” says Alex Coppock, a co-author in the study. At $3-$10 bucks a pop, it’s not hard to see why consultants would say or think this. That would also bring up more questions like; how many political yard signs can your candidate’s campaign afford? Who’s going to place and pick up your signs? It seems to bring more hassle than relief but there is a small light at the end of the tunnel.

Why campaign signs?

    “My guess is that part of the reason that the effect is small is because any campaign tactic — signs, ads, mailers, calls, etc. — only move people around at the margin. In many ways, it would be strange if the effect were bigger. Imagine a world in which the presence or absence of lawn signs could swing an election by 10 points.” Coppock later adds. If this were the case, many consultants would have their candidates’ campaign based around that tactic, along with a sizable budget to allocate those needs. That would leave too much uncovered ground, in many aspects, and make it too easy for someone to win, simply because they had an amazing campaign sign. Not only does that seem both, unfair and unfitting of a candidate, but also ridiculous. Thankfully, that’s not the situation.

    We can say that lawn campaign signage definitely won’t change any time soon, merely because there is still such a high demand for political yard signs. Also, we need to take into consideration the psychological effect that lawn signs can have on the opposing candidates. Seeing enough of your competition’s signs scattered amongst the community, that your trying to up-keep, can really deter a candidate’s enthusiasm and possibly shy them away from the idea of running completely. Plus, some supporters are going to feel comfort in having the person they support on the signs in their front yard. Either way, Political yard signs are a staple in campaigning and are going to remain so until a new, revolutionary tactic comes about. Until then, Super Cheap Signs will be here to answer the call.