Guest Blogger, Daisy’s Rescue (NJ)
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Today’s session is about Making signs for that Protest or “Education” Campaign.
I’ve been part of some “education” campaigns that were about Puppy Mill Awareness. Everything was all set up, the organization was done. The time and place was set. Everyone was briefed and then you show up and …. you have nothing to hold. Well today we are going to explain how you can get signs at a very low cost. If fact most cases there is no cost.
In October and November of every year in the US, we have a series of events…called elections. This is a good thing, because these are going to be your source of signs. Many towns across the US have passed laws that required politicians to remove all their campaign signs with in a few days after the elections. This is where you come in. You can ask the politician’s by calling their office and asking to remove the signs for them (again after the election). I usually wait a few days and I pick up signs that have been left out and forgotten about. I’m not telling you to steal the signs or do anything Illegal, saying that there are many unwanted signs that are now trash that can be recycled for use to help save dogs lives. A few years ago, I was picking up signs in the end of November. I had about 15 to 20 that were along back roads that everyone forgot about. I stopped and picked them up and drove away. I helped the politician, by removing the sign, and helping him comply with the law.
The signs come in many sizes and shapes. Some of them are the more expensive kind, are corrugated plastic with a metal wire “H”. The “H” goes into the ground and the sign goes on the “H” wire. If you were to purchase these sign yourself, they might cost about $3.00 a sign and you have a minimum order of 100 (Corrugated Plastic 4MM WHITE Sign Blanks – 24″x18″ BNDL/25) , and Standard “H” Frame Wire Stakes (Pkg of 25/$.95 ea) – Yard Sign Stake – Use with 4mm Corrugated Signs).
The cheaper signs are printed poster paper folded over a “N” frame and staple together so it stays on. Surprisingly, they are pretty weather resistant. I have not priced these signs if you were to purchase them, but they should be cheaper.Once you have a nice collection of signs, it is time to repurpose them. The first thing you need to do is cover the politicians name. I have found that you need to use a gray or white primer spray paint to cover the sign. I like to use Krylon Semi-Flat White spray paint, because you can re-coat at any time, unlike Rust-Oleum (Rust-Oleum 12 oz. Spray, Flat Light Gray Primer), which requires you to re-coat before 1 hour or after 48 hours. Once the signs are primed, you can cover them with a flat white paint.
I use about 2 inch stencils to write my message. You can use black paint, or a color to bring attention to your sign. After all the stenciling is done, you can spray a different bright color around the edges of the sign or leave it white. I then spray the sign again with clear gloss to protect the sign (Krylon Crystal Clear Gloss Spray Enamel).
I like to keep my messages generic , so I can use them at more than one protest or education campaign. If you make them specific to a store, you are committing those signs to that campaign. That can be ok, but if you work with a few different groups or a group that has a couple campaigns, you are now required to have a few signs. When you are thinking about your message, you have to remember that, your audience is driving by at speeds that are not going to allow them to see small detailed messages that are paragraphs. They are going to be able to read two to three lines of large type. Be careful about using pictures. I was on one protest and the group had expensive large signs of horribly abused and neglected dogs pictures. They thought they were the greatest thing. Problem, people driving by saw these horrible pictures of dogs, nothing else. These people did not associate the signs with the pet store or puppy mills, they only saw a bunch of pictures that “Those crazy animal rights people” were showing. Because they saw the pictures only, they were of no use to educate the public. It’s more important to get your message across in a clear fashion, rather than the “shock” value of an abused dogs. You want people to associate your sign and message with the store or subject of your campaign.