Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Script Font and Republican Women

The three campaign signs/emblems above all share a few things in common. All three were election signs I saw over and over in the runup to the election. All three candidates (Mary Fallin for governor, Janet Barresi for state schools superintendent, and Sharon Parker for state senate district 16) are women. All three are Oklahomans. All three are Republicans. And all three use a script font for their first names.

I have a tendency to pay attention to yard signs. I like noticing the color combinations of signs, and I commend those who use colors other than red, white and blue. I like examining the candidates' choices of fonts. We had two district judges in Norman this year who used an all-caps Gotham font with a blue background, consciously evoking the campaign signage of Barack Obama. So I took notice when I saw yard signs for the above campaigns that featured script font, which is an unusual font for campaign signage.

Yard signs generally try to convey a simple message with words: candidate name, office the candidate is running for, and occasionally party affiliation. Everything else on the sign is meant to convey a characteristic that the candidate is going for: bold, strong, effective leader, patriot, statesman. This is why few campaign signs stray from red, white and blue colors, and even fewer stray from strong easily-readible fonts. But the Fallin, Barresi and Parker campaigns strayed from the norm and used script font. Script font gives the impression of femininity and elegance, which can be a nice change of pace in a genre that tends to reward masculinity and bluntness.

Mary Fallin and Janet Barresi were matched up against Democratic women: Jari Askins and Susan Paddack. Neither of their Democratic opponents used script font on their yard signs, although from the picture to the right, it does appear that Susan Paddack had some kind of script font thing for her first name on larger signs, although it's so tiny I don't know why she bothered.

Republican Sharon Parker's opponent was male (he didn't use script font), but running for the state house seat in Norman was female Democrat Emily Virgin. Virgin also refrained from script font. Did they not feel the need to convey to voters their femininity?

This got me thinking: are Republican women more likely to use script font than Democratic women? The answer: yes!

Republican Sharron Angle, candidate for U.S. Senate in Nevada, used an array of fonts on her signs, but her first name is in a script font on top of her angled "ANGLE".

Republican Jan Brewer, governor of Arizona, scripts the "Jan".

Republican Carly Fiorina, candidate for senator in California, did not use a script font, but she does use a skinny-letter lowercase sans serif that conveys the image of "fashion magazine".

Republican Kristi Noem, congresswoman-elect from South Dakota, uses a very modern fashionable font for her name, but girlies up the "for Congress" part of her sign. I found quite a few campaign signs that had a script font for the "for" part of their sign, which was used by both Democrats and Republicans, but no one else had the balls to use script font for "Congress".

Washington Republicans - congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers's signs feature the name "Cathy" scrawled across the top half of the sign. This photograph found on McMorris Rodgers's website features two other Republicans with script font, senate candidate Dino Rossi and some county commissioner named Mark Richards. This picture must have been taken in the 2008 campaign, because Dino Rossi is listed as running for governor and not senator. He has since changed and modernized his typography.

I can't find any other examples of script type face in political signage from this most recent election, but I think it's strange that it's Republican women who are almost exclusively the candidates to use it. By no means are script-font-users the majority among women candidates or even Republican women candidates, but I would like to know why there are more Republicans who use it than Democrats.

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