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The science behind candidate signs

One sure sign election day is near, the hundreds of signs lining the streets. 

They come in all shapes and sizes but share one purpose: to get the candidate or parties paying for them into the Legislative Assembly. 

Cayman 27’s Kevin Morales sat down with University College of the Cayman Islands President and former MLA Roy Bodden to talk about what makes an effective sign. 

“These signs we see in a couple seconds passing as a driver or passenger,” Mr. Bodden said. “So you have to get a sign that someone can view in a matter of seconds and retain.” 

Many candidates use colour to do so. Several independents have yellow signs. Yellow is the colour most visible to the human eye. Green and red are among the most visible as well, so it’s no coincidence those colours are branded by two major political parties. 

“It’s certainly intended to be that way,” Mr. Bodden said. “Often (voters) say, ‘oh yeah red — that’s The Progressives. Green, that’s CDP. Independent candidates, I remember him, his sign was yellow. 

“When you go into the voting booth then you have all these kind of flash backs.” 

Then there’s the matter of identifying the candidates themselves. 

“This will be the first election where you’ll see a photo on the ballot,” Mr. Bodden said. 

As such, many candidates have opted for bigger photos and smaller text on their campaign signs. 

“Absolutely. I think that is a better way than having just names, particularly for people who may not read well or have other kinds of discriminating challenges,” Mr. Bodden said.

In the end, Mr. Bodden says the art of crafting campaign signs may be fading. 

“It’s becoming antiquated,” he said. “I think the way to go now is social media. I’m surprised that there are as many signs as there are.” 

All campaign signs will need to be taken down prior to 24 May, per the Elections Law. 

About the author

Kevin Morales

Kevin Morales

Cayman 27 News Director Kevin Morales is an award-winning journalist with more than 12 years of experience. Kevin is a Milwaukee, Wis., native. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism in 2005 from the University of Minnesota. He's a proud father and a loyal fan of the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, Milwaukee Bucks and U of M Golden Gophers.

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