Campaign buttons are a key part of planning a successful bid for any office, from student government to the White House. It's an easy way for supporters to display their endorsement of a candidate and they are a mainstay at speeches, rallies, and almost any other campaign you can name. A well-designed button is important. Just sticking a slogan or a candidate's face on a button doesn't cut it. Buttons might be small, but they have to be memorable and persuasive. Basically, each button is an elevator pitch for the candidate. Making that happen means that the graphics and text on the button have to be well-considered and cohesive. Here are five tips for campaign buttons that should help pull in those "yes" votes.

Make It Unique

There are plenty of round buttons out there in shades of red, white, or blue. While that's a fine template to start with, it's a good idea to think outside the box. After all, the last thing you want is to have a button that looks similar to your opponent's. Buttons should tie into the overall graphic themes and colors of the campaign. If that is a classic red, white, and blue scheme, then do go for it on the buttons. But, if a campaign is based around, say, red and yellow, incorporate that into the buttons.

Graphics Matter

Whether you put a face on your button or an abstract image (such as a school for student government elections), it needs to be eye-catching. It also has to be clearly legible from far away. Choose high-contrast images with good resolution. Black and white shots can be a good choice because the contrast is strong enough that it shows up well. If you do pick a portrait shot, make sure the candidate looks pleasant, approachable, and professional.

Pick a Strong but Short Slogan
Unique Campaign Slogan

You don't have a lot of room on a button, so each word has to count. This is one place where obvious is OK. Something like "Smith for Council" can work, as long as you have an effective button. Or, you can use a short campaign slogan (think President Obama's "Yes We Can" buzz phrase). Whatever approach you take, avoid wordiness. Use simple, direct word choices and action verbs ("Vote Smith").

Test Out Choices

Not sure if you like a round or square button? Try designing both on a computer and then look at them side by side. Ask a few friends (preferably not involved with the campaign) what they think of the options. If neither works, try tinkering with other elements.

Tailor the Message to Your Target Voters

When it comes to the size and type of campaign buttons, it's important to think about who will be voting in the election. A student government election, for example, would be voted on by backpack-carrying students, so it would be good to have buttons that could easily be pinned to them. A campaign that is planning a lot of events might want a smaller button that is easier to hand out.

These tips should help you create effective, memorable campaign buttons. While the basic rules don't change -- buttons need to be legible, striking enough to stand out, and a convenient size -- you have a lot of creative freedom when crafting the perfect button for the specific campaign you are planning or working for.

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