It's always good to have variety.
So, it's time to order those buttons, huh? Fortunately for you, it isn't a terribly complicated process. And you're a smart guy or gal anyway. As long as you plan well, you shouldn't run into too many issues. It's about as easy as raising one eyebrow. Oh wait. Most people can't do that, actually.
Well, think of it this way. You've done art projects in school before, right? It's nothing like that. It's more like ordering buttons.
Okay, fine, I've messed around enough. Let's get into this mofo.
The best laid plans will be derailed if you're not adequately prepared. If you don't have enough money stored up in that piggybank of yours, you're not going to be able to pay for your designer or your buttons.
Price point is going to vary based on the designer you hire (if you hire a designer) and how many buttons you're going to order. We'll talk about quantity in a second, but try to come up with a realistic figure now so you can allocate resources appropriately later.
Choose Sizes And Shapes
Buttons come in a variety of different sizes and shapes, just like women. I bet you didn't know that, did you?
Well, it's going to play into your overall strategy, so you better be aware. The most common shape of course is the round kind. They tend to range from about 1" all the way up to 3.5". Then you also have square and rectangular buttons that come in similar sizes. That's the Reader's Digest version, anyway.
All I'm saying is that you're going to have to have some idea of where you're going with this ship before you begin. It's like driving down the road without a set destination in mind. You'll get somewhere, but you're probably not going to get to where you want to go. Have a clear idea of what you want to do with your buttons.
Prepare Your Artwork
You need to make sure that your artwork is prepared before you submit it. Imagine that. In short, ensure that it doesn't have coffee stains and dust particles on it. Wait. We're talking digital files. Never mind. It would be pretty challenging to coffee-stain your digital graphics.
The best place to start is to get the templates from the supplier (get the appropriate ones based on size and shape). They should have them on their website somewhere, and if not, you might have to contact them directly and ask for them. Don't worry; they won't bite (hopefully).
As a sidebar, it's wise to begin the design process once you actually have the templates. Otherwise you might have to adjust the specifications later, and that's not always as straightforward as it sounds.
Then, you should save the files to one of the requested formats. It might be PDF, it might be JPG, it might be PSD, and it might even be GOAT. No, I made that last one up, but there might be other accepted file formats depending on the supplier. Make sure to give them what they need.
Create Multiple Designs
Creating multiple designs allows you to experiment a little. Like, if one of your button designs just isn't selling or it isn't winning over any voters, you could always try the other ones you had made up. It's nice to have options, and not be tied to a sinking ship.
Work with your designer (which might be you) to come up with a few concepts. Pick two or three of the best ones, and use those as your final choices. Don't over-think this too much; you have a campaign to run, remember?
Consider Optional Add-Ons
Depending on your supplier, there might be optional add-ons you could have added on to your buttons (magnetized, keychain, zipper pull, goat-face, etc.). Not to make this process any more confusing than it already is, but you could check and see if any of these options are available and if they would suit your needs.
BTW, a button can be pretty cool without throwing in all that other stuff. If in doubt, just go with the old standby.
Order An Appropriate Quantity
You may want to consider the size of your city or region (i.e. population) before having a bajillion buttons made up. You'll probably wind up with a bit of a surplus if you order too many. Just sayin'. You don't have to blow your budget on buttons, because, as far as merch goes, they're definitely on the affordable side. So, even if you make a mistake, it isn't that big of a deal (unless you order eight two-car garages full, of course).
Maybe spy on see what other candidates are doing, and how many buttons they're ordering. If not that, maybe ask someone in the region who used to be in politics. Consider how many candidates you're up against, and think about the number of people that generally vote for your political stance, whatever that may be.
In short, order an appropriate quantity. Having leftovers sucks.
Inspect Your Order
Once you get that phone call letting you know that your order is in, don't forget to look over your product. It's always possible that you got stuck with someone else's order, or maybe the quantities are off. Or maybe the colors on the buttons aren't what they're supposed to be. Or maybe they forgot to give you a free goat-plushie with your purchase. Whatever the case, take the time to look everything over before signing off on it. Better safe than sorry, my friend.
Did that make sense? Are you a master at ordering campaign buttons now? Let us know in the comments section below!
Cover image by NatalieMaynor