There's a particular crop that peaks at this time of year in rural America. It's easy to spot along roadsides, on lawns and any highly visible patch of public green space. It blooms as early as September but strangely it’s all gone by the second Wednesday in November.
It’s yard sign season, the fruits of the fungus known as local elections. Everyone running for town supervisor, clerk or highway superintendent plants them and you can spot them where their most ardent supporters live. There are three main classifications of yard sign: plastic board on wooden stick; plastic bag over metal frame; and wooden board on wooden post, the latter being hand-made.
The messages are similar, Elect/Re-elect Name for Some Office, as there isn't much room for anything else, but the designs can vary quite a bit. As the designs of the signs are chosen or approved by the candidates, they often tell you something about their personalities. Depicted here are some of the more common varieties, clockwise from top-left:
If a candidate is endorsed by the local Democratic or Republican committee then their signs will be professionally designed. Clean, legible typography in red, white and blue, with a smattering of stars and stripes.
Eschewing traditional message constructs, the Maverick will opt for one word, perhaps just their first name, and hopes that everyone will start talking about the originality of their sign.
A candidate that isn't interested in the look of their sign will fill out a form online, pick a template, hit submit and hope that their opponents haven't chosen the same ugly layout or colour combination.
Why spend good money on signs when you can make your own? All you need is some wood, paint and some stencil lettering. Most likely to be a write-in candidate, (one whose name does not appear on the ballot). This variety is quite rare, due to the additional energy required for production.