Election Campaign Graphic Design with Razzaq Lodhia CW 59- transcript

Election Campaign Graphic DesignJohn Tsarpalas: Today we are going to go in depth on good design for a campaign. You are going to have to have a website, literature, yard signs, and do some mailing. And all of that needs design. Today on Commonwealthy #59, Election Campaign Graphic Design with Razzaq Lodhia.

Well, today on Commonwealthy, I am talking to my friend Razzaq Lodhia of ElectionGraphics.us. Welcome!

Razzaq Lodhia: Thank you. How are you?

John Tsarpalas: I am good. I am excellent. I am excited that you are here because I haven’t touched on the design of the campaign enough. I talked about it in past episodes of this podcast, but we really need to think about what’s the process that the candidate needs to go through, people involved in the campaign, with you, who is not only a graphic designer, but also a website designer and video person. I know you do a lot of videos for campaign. So I want to get into all of those things this morning.

Razzaq Lodhia: Sure.

John Tsarpalas: So let’s say you are going to run for state rep here in Illinois, although this podcast is in multi-state. People can get a hold of you through the web. It is easy to deal with you long distance.

Razzaq Lodhia: Very true.

John Tsarpalas: There were things I worked on with you where I never saw your face for many years. It was later on when I actually got face to face with you. We bumped into each other. You were shooting video and stuff. So where should a campaign start?

Razzaq Lodhia: Okay, once you decide to run, you need basically what I call a campaign starter kit, which consists of multiple things. First, you need your branding, a campaign brand: a logo and messaging. Once you have a logo design, that gives you a foundation to design the rest of the pieces around it.

I tend to stay away from an overuse of red and blue all over. I tend to kind of like a little variation of design of the logo color. I like to throw in some other colors besides just red and blue.

After the campaign logo is decided, I offer you would have a website and you would have a MailChimp email blast. It doesn’t have to be MailChimp. It could be any of the systems. But from my perspective, MailChimp works so well. It is integrated with the other things that I would use for the campaign.

Content wise, given the campaign strategy, there is not much of the messaging mailed on what they want to say as a candidate. So I suggest is after you have the logo designed, the photography done for the headshot and little poses here and there that we get to use throughout the different collateral piece for the campaign, and then we have to do a website development.

But if we were to do a website waiting for content to come in, it would take forever. So I say let’s start off a candidate with an interim webpage. It is just a single webpage of their face, their welcome page, why they are running, who they are, and a little bio.

John Tsarpalas: Just get something up quickly so that there is something there when people look at them.

Razzaq Lodhia: So the purpose of that is you can tell people to go to your website. On that web page is a single page at this stage as an interim website. That page contains a donation page (donation language is very critical), a volunteer page, and sign me up on an email list.

Those three forms are part of that single page website. That gets a campaign going immediately. I get a collecting donation via online. There are certain rules that you have to follow for the election process in terms of you have to full name of the donors, occupation, disclosure, and disclaimer that collected on the database, the backend.

That phase of the development is for the primary. Once the primary is done, then there is a budget coming in for the campaign’s website. Then we switch over to a full website of the campaign. Nowadays, the campaign doesn’t have to have a website because there is lots of Facebook activity. But not everybody is on Facebook. So you have to have a website for your campaign so that people can go and check you out.

John Tsarpalas: Right.

Razzaq Lodhia: And then the website must have information other than policy and issues that for sure is going to be there. You have to have a miscellaneous important part, like voter’s information of where to go.

John Tsarpalas: A map of the district.

Razzaq Lodhia: Yes, exactly. A district map. Those are actually provided by the board of election. But their website to navigate to that is so convoluted that people get lost. So I basically strip down the information to what is particular to that candidate, whatever district he or she is running in, and then say, “Here is all of the information you need. There’s a link to the registration website or critical dates for voting.”

That is basically gives a campaign or a “Go to my webpage” whatever the name you want to call the page and that information is there. Things get updated there too.

So the primary happens. The walk card gets done. A wall card is known as a push card or a walk piece or a walk piece. I just use the walk card term. The idea behind the walk card is as you walk door to door, you hand out this oversized business card. That is basically what it is.

It is a little bio leaflet that is usually 4×9. The 4” width fits perfectly in the palm of your hand so you can just have stacks of them and hand them out.

The walk cards have the logo of the campaign. You have the photography done. You have the webpage up and running. You have a walk card piece that you can hand out. I would have the campaign use their little business card to hand out if they don’t want to carry the walk card all of the time. And then you have miscellaneous buttons and what not. It depends upon how the candidate feels about that. That is the one part of it that you can do to get the campaign going.

John Tsarpalas: Okay, so let me take a little time out here. Let’s go back to sort of the beginning. A campaign needs a logo, a font, and a look, correct? You put all of that together for somebody.

Razzaq Lodhia: Yeah.

John Tsarpalas: How do you evolve that with somebody? You talk to them about what colors they are envisioning? Do you come up with some ideas? Usually you give six, eight, ten choices of something when you are making designs.

Razzaq Lodhia: Yeah, the basic feel. I would say, “What don’t you want to see?” Certain candidates say, “I don’t want to see stars” or whatever. So there is a design variation. Since I am the creative person, I come up with multiple sketches, right?

John Tsarpalas: You do.

Razzaq Lodhia: Right. If I like it, then a candidate would like it. So I just submit what I like as a part of my design process. There is some give and take of what font to use and not use. I am very particular about typography. So I want to make sure the logo is just perfectly done. Don’t use Helvetica and stretch it up and down. Actually use the proper type or whatever effect you want to do.

The logo is actually hinges upon the last name of the candidate. The longer the last name, you don’t want to make the logo too wide so it becomes a little bit cumbersome to use. If it is a really wide logo, then your buttons are small. The graphics and everything just needs to fit smaller.

John Tsarpalas: It doesn’t work, yeah.

Razzaq Lodhia: Then you have one of the candidates I am helping. His last name is Gott, Dan Gott. It is such an easy to play with in terms of design because you have four characters in the last name. So you can make the logo really as large as possible. Proportionally it needs to be like 4×3 so it fits nicely on all of the different form factors. The last name of the candidate actually would decide the logo’s look and feel, right?

John Tsarpalas: Yeah, proportion is something I don’t think about, but you are right; that is important than anything because it has to look balanced and fit right.

Razzaq Lodhia: Of course, right. It needs to fit. And then I think through how else they are going to be using this logo. Once the logo is designed, the campaign gets not just the logo, but multiple versions of the logo in different color schemes. So they would a black and white logo. If it is a two color logo, then they get a blue or green or whatever it is jpg, png, vector map, pdf, scalable if they want to make a poster out of it.

So you have a whole set of logos at your disposal. If they want to use a PowerPoint presentation, you want to give them a png format.

John Tsarpalas: Because it is clear, transparent and it will lay in there.

Razzaq Lodhia: So the candidates themselves don’t know; it’s not their business, right? Some of the candidates are lawyers.

John Tsarpalas: Sure. That’s why they come to you.

Razzaq Lodhia: I need to educate, exactly. I need to educate them on what is needed.

John Tsarpalas: Right.

Razzaq Lodhia: So that is what campaign branding has done. It is kind of followed through. You use the same blue if you can. Nowadays because digital printing is so affordable, we are not picky about PMS color, unless we do the fashion catalogue. If I give them a, “Here’s a PMS 187,” which is red and the printer is almost always on the mark.

If I wanted to be really critical about it, then I want to make sure it is perfectly right. But most of the time, once you go down to the printing of a yard sign, they just use stock colors: red, blue, green, or whatever color it looks like. A signage company can match a PMS color. But why waste money on that? As a yard sign, it gets dirty and filthy outside anyway.

John Tsarpalas: So go with the stock colors and save money on the printing.

Razzaq Lodhia: Right, exactly.

John Tsarpalas: I got it. Okay.

Razzaq Lodhia: Say, “Give me red” or “Give me orange” or “I just want red. Whatever the stock color you have.” Overall, it really doesn’t matter because we are not doing any color mission critical work. It is not for a national magazine. It is a very temporary work. After the election, it is all moot, win or lose.

John Tsarpalas: Right, that’s true.

Razzaq Lodhia: So that’s where I try to save the campaign money. You don’t want to waste money on that. Alright, so online presence is done. We have a website running. Then I offer as a part of the campaign kit a weekly email blast or monthly. I tell campaign, “Don’t blast more than twice per month initially going into a primary.”

John Tsarpalas: Yeah, especially in the slow season.

Razzaq Lodhia: Yeah. You want to have a reason to blast, like, “Hey, I am having a invite” or “Someone famous is coming. Do you want to come join me?”

John Tsarpalas: Right.

Razzaq Lodhia: So that campaign content provider, I offer that service. I make it so easy for candidates to come to just one spot and I just make the website, the forms, the database, and the email part. Any collateral they need done and designed I do that. And also, I work with a printer. I get the file to them and do their press check. If they are going to print 30 or 50,000 business cards, I want to see the proof.

John Tsarpalas: Make sure it is right before it goes, yeah.

Razzaq Lodhia: So I go there. I say, “Here it is. It looks fine.” Most of the time I pick up the job and hand deliver it to the candidate’s office because a day is lost in picking up the stuff and they can’t distribute it.

John Tsarpalas: Right, campaign material needs to go out properly.

Razzaq Lodhia: Right. Once you have it, just don’t waste it. The campaign needs an invitation sent out. I am always on the phone with them, saying, “Okay, work backwards from the date that the event is happening because people need to know at least ten days before the event if they are going to be attending or not. So that piece of invitation needs to go in the mailbox so they receive it for at least fourteen days prior to the event.”

John Tsarpalas: Right.

Razzaq Lodhia: Now if you are doing Eventbrite or a digital invite, then still you need to have at least a week before the event.

John Tsarpalas: Well, people’s calendars get full. You want to give them some notice earlier so they can get it on there. If it is email, you might want to do, “Coming. Hold the date,” and then an actual announcement posted.

Razzaq Lodhia: Right, exactly. That is a part of service. All of this on top of it is like, “Where are we with that? You want to do this. Time is running out.” What happens is two or three months prior to the general election, things get so chaotic.

If you don’t keep your deadline in mind, what happens if for instance you are doing twenty or thirty mail pieces, you aren’t sending that as a standard rate mailing, which is about, for a letter size weighing less than an ounce, 27 cents. That requires the post office about ten days. They put it in the back of the truck.

John Tsarpalas: It goes when it gets there.

Razzaq Lodhia: So the ten days is for your standard. So if you want the piece to end up in the mailboxes by a certain day, there is five days for the printer, ten days for delivery, so like two weeks. It is better to do it now before fourteen days. Otherwise you are going to end up paying first class, which is going to—

John Tsarpalas: Double your cost, yeah.

Razzaq Lodhia: – double your cost or reduce your mailing you are going to do. I think the nature of the technology is so easy now. If you want to print something, you do File Menu and say Print and get instantaneous results. It doesn’t work like that in commercial. Commercial printers need time. They do have rush charges. There is a printer that can actually get you done in one day.

John Tsarpalas: But they are going to charge you a fortune.

Razzaq Lodhia: Yeah. Because it is digital printing, all they need to be available is the machine. Everything is there for them to run the file, print, cut, and box, right?

John Tsarpalas: So you are saying they need to set up a schedule in advance of what their mail is. And every campaign should have a mailing schedule, approximate how many pieces they are going to have, and think about what topic of that piece is going to be and who your audience is. If you are talking about property taxes, then you are going to want to find people who are property tax sensitive to be mailing that.

Or are you mailing it to your whole universe? You also need to decide if that is Republicans only, if it is Independents, if it is soft R’s. And are you mailing to everybody, even Democrats, which would be foolish.

Razzaq Lodhia: And that data comes from the actual political organization. If you are running as a Republican, then you look at GOP to get the dataset. But the danger is a candidate says, “Okay, I want to do a mailing.” I always tell them, “If you want to do this, just preplan something that I need time to do anyways like designing and the layout.” We can work with a dummy copy. You don’t worry about the messaging.

John Tsarpalas: You can throw the message in last minute.

Razzaq Lodhia: Exactly. Then you would know how many words you would need to write. Let’s say you are doing a postcard. Now, the maximum size you can mail postcards through the U.S. Post Office is 8×12. If you have a 8×12 piece of card, they don’t call it a postcard; they call it a flat card. It is a different rate all together. But there are certain dimensions. If you go to a 6×11 versus a 6×9, the postage is the same.

John Tsarpalas: So you might as well mail the bigger piece.

Razzaq Lodhia: It doesn’t matter. So the two or three inches extra you are getting in the postcard, will that allow you extra space to do your messaging? The printing cost is negligible. We are talking about fifty twenty thousand quantity, right? To do 6×9 versus 6×11-

John Tsarpalas: – is a penny, less than that.

Razzaq Lodhia: Yeah, it is a couple hundred dollar difference. But here’s the advantage of doing a larger piece: it doesn’t get lost in the junk pile you get in your mailbox. It sticks out. Then you can save money by using the lesser paper weight or what cardstock you use or finish.

As a designer, the campaign doesn’t need to know. The campaign needs to know how much it is going to cost per piece. I figure it out. Postage there is no markup. You know exactly the cost; it is a published rate. So you know there is a first class, a first class presort, and a standard. If you are doing something through a nonprofit, you get a really, really good rate.

John Tsarpalas: A whole different rate, right.

Razzaq Lodhia: But it has to come through a nonprofit. Your campaign has to be very careful. They cannot mix this thing up. You can get a mail permit for a political organization if they will allow you to do that. You can use their indicia on your mailing to save the postage cost.

John Tsarpalas: And in fact the state parties get a lower rate. If you can get the state party to use their indicia, you can get an even lower rate. But that isn’t necessarily always going to happen.

Razzaq Lodhia: Yeah, all they need that permit number if it is legitimately granted, right? So you can say, “I have a permit number.” If that is the case, then the printer needs the postage up front. So the campaign has to think about that. If you are doing like a thirty or forty or fifty thousand mailing, make sure the postage money is there.

As a vendor, I can bill a client (the campaign) and get reimbursed. But the printer is not going to buy the postage out of their own pocket. So you want to get the postage and cost and printing all planned out ahead of time and do the mailing.

If you mailing that much of a quantity (let’s say thirty thousand), there is no need to do everything in one shot. You can say, “I want to do a mailing to ten thousand or five thousand increments and see what kind of results I get.” If you want to save money in printing costs, it is cheaper to print thirty thousand in one go, then do like five thousand at a time.

It all depends on who is the other side of the candidate. If the other side is aggressively doing mail pieces, then you want to respond in kind immediately, just like a back and forth. You have a print collateral that is important if it is followed up. You can’t just do one mailing to one universe and then quit. You have to do at least three or four.

John Tsarpalas: Right. In fact I have seen studies that it takes seven pieces before people realize your name even.

Razzaq Lodhia: Exactly right. This one campaign that I am going to be doing, we have to figure it out. There are two ways to do the bulk mailing. Either you get a list that is solid of voters and then you mail to that address at 29 cents or 19 cents for bulk rate. Or you pay a post office 17.6 cents per piece and it goes to every household in the zip code, which is called EDDM, which stands for Every Door Direct Marketing.

The drawback to that is you know each household in a certain zip code is going to get that mailing, but you are actually mailing to somebody who will never vote for you.

John Tsarpalas: You have people who aren’t registered.

Razzaq Lodhia: Now, for 17.6 cents versus 27 cents to do a mailing, it can be maybe wash where you are sending it to. I mean, if you know your list is solid, if you are Republican running or Democrat, there is no need to introduce yourself to hard R’s and hard Dems. They are going to vote for you anyway.

John Tsarpalas: Right.

Razzaq Lodhia: If your mail piece is about collecting funds, then you want to target to only those hard R’s who would be willing to write you a check. For that, you don’t do a postcard; you do the actual number and a letter.

John Tsarpalas: A letter.

Razzaq Lodhia: In a number 10 envelope and be courteous to include a number 9 envelope.

John Tsarpalas: For the return, right.

Razzaq Lodhia: Make it easy for them to do things for you. Write a check and put a stamp on it. If you have good budget, you can do business reply mail. But campaigns don’t have that kind of luxury.

John Tsarpalas: Right.

Razzaq Lodhia: The campaign has to decide what they are going to spend their money on. My part of the equation is the least costly. The design fee is based on the number of hours I am working on it. Once it is done, it is done. If there is a revision on it, it is like a text change. The printing is the second piece of the equation where it costs money. The bulk is the postage.

John Tsarpalas: That is just how it is.

Razzaq Lodhia: That’s just how it is. The return on the investment I think is critical for campaigns to mail something out with a photo of candidate and something simple saying, “Here is why I am running.” People are anti-establishment. You want to say why you are running.

There are a couple of candidates I am working with who have a really good chance of winning because their message is like Donald Trump; it is totally different. Will they have a change? Especially from the Republican side, will they have enough chance to make any difference? I guess once they get into the Assembly, there is a big change.

John Tsarpalas: Sure.

Razzaq Lodhia: The campaign in terms of messaging, I don’t do messaging. As a voter, I understand what messaging should be. I can spot a good candidate or not.

John Tsarpalas: That’s not your thing, no. You are the copy.

Razzaq Lodhia: I work with a copy writer all the time. I help massage the messaging. I can sometimes make the slogan for the campaign which actually gets adopted. But the campaign from our side, we talk about the same issue about budget and taxes. You know what? That’s a problem everybody has. As a single person, if you do get in, how are you going to solve the budget issue against someone like Madigan. You can’t. Let’s not waste your time saying why you want to do this. You tell your voters, “If you don’t vote for me, then the worse gets worse.”

But I can make the look and feel of the message fit the design and make it readable. The point is if you get a piece, you want that piece to be read.

John Tsarpalas: Right. I have read something like you have three seconds or something. They pick it up, they look at it, and it is going in the garbage or it is not if you catch their eye. What can you do to catch their eye? It is about the message, but it is the look too. The look is very important.

Razzaq Lodhia: My philosophy is the less the better. Nobody reads all of this nonsense long stuff you write. Make it simple. Here’s a picture of you. Here’s who I am. Look at my lovely family I have. This is what I am running for. Please vote for me. People who are interested, they will look at it.

If you are selling a package product, that’s a different story. I am going to make this thing about frequency of the mailing. You do that.

Going back to the website, once you have the website, don’t let it stand still and become stale. You have to do something with it.

John Tsarpalas: I think a small campaign is posting some pictures and photos of different events. If you have some press release, you are going to put that up there on a regular basis. You are going to be adding thoughts on an issue paper. You are going to add those one by one as things come up.

And then you are going to put links; if there is an article about you in the paper, you are going to add that link. If you coming down to the end and the editorial board has a review as a candidate, you want to put a link to that if you are getting endorsed. So you want to keep it fresh with these kind of thoughts.

Razzaq Lodhia: Promoting is important. Don’t feel embarrassed, “Oh, should I ask for money?” No, you are running a campaign.

John Tsarpalas: You have to ask.

Razzaq Lodhia: And plus you are actually you are running on behalf of other people. So if you are reluctant to do your work, why are you running then? I want to consider myself a political trauma center. Just come to me; I can get it done.

John Tsarpalas: Well, you do. This is what I have always liked about you.

Razzaq Lodhia: Literally I can get it done overnight.

John Tsarpalas: I have seen that.

Razzaq Lodhia: Given the time, like email blasts. But there are certain things you cannot do physically, like printing quantity at a commercial printer. One campaign called me up in 2014. I had been telling them for months ahead of time, “You need a walk card done. You need a door hanger done. Get it ready.” “Oh, we aren’t ready yet.” “Well, just think about it. You will need it. Trust me.”

One day I get a call from the campaign, “Hey, Razzaq, we need this thing done.” To me, I am like, “Oh, great, another project to show up.” “I can do that. I am available. I can set something aside.” They wanted a door hanger. A door hanger is a long piece of card with the hole for the knob on the top.

John Tsarpalas: Sure, so you can put it on the doorknob.

Razzaq Lodhia: For the doorknob, right. The campaign calls and is like, “We need this thing done.” I am like, “I can design it overnight. Not a problem. What is the quantity you are looking for?” “Oh, we need about ten thousand.” “Oh, that is good. That is doable. When do you need it?” “Can I have it by tomorrow?”

John Tsarpalas: What about the printer?

Razzaq Lodhia: It like, “You know what? No commercial printer in the world can print ten thousand copies in a day. Physically it is not possible. Even if you go to Office Depot and buy ten laser printers and start printing your own door hangers, it is not possible.” So I am thinking. I think the idea is “I go to File and Print. How many copies? Ten thousand.” It doesn’t work like that.

You have to pre-educate a campaign. It does take time. Always you can get this done in an emergency overnight, but certain things are not possible. For instance, the door hanger part is a process. After the design is done, you get it to the printer. The printer prints the door hanger. It gets sent to a die cutting company if they don’t have their own die.

John Tsarpalas: Because they have to cut the door knob out.

Razzaq Lodhia: Cut the die and the slip, right? And then it takes a couple of days and it comes back to them. They have to package it and what not. It just happened that I have the printer that I work with already design a die for me. So my door hanger die is ready. This is the exact seam dimension. We do that and that and they cut the die.

But there is time that is required for certain things, even with digital printing. It is fascinating how the digital printers nowadays work. I am talking on the commercial end. It prints everything in one go. With the UV dries it in the same pass. Out comes the whole big sheet. The printer takes it and trims it. That’s it. Literally it takes them an hour to print quality.

But there are other jobs ahead of them. So you can’t just say, “I want to get in the front of the queue and get my job done” unless you have a good relationship with a printer. Then you can do that.

John Tsarpalas: But you have to be realistic.

Razzaq Lodhia: The other thing campaigns sometimes don’t follow up is when you have this design done. “Have you reviewed it? Can I have a comment?” “Well, I haven’t gotten to it.” “Well, just take a look. Read it. Get back to me so I can send you another wrap of the design.”

I hate wasting a day or two when time goes by and nothing happens and then you need to rush it to the printer. The printer owes you a favor so you can get it done and don’t charge the campaign so much money. It is a constant battle. It is much easier to work with a business client because they have a serious budget and a serious timeline and a serious printing.

Campaigns don’t work like that. The candidate needs to review everything obviously. And then the campaign manager needs to get a pass through.

John Tsarpalas: Or sometimes pass a lawyer. Often the campaign finance lawyer has to look at it, too.

Razzaq Lodhia: When that happens, it is a uh oh red flag.

John Tsarpalas: Oh, I know. I did a lot of mail when I was with the state party. It all had to go before three lawyers. It was crazy. It slowed things down terribly.

Razzaq Lodhia: Exactly. They are wasting time. It is easy. How long does it take a lawyer to read this thing?

John Tsarpalas: Yeah, but is he busy at the moment that you send it to him? So you send it at noon and he gets to it at five o’clock.

Razzaq Lodhia: All of that can be avoided. Just plan ahead.

John Tsarpalas: Right.

Razzaq Lodhia: Regardless if you don’t have funding for anything, just come to us. What do you want done? Fine. Just plan weeks ahead. Months ahead is even better. Because nothing goes to print until you are ready.

John Tsarpalas: So let’s talk about that. I haven’t talked about it on the podcast enough. That is planning. There should be a mail plan. There should be an email blast plan. You should have a plan for the timing of your website and who is going to do this and that. You are going to get a big calendar and you are going to pencil in a schedule. And you are going to stick to the schedule.

You are going to take what is on that plan and look at the numbers for how many households you are going to mail that to and how many people you are trying to reach. You are going to find all of that data information. You are going to ask for all of those costs up front. You haven’t bought anything yet, but you are going to find out what it is going to cost for the postage, the mail house, the design, and the printer.

You are going to figure all of that out. And then that budget goes back into the budget for the campaign. This is how you determine how much money you have to raise.

Razzaq Lodhia: Correct.

John Tsarpalas: So you really need to start with your plan and then go back. Put it all on the budget. And then that goes back to your fundraising plan and how much you have to raise by different dates. Based on the calendar when you need things printed is when you have to have that money in house to pay those bills.

Razzaq Lodhia: Right. If it is not in the budget for certain mailings, there is always a redesign where you can say, “Alright, let’s not do 6×11. Let’s see if we can do something much smaller.” I’d rather have frequency than quantity. So just mail them out. There is lots of research on what works or what doesn’t work, right? You have seen during the 2014 Rauner’s campaign, sent out a bunch of stuff. Every week there was something in the mailbox. Because they have an allocated budget for that and this is what they are doing.

You get that money ready. Have a deal with a printer. Have a deal with a design firm. I would love to be on a retainer on a large campaign like that. Throw the work at me. No matter what, I’ll get it done. That is the way for the campaign to work rather than worrying about a budget for a certain amount. Just hire someone like me on a retainer. I’ll give you X amount of hours, whatever you would want your first priority to be.

John Tsarpalas: Okay, that makes sense, too.

Razzaq Lodhia: Overall that actually saves them some budget, too. But they have to allocate those funds. As you know, John, a campaign is not only one person. You have a campaign manager. If the wife is involved, the wife needs to give approval done.

John Tsarpalas: Right. There is always wife approval or spouse approval.

Razzaq Lodhia: Exactly.

John Tsarpalas: I actually have a lot of candidates who are females so it is spouse approval.

Razzaq Lodhia: That’s correct. Right.

John Tsarpalas: You and I work for a lot of women. And something I always wanted to compliment you on: you always have given me in any situation I have been in (sometimes I am around a campaign and I am not necessarily working it, like Paul. You have things happening for Paul all of the time.) You give people a choice, but what I have always loved is you have never balked about changing things.

It’s part of the business. I get you get used to it. If it if was me, I’d be like, “Oh, my god. I have to change it again. I have to change it again.” But, no! You change and change and then it comes back again. “Okay, let’s do this. We don’t like that.”

Razzaq Lodhia: Even in my design process, I don’t have an ego. If somebody doesn’t like it, fine; no big deal. Everybody looks at things differently. Once the logo is done and set and if somebody modifies it, oh my god, that gets me.

John Tsarpalas: Well, that’s because they mess with it.

Razzaq Lodhia: It was perfect.

John Tsarpalas: Yeah, once it is settled, it should be settled.

Razzaq Lodhia: Yeah, don’t stretch it. Don’t scale it and all of that. Once your logo is out in the wild, fine. When I see the results, I am like, “My god, they stretched the logo.” Anyways, that is par for the course.

But the point it because of technology, we can do so many things in a campaign literally. It is amazing. But none of that is available if the candidate and the message is not there.

John Tsarpalas: Right. I have worked with you on things and a half hour later you have sent back changes and implemented them. It’s like, “Oh my gosh! How did this get done so quickly?” So that is fabulous.

So it can get done quickly, but people have to remember that printing takes time. Getting people to edit and sign off takes time. Mailing takes time. And they need to be aware of all of that and have that in their plan from the beginning.

Razzaq Lodhia: Mailing is the most critical in terms of standard bulk rate versus first class presorted. There is a big difference. First class presorted is guaranteed three days delivery.

John Tsarpalas: I don’t care what campaign you have, you have to have that walk card, palm piece. You have got to have one piece of literature. You are going to have some yard signs. And then it is going to build from there. You are going to have to do some mailing hopefully. And you need a website in this day and age. You’ve got to have that.

So there are certain basics that every campaign has got to have with some design element.

Razzaq Lodhia: Exactly.

John Tsarpalas: Razzaq and I talked for quite a while and we got in to some other topics. So I decided to make this a two part podcast. So we will be back with the second half in two weeks. We are going to talk about some things that Razzaq does for his clients that I think every campaign needs to think about and needs to understand.

Those are what kind of photography do you need? You are going to need headshots. You are going need scenes of your family and perhaps scenes in the community. All of that stuff is necessary to go into your literature.

Then Razzaq mastered videography. He takes videos of candidates he works with and puts it up on the candidate’s website. He lets the candidate distribute them. We talk at length about that and why we think it is really important as a good way for voters to get to know the candidate without really having to meet the candidate.

We get into some other stuff, too: things like novelties, like water bottles with the candidate’s name on it and picture. In our neighborhood, there is a Democrat congresswoman. Her name is Jan. I’d like to call her Jan the Socialist. But anyway, Jan passes out little hand paper fans, like Japanese fans, that you can cool yourself off while you are sitting along the sidelines of summer parades.

She passes those out at the Fourth of July parade. They are a very popular item. It says, “Jan Fan,” which is very clever. So Razzaq and I talk about that and some of the other novelty items, like t-shirts and perhaps magnets for your refrigerator and things like that. Some of them are good; some of them are not. But from a design point of view, we need to talk about it a little bit.

These are the kind of things you might have your designer help you with. But especially once you do have a look and a logo, these things get much easier. So I will be back in two weeks with Razzaq to talk about what happens in a campaign. That will be Commonwealthy #60, Political Campaign Use of Photography, Video, and Novelties.

As always, we will have show notes and a transcript of today’s podcast at Commonwealthy.com. If you’ve got questions, you can reach me at john@commonwealthy.com. I am always available to help you with your campaign or if you are thinking about a campaign and haven’t started yet.

I give a free half hour consultation with my candidate coaching. I’d be happy to talk to you so john@commonwealthy.com. Let’s win some elections.

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