Worcester Preliminary Election Lawn Signs, 2023

For past years, see the lawn sign roundups for 2007, 2009 (also 2009 websites), 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2019, and 2021.

There’s a preliminary election this week, different from a primary in that it’s just designed to winnow the not-at-large races down to two candidates. So not every Council or School Committee election needs a prelim.

City Council District 1

Jenny Pacillo

The heart, that’s what really leaps out, it’s terrific. It looks like something out of a video game or social media; one life, one like. I wish the D1 candidates could coordinate and all put that at the tops of their signs, that would be great and make the signs even more like trading cards.

There are many, many blue signs this year, possibly a sign of political polarization in this country. In this generally liberal city, candidates selecting new color schemes are ruling red right out. The bright orange on this sign is the complementary color of the dark blue, the very definition of a graphical element that “pops.”

Some candidates will give their first and last names equal weight, but most of them are going to emphasize one name, ideally something distinctive yet easy to pronounce. Here “Jenny” takes up more space than the rest of the text combined. Two stars.

Larry Shetler

At first glance you think there are two shades of blue, then you notice the very light blue border and the very light blue “Elect.” You don’t really need that “Elect,” the sign already says this is for a Council race, but having that one, unneeded, uncentered word in script is a nice contrast to the remainder of this sans-serif sign. The remainder of the sign is pretty stripped-down not even mentioning this is a District rather than At-Large candidate. No stars.

Dave Peterson

He manages the minor league Bravehearts baseball team, and you see it all over this sign, the hat, the baseball, the slogan. Even the green reminds us of the Bravehearts logo (or baseball fields in general). This green-and-blue combo isn’t my favorite, but no established candidates are using it in this district or at-large, so it’s up for grabs. No stars.

City Council District 2

Robert Bilotta

Once again, it’s all about the color blue in 2023. The last name and the slogan provide a firm foundation. The angled, serifed, and italicized “Robert,” and the curved text above that add some life and fun. Then you notice the little heart in the “O.” There’s fun not only on top of the foundation, but fun within the foundation. No stars.

Phil Palmieri

Phil’s been running for office for a long time, so there are lots of signs out there from his previous campaigns. This “Smarter Together” sign is one I haven’t seen before. It’s hardly a disaster, but I find it very distracting, because I’d make changes to every single element. Make “Vote” smaller, italicized, and reposition it so it looks like it was placed with intention. Unitalicize the candidate’s name. Loosen the kerning on “For District 2 Councilor.” Remove the spacing between letters in the slogan, or maybe just get rid of it. No stars.

Candy Mero-Carlson

She’s the incumbent, she’s been in office for awhile, so she’s not afraid of the brick red offending anyone. Peterson’s sign says “baseball,” but this is the sign that looks like it could be for a little league team. One star.

City Council District 4

Maria Montano is on the ballot but doesn’t have lawn signs.

Ted Kostas

Here’s a candidate who’s not afraid of red! He balances it with a lot of white and some blue, but the important stuff is all red. He’s also not afraid of the American flag. 18 stars.

Katia Norford

Very few of the prelim candidates have photos on their signs. I don’t like photos on campaign signs, but most of us post photos online all the time, I can get how distributing a sign without a photo might feel like a missed opportunity. A photo can communicate things to a potential voter that we hope wouldn’t impact their vote, but which very well might. Like the candidate’s race, sex, age, and how photogenic they are. Norford uses a nice photo here. (Not every candidate does!) So much happening on this sign: the photo, a symbol, a QR code, the color red, a URL, English on one sign and Spanish on the other. Not elegant but hardly a train wreck. No stars.

Luis Ojeda

Without making his name too much larger than the other text, he draws extra attention to it with an underline and some stars. The yellow doesn’t pop like the orange on Jenny Pacillo’s sign, but there’s already a lot going on here, subtle colors are a good idea. I appreciate putting “Vote!” in light blue to mute it a bit. Two stars.

Maureen Schwab

This sign is all about the “4.” It’s central, bigger than the candidate’s name, bigger than anything else on the sign, and does double-duty as the word “for.” This sign is unusual without being unprofessional, and while it doesn’t work for me, I appreciate the experimentation. No stars.

City Council District 5

Etel Haxhiaj

I empathize with anyone with an unwieldy last name. We should all be so lucky as Etel to have a distinctive and wieldy first name, the sign doesn’t shy away from “Haxhiaj” but it knows the “ETEL” is what you’re going to recognize. A green field and blue sky, either a symbol of progressivism, farming, or living on the planet earth. Not bad colors in any case. No stars.

Edson Montero

The blue we expect, the yellow highlights too, but the red really throws me. I don’t know the candidate so I don’t know if the hands reference something specific, or just emphasize the “together” in the slogan. I do know that I want “Together we can be better” to end with a period. No stars.

Jose A. Rivera

Rivera shows Montero how to make that color scheme work, balancing the red and yellow with a much darker blue. He used to be a boxer, so you have the gloves and the slogan. That explosion is great, no sign has the action of this sign. It’s fun to get in the habit of reading this sign too fast, so that for a moment you think the slogan is “I WILL FIGHT YOU”. Six stars.

School Committee District E

Nelly Medina

Such a sunny sign: the classic red, white, and blue, but mostly white, with the red and blue desaturated. I can’t figure out why the “y” collides with the “N,” presumably someone reading this will clue me in. No stars.

John Patrick Reed

Another candidate not afraid of the color red. Very, very straightforward design, red/white/blue, all caps, all the same font (Trajan?), maybe a little bolding and some small caps but nobody fussed around with this sign. I think the serifs on the capital “R”s collide with the serifs of the “I” and the “E” naturally, but if someone had to tweak the kerning to make this happen then good job, you did subtle work. No stars.

Kathleen Roy

So many thin, blue lines. I like the use of limited fonts and making the candidate’s name big, I dislike most of the rest. The double outlines, the color gradient, all this is ugly. Does succeed in being an all-blue sign that won’t be mistaken for any of the other all-blue signs. 48 stars (I think).

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