Loose Lips

The Signspotter: Adrian Fenty

Adrian Fenty sign

Welcome to the Signspotter, a new feature of the Loose Lips blog. Between now and Election Day, Washington City Paper will critique—and explain—campaign signs around the District. See a sign you want reviewed? E-mail managing editor Mike Madden and let us know where we can find it.

Candidate: Mayor Adrian Fenty, seeking re-election

Colors: Green and white

Graphic Elements: D.C. map outline behind candidate's name; dramatic angles on letter "N."

Slogan: None—just a URL for his clunkily named website

Spotted: Thomas Circle NW

SignspotterSignspotter says: Like Fenty's ads, the dynamic, lightning-bolt "N" acknowledge the mixed feelings voters have about their dynamic, young mayor: a jittery man of action, but bearing sharp elbows that have alienated former pals. Fenty uses color to soften his image, sticking with the kelly green that carried him to victory in every precinct in 2006. (Fenty's media consultant then and now, Bill Hillsman, knows the color well: it was the signature hue for the campaigns of his most famous client, former Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone.)

Green evokes multiculturalism, progress, the environment—all things Fenty vows to champion. Unfortunately, green politics also evoke a dilletantism that won't help the mayor revive his fortunes in hard-hit parts of a city with double-digit unemployment. The use of the D.C. map sends the message that Fenty is fighting for all eight wards, and perhaps to remind voters how challenging his job is—remember, he's chief executive for the whole city. Signspotter just wishes Fenty had the audacity to print signs actually shaped like the District.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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