Loose Lips

The Signspotter: Tommy Wells

Signspotter: Tommy Wells

Candidate: Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells, seeking re-election

Colors: A Fenty-ish green, sky blue, white

Graphic Elements: A silhouetted city skyline

Slogan: Tommy Wells: Building a livable, walkable city

Spotted: Capitol Hill

The SignspotterSignspotter says: Wells may have the most substantive sign of the season, only one around that could double as the cover of a campaign manifesto. It's wordy, but it takes a stand: a pedestrian agenda is a real policy choice. This is a sign that can provoke a proper political argument. Yet for a candidate running on walkability, Wells stumbles by making the only readable part of his streetscape an unmemorable neighborhood roofline: gabled and flat and with the inexplicable hint of dome. Wouldn't a real walkability candidate find his beauty in the pavement and stoop, front-yard gardens, outdoor café tables thronging the sidewalks?

But Wells doesn't imagine "livability" the way the term is spoken by those who dream of a Zurich or Tokyo on the Anacostia. Perhaps fearing a backlash in parts of his district for trumpeting bourgeois quality-of-life priorities, Wells finds comfort in the old-timey, quaint aesthetic of the New Urbanists. "The pedestrian typography, the shoddy letterspacing (the O too close to the M, the W too far from the E), the ungraceful rendering of the skyline," observes illustrator and graphic designer Jorge Colombo. " It all has a homemade feel. No slicksters here: a rather earnest tone instead."

Photo by Sasha Issenberg

  • Rich

    Agreed. It's the only sign that doesn't seem to just be about the candidate's name. There's a vision that goes with that name.

    I disagree though about missing the mark with the skyline. It's pretty much the view of just about any neighborhood in Ward 6 -- you could even argue its the skyline you see while walking.

    If you're going to give the marketplace for the color green to Fenty, what about the blue skyline? Looks awfully similar to the color on Gray's signs.

  • Ross

    Like the sign in general...Especially it stating a position re: walkable city. Whether that's important to non-white ward 6 residents is questionable. Find "city council" belittling, expecting instead "d.c. council", which most Council members/candidates use.

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