jump to navigation

We’re Cheaper Than Kinkos! January 19, 2010

Posted by yellowdoggraphics in Uncategorized.
add a comment

When it comes time to buy something, you have a decision to make. You have to decide where to go to buy it. This decision can be influence by many different factors. You might need toilet paper ‘right now’ will help you decide to go to the closest place that sells toilet paper. Then again, the closest place might have a cute girl and you don’t want her to see you walking funny, so that makes you choose the 2nd closest place.
Luckily, this sort of emergency isn’t involved in most decision on where to buy things. The three main things that people look at when deciding where to purchase items is price, quality, & time.

The toilet paper incident is an example of time. Probably the biggest example involving time is deciding between ordering something online to be shipped to you, or going to a local store to buy it. Instant gratification and procrastination are two little gremlins that sometimes make the decision for you.

Deciding based on quality can be split into two parts. The first is the quality of the product. Is it the best tasting cheeseburger, longest lasting deodorant or safest child car-seat? To find these out you either need to have experienced the product before, get a referral from someone with experience with the product, or get your hands on a trusted review. The other side of quality is your experience in purchasing the product. Was it easy to find, were the employees friendly and helpful, did everything in the transaction go as smoothly as promised? All of these normally fall under the catch-all of customer service. The quality that you are satisfied with is a very individual preference.

The most obvious of the deciding factors for many people is price. If it wasn’t for price, I would guess that 90% of transactions that happen on the internet wouldn’t take place. Especially since the recession, people are a little more price conscious. There is nothing wrong with that. You do need to understand that in many cases, you will have to sacrifice some part of quality to get the lowest price. If you are in Costco, you are going to get some great prices, but if you need help finding something, it’s not always easy to find an employee who can help you out. Costco, Wal-Mart and Home Depot are all great examples of large chain stores where you can get items for less than most other places.

Now if you read the title of this article and made it this far into it, you’ve probably wondering if somebody added the wrong heading. Well, this is the paragraph where I tie it all together. Everyone knows that large chains get better discounts and can sell their products for less. Many people know Kinko’s is a huge company, so they should have good pricing on all their items. I decided to go on their website to see if I could see their sign pricing to see how Yellow Dog Signs & Graphics compares. I was blown away. I couldn’t believe their prices. For every person who believes that Kinko’s must have the best pricing around, well, you’ve been bamboozled, hoodwinked, hornswoggled & any other funny sounding words like that.

If you look at Kinko’s website, they list their pricing for a couple different size banners. If you want a 3’x5′ outdoor banner with grommets, they show that it will cost $134.99. That same banner at Yellow Dog Signs & Graphics is $105.00 and includes the edges being hemmed and grommets. The next step up for Kinko’s is their standard 3’x5′ banner which is the same thing, except they laminate the banner. Their price for that is $179.99. Once again, the same banner from Yellow Dog is $105.00. We don’t laminate the banner because the inks we use are scratch resistant and have UV protection. I did find where Kinko’s will make a 1 color 3’x5′ banner with 8 words or less for you for only $99. For six dollars more, we will give you unlimited colors and unlimited wording.

I looked at posters, Yellow Dog is less. I looked at foam core signs, we have them beat there too. I honestly understand why they would charge more, because they don’t specialize in making custom signs. It’s an additional service they added on. For our shop, its all we do. Kinko’s is lucky that it benefits from the notion that bigger stores mean better prices. As an independent sign shop whose only location is in Fresno, how can I possibly let people know that we are cheaper than Kinko’s. That we have better quality than Kinko’s. That our turn around time is faster than Kinko’s. That we pride ourselves on customer service and have years of experience to get the right sign for the customer. I’m not sure what the best way of trying to get this message out to people. Maybe I’ll start with writing a blog post about it…

Creativity – It works better than SHOUTING! December 9, 2009

Posted by yellowdoggraphics in Advertising / Marketing, Signs.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

I love when people have the creativity and vision to do something new and unique with signage. As businesses owners have had their cash flow slow down because of the recession, they have become more selective with their advertising. Trying to shout your message as many times as possible to wear people down into listening can be very expensive. The alternative that advertisers are turning to is making advertisement that is more memorable, interesting & exciting. Signs is one area where you can make a big splash with a low cost, if you can get creative.

Mini Cooper Sign AdvertisementA good example being creative with signage is this advertisement for Mini Coopers. You could take this same size sign, put it on a wall somewhere and you would only have 1/100 of the impact. Someone had the vision of putting it at the top of a subway staircase. So know the sign shows that even though it’s a small car, there must be a lot of room on the inside. This is accomplished with the placement of the sign making it appear there are hundreds of people getting in and out of it. I believe this has a much bigger and longer lasting effect than if the sign had big blinking lights that said that same thing.

Not to say that’s it easy to some up with creative signs like the Mini Cooper ad, but it’s definitely worth it. There can be the occasional pitfall with trying new ideas with signs. In the example below, WPMI-TV in Alabama made a billboard for their local news. On it you can see the 3 news casters and an L.E.D. board that allowed the station to update the latest news by way of twitter. Let’s just say that its always a good idea to think of where your sign and message is being placed.

So as you can see, signs are becoming less of a static media and more interactive & memorable. Much like a website, they are advertising 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you have the creativity and vision, you can make a sign into something that gets people talking, or something that people will take pictures of and pass around on the internet. Who knows, you could even have somebody writing a blog post about it and giving you even more free advertising. That’s a hard price to beat.

Looking for a unique gift? Get a custom guitar! November 17, 2009

Posted by yellowdoggraphics in Business Spotlight.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment
Custom_Guitar_Graphics_Rockflight

The family that 'plays' together stays together. (I know it's cheesy, but that's all I could think of.)

Earlier this year, we had a guy come into our shop looking for something a little different. He wasn’t looking to have a traditional sign made, he wanted to make guitars. Seeing as we have never made a guitar, this was a little confusing. He explained that he was able to put the guitars together, but he wanted to be able to customize them with pictures and graphics. We have made pictures and graphics before (actually everyday) so this sounded a little more doable.

The customer’s name was Steve and his company was Rockflight. He had the idea of putting together guitars that would be a great and unique gift to give someone. Very few people out there have a guitar with their pictures and logo on the face, unless they are in a band. The guitars he makes are functional, but can also just be mounted on the wall as a cool conversation piece.

Some of the different graphics we’ve done for him have been for the Valley Children’s Hospital, Fresno Police, a Patriotic layout and collages of family pictures. With the holiday season coming up, you might have to shop for someone that seems to have everything. I’ll bet they don’t have a custom guitar to play or hang on their wall, so give Steve a call or check out his website.

What’s a Good Letter Size? November 3, 2009

Posted by yellowdoggraphics in Advertising / Marketing, Signs.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

Letter SizesWhen making a sign, one main aspect to consider is how big to make it to be effective. The bigger the sign, the more likely it will be seen. But the amount of information you put on it will determine if it can be read easily.

For larger signs such as banners, 3D lettering or store front signage, you need to consider how far people will be viewing it from. Below is an easy guideline to follow to know if your lettering will be visible.

4″ Lettering – Readable from 150 feet
6″ Lettering – Readable from 200 feet
8″ Lettering – Readable from 350 feet
10″ Lettering – Readable from 450 feet
12″ Lettering – Readable from 525 feet
(Information provided by Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, Penn State University & United State Sign council to show viewing distance and minimum letter height..)

All You Need To Know About Faux October 21, 2009

Posted by yellowdoggraphics in Business Spotlight.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

Faux Example PicturesFaux painting is one of those things that looks hard, until someone shows you how easy it is. Then you try to do the easy steps on your own and they end up not being as easy as they look. If you give me a sponge, some paint and a wall, it’s going to look like I put paint on a wall with a sponge. That’s why any painting projects are done by my wife, Heather. It also doesn’t hurt that she’s a faux and mural painter who has been trained in the different techniques and has been doing it for years.

From Heather having her business Faux By Heather, I’ve learned a lot about faux finishing. When I go from one room in our house to another, there is a different style of faux painting on the walls. The entry way has a dark red Venetian Plaster. What stands out most about the Venetian Plaster to me is the super smooth feel it has once it’s on the wall. In the bathroom she did a glaze on the walls. The bathroom has a nautical theme, so she used a couple different shades of the blue glaze to help give it some depth. In the family room she did one entire wall with a sunset beach scene mural. I think the mural is what people remember the most if they’ve been over.

Before & After Faux Painted Garage Doors

Before & After Faux Painted Garage Doors

One of my favorite things she has faux painted was a garage. The people she was working for had already painted the outside of their house, but wanted something different for their white garage doors. They wanted them to look like barn doors. This style of painting is called Tromp L’oeil. Tromp L’oeil can best be described as an art technique involving extremely realistic imagery in order to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects appear in three dimensions, instead of actually being a two-dimensional painting. She said that painting the garage doors took a little longer than she had planned, because people kept stopping to talk to her about them.

I’ll admit, I might be a little biased, but I feel Heather of Faux by Heather is by far the best faux painter in the Fresno & Clovis area. Probably the best in the valley. I would say best in the world, but I don’t want her traveling everywhere and leaving me at home to play Mr. Mom.

Pros & Cons of Vehicle Magnetic Signs October 8, 2009

Posted by yellowdoggraphics in Advertising / Marketing, Product Spotlight.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment
Our magnetic signs look real... but not this real.

Our magnetic signs look real... but not this real.

If you have a refrigerator, then you probably have some magnets. They are great for holding grocery lists, coupons and business cards for cool sign shops (hint, hint).While we can do small sizes magnetics like that, that’s not what we are talking about here. Vehicle Magnetics can be a great way to advertise when you are driving around. But they do have their good points and bad points.

First off we will start with the advantages of the vehicle magnets. The best part about the magnets are that they are easily removable. You can put them on during the week and take them off if you go out of town on the weekend. Some people also like to take them off at night if they are going out. They are nice because you aren’t locked into having a just a work vehicle. If you have multiple vehicles that may be used, like for deliveries, then you can transfer them from one vehicle to another. So the main advantage of the magnetic sign is it’s ability to be removed and reapplied.

There are some draw backs to using magnet signs. They need to be positioned on a fully flat surface which means they should not be used over vehicle molding or go over gaps in the vehicles body. If you do this, you will very likely lose it while driving down the highway. They can also become a target for teenagers to run off with. They have no real use for it besides showing it off as a trophy. They magnetic signs also need to have a little maintenance, such as taking them off once a week and cleaning any dirt or water that has creeped in behind it. When you do take them of for any extended amount of time, you need to store them flat or else they will become warpped and won’t lay flat in the future. Also a word of warning, if you leave them on for years with never taking them off, they can become bonded to the vehicle. We haven’t seen this, but have heard horror stories about it happening.

So overall, they magnetic signs need a little upkeep, but it is relatively easy. It’s greatest asset of being removable can be it biggest detriment also. But if you are careful and follow the steps outlined above, you magentic signs can last you for years. Maybe someday we will start creating magnetics with gps trackers so if they do become lost, you’ll be able to find them. As of now, it is cheaper to just buy a new one.

Three Signs of a Good Sign October 1, 2009

Posted by yellowdoggraphics in Advertising / Marketing, Signs.
Tags: , ,
add a comment
That's rarely a good sign.

That's rarely a good sign.

Anywhere you go you are going to see good signs and you will see bad signs. You might not know the specifics as to why the sign looks good or bad, but you can just tell when you see it. Three of the big things to look for when trying to make a good effective sign are a clear message, easy readability & the right substrate.

Having a clear message on your sign sounds like a no brainer, but often times people lose sight of this. Signs are typically larger than something you will hold in your hand or have time to study. Because of this fact, your sign should have one message that can be conveyed quickly. Often times you are better off with a sign that says ‘SHOE SALE’ than one that says ‘Men’s Shoes, Women’s Shoes, Children’s Shoes – All Sizes Are On Sale Now!’ It’s not always easy to condense your sign into a quick clear message, but that should be your goal.

Making the sign easy to read partly ties in with the clear message. More times than not, bigger lettering on your sign is better. People often ask is we can fit more information on a sign. We can fit as much as you want, but the more you add, the smaller everything will become and thus, harder to read. Another major factor in being easy to read is having a good color combination. In most cases you want to have colors with a high contrast. Good examples of this is yellow & black and red & white. Do not put a two dark colors or two light colors directly together. Customers ask for red lettering on a black background, which looks good up close, but is harder to read from a distance. You can still use these if you add a white border around the red lettering, as it will add the contrast against the red and the black. So to make you sign easy to read you need a contrasting colors and to have the lettering big enough to read from a reasonable distance.

The third part you need for a good sign is the correct substrate. Different substrates have different characteristics. Coroplast, which is like a plastic cardboard, is cheaper than most substrates, but it also looks cheaper. Acrylic shouldn’t be used in a tight frame, because as it heats up and cools down it will expand and contract. So if used improperly your acrylic sign will bow out or crack, which never looks good. So even if you don’t know the differences in the different substrates, let the people you are ordering the sign from know how and where you plan to use it and they can inform you of the different options.

So there you have it. Next time you are with your friends and they point out a bad sign, you can tell them exactly what is wrong with it and how you would make it look better. Of course, you’ll probably get a bunch of funny looks from them.

You can fit almost any amount of wording on a sign.

You can fit almost any amount of wording on a sign.

Banners – Older than Dinosaurs? September 24, 2009

Posted by yellowdoggraphics in Advertising / Marketing, Product Spotlight.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment
So Good, A Caveman Will Eat It!

So Good, A Caveman Will Eat It!

Banners have been around so long, cavemen used to use them to advertise businesses like Dinosaur Jerky & Pterodactyl Rides. Ok, maybe they haven’t been around quite that long, but they have been mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible. How has this type of sign been able to stand the test of time? Probably because banners have many upsides and very few downsides.

If you are a business looking for a temporary sign, banners are the least expensive sign that can last outdoors. Most banners are made of vinyl material that can take a beating from the sun and get soaked by rain or sprinkles and still hold it’s integrity. Eventually they can get worn down, but by that time they have paid for themselves in the amount of advertising and sales they’ve helped bring in.

Banners have also come a long way in just the past 10 years. You used to have to buy a banner with only 1 color on it if you wanted to keep the cost down. Today, you can get a full color banner for the same price as the 1 color banner. What exactly does full color mean for a banner you might wonder. It gives you unlimited number of colors and any logos or pictures can be printed on the banner.

If that’s not enough to make you fall in love with banners, what’s it going to take? Do want the ability to make them any size you want? Done. From small 2’x4′ banners, up to large enough to hang over a street to cover a building, the size is unlimited. A big banner must be hard to store when it’s not in use right? Wrong. Since banners can be rolled or folded up, they can easily be stored in a small area.

So there you have it. In summary, banners have been around since fire was created, can have over 30 trillion colors printed on them and can be as big as the moon, but fold up into the size of a lunchbox. Well, that might be a little exaggerated, but you get the idea.

Valley Animal Center’s Wiggle Waggle Walk September 23, 2009

Posted by yellowdoggraphics in Advertising / Marketing, Business Spotlight.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

Wiggle Waggle Walk logoValley Animal Center is having their 10th annual Wiggle Waggle Walk and Furry 5K Run this Saturday. What is a Wiggle Waggle Walk you say? The Wiggle Waggle Walk and Furry 5K Run is a fundraiser benefitting the Valley Animal Center, Fresno’s premier no-kill shelter and spay/neuter/vaccination clinic for dogs and cats.

We’ve been working with Valley Animal Center on different signage projects since 1999. Most of the time we are making banners for their different events, but have also made wood signs, some acrylic signs and the large floor graphic that is in their lobby. If you go out to the event, you’ll see some of our banners, but you’ll also see hundreds of dogs and dog lovers.

So, if you are looking for something fun to do on Saturday Sept 26th, head on over to The Maple Mall at California State University Fresno for a Vendor Faire, Kid’s Carnival, Dynamic Doggie Demonstrations, and an awards ceremony for top fundraisers and the team with the most members. If you want more information about Valley Animal Center, check out their blog.

Very Creative Advertising September 16, 2009

Posted by yellowdoggraphics in Advertising / Marketing.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

Where some people see the floor of a mall, others see a great advertising opportunity. I wish I knew who came up with the concept for Frontline to use the mall floor to create a giant sign. The fact that they used the area isn’t the best part, it is that they created an ad that needed to have people unknowingly be apart of it. I don’t want to use the term ‘thinking outside of the box’, but I think this could be described as thinking 3 dimensionally about a 2 dimensional sign. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Good Advertising Shouldn't Tick You Off

Sometimes People At The Mall Can 'Tick' You Off