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

Posted by yellowdoggraphics in Advertising / Marketing, Signs.
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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.

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

Posted by yellowdoggraphics in Advertising / Marketing, Signs.
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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..)

Pros & Cons of Vehicle Magnetic Signs October 8, 2009

Posted by yellowdoggraphics in Advertising / Marketing, Product Spotlight.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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

Jobs in Bunches! September 10, 2009

Posted by yellowdoggraphics in Advertising / Marketing, Business Spotlight.
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Jobs in Bunches!It doesn’t happen all the time, but it is always strange when we get certain types of jobs in bunches. We can go a couple months without any calls asking for static cling signs, then have 3 different orders within a week. It would make sense if we were running a special on static clings, or if there was a newspaper article about them, but that never seems to be the case. Some of the other products we’ve had this happen with have been vehicle magnets, stickers and posters.

The weird bunching that brought this to mind is that we did graphics on our second food serving vehicle this week. The graphics aren’t as elaborate as the hot dog cart wrap, it is large logos on Cal Poly University’s Curb Side Grill vehicle. We actually did the job for Matt at West Coast Trailers who had the job of building and installing all the kitchen facilities inside the vehicle. Matt was great to work with and does some really incredible stuff in building mobile kitchens/concession trailers.

Curb Side Grill logo on vehicle

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence, but it can be fun to look for patterns and try to figure out if there is any significance to them. I’m curious if anyone else out there has had a strange or unusual grouping of jobs. If so, leave a comment of what it was and if you know what caused it.

Hot Dog Cart Wrap – part 2 September 9, 2009

Posted by yellowdoggraphics in Advertising / Marketing, Business Spotlight.
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Scan of Bear the wanted to use. The bottom of the paper was torn off.

Scan of Bear they wanted to use. The bottom of the paper was torn off.

After sending the proofs for the vinyl wrap to the customer, they came in on Friday afternoon to discuss them. They wanted a few changes, which ended up to be changing just about everything except for the font I had chosen for the lettering. They had a drawing of a bear they wanted to use. It was drawn with a felt tipped marker and they wanted to add some colors to it, so I knew I had some work to do.

I think the biggest change was losing the red & yellow stripes and filling up the background with the picture of the hot dog on one side and chili dog on the other. They also wanted to move all of the contact information to the lower section. This made sense because while the cart is being used, the top sections open up and you can’t see them.

I finished up the proofs on mid morning on Tuesday (monday was Labor Day and we were closed.) They came in around noon and approved them. They also stressed that it had to be completed by the end of the day as they were having a big grand opening with it on Wednesday. Luckily the hot dog cart is relatively small, but printing and wrapping it the same day is quite a rush job. We didn’t finish it up until about 6:30 that night. The customers came and picked it up and loved it. Here are the pictures of the completed hot dog cart wrap.

We knew it would be a tough job because of the quick turn-around needed. It was fun and interesting to see where we started and the changes made to get to the final product. So now if you see this around town (it’s pretty hard to miss) you’ll know the process it went through from start to finish.

Hot Dog Side - ClosedHot Dog Side - Open

Chili Dog Side - ClosedChili Dog Side - OpenBack Side of Hot Dog Cart

Hot Dog Cart Wrap – part 1 September 3, 2009

Posted by yellowdoggraphics in Advertising / Marketing.
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I wanted to track the process of a job to show what we start with, what we end with, and how we get there. Today I had a someone call in the morning asking for a quote to wrap three sides of a hot dog cart. The overall height is 56″ tall with the sides being 68″ wide and the back is 46″ wide. I gave him an estimated cost including installation which he said sounded pretty good.

Back of cart that they want totally covered.

Backside of hot dog cart.

What we get to start with.

What we get to start with.

A few hours later, he came to the shop and said he wanted to move ahead with wrapping the hot dog cart. So I went out and double checked the measurements and took pictures of the hot dog cart. As you can see it has been used, but they wanted to get a whole new look on it. We told me that he wanted the name ‘Brown Bear’s Hot Dogs’ with the phone number on it. They also wanted a bear holding a hot dog. They also had some pictures of their hot dog and a chili dog they wanted on there.

From there I sat down to design the wrap. I had a rough idea of what I wanted to do, but didn’t have a clear picture yet. I started off searching for some clipart of a bear eating a hot dog. It sounded like something I should be able to find and did. Next I picked a font for their name that was big, bold and fun and that fit with the bear clipart. I then needed a background and decided to us kind of circus tent stripes with red & yellow (like ketchup & mustard). I didn’t want to look like ‘Hot Dog on a Stick’ so I made sure to not make blue a major color. I then put these items together and added their hot dog & chili dog pictures. These are the proofs that I sent to the customer:

As of now, I have not heard back from them yet (I sent the proof about 30 minutes ago). I will see if they like the layout and if they would like any changes. If they do make major changes I will post the new proofs here. Other wise I will show some pictures of the process on putting the wrap on how it looks when it’s finished. Stay Tuned!

Brown Bear's Hot Dogs Sides proof

Hot Dog Cart Side Proof

Brown Bear's Hot Dogs Back proof

Hot Dog Cart Back Proof