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

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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.

All You Need To Know About Faux October 21, 2009

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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.

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

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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.

Jobs in Bunches! September 10, 2009

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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

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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

Radio Van Wrap in Fresno – It Just Rocks! August 27, 2009

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KFRR 1041 Van Wrap Driver SideKFRR 1041 Van Wrap Passener SideThe people from KFRR 104.1 radio brought in a van they wanted wrapped. They gave us a simple direction in that first, they wanted their 104.1 logo with the slogan ‘It Just Rocks’ big. Second, they wanted to have the Kevin & Bean logo to be easily seen. Third they wanted the van to stand out.

This was an easy design and layout for us. The van has big flat areas on both sides and KFRR only wanted two messages to be seen. Once we placed both the 104.1 logo and Kevin & Bean logo in the design, we only had to pick a background that would be eye catching, attract attention and fit the overall feel of the radio station. We thought we did a pretty good job and the people at KFRR 104.1 loved it. I say you could put this van on the road or in a crowded parking lot and pick it out from a mile away. Of course, this is assuming your eye sight is good enough to see things a mile away. 🙂

KFRR 104 1 Van Wrap Back & Side

10 Year Anniversary August 17, 2009

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10Saturday August 15th was our official 10 year anniversary of opening our doors. For the first 8 years we were known as SignsPlus and changed over to Yellow Dog 2 years ago. I thought I would look back at what has changed over the years and what has stayed the same.

First off, we can start with the fact we now have a blog. I don’t think the word had been invented yet in 1999, let alone any idea of us having one. To take it step farther, we didn’t even have a website. I remember we created one on geocities.com or someplace like that. If you don’t know what that is, I’m sure there is a wikipedia article about them. As hard as it is to believe, we didn’t even have cable internet or dsl back then, we had a dial up modem. All this sounds so archaic, but it was only 10 years ago.

We started off with one production computer attached to a 30″ plotter. We could cut anything, one color at a time, at 30″ or less in height. If it was over 30″, we had to cut it in separate pieces and have them overlap when laying out a sign. After about 4 years, we added a 36″ printer. It was amazing! We could print full color stickers, decals, signs and anything inbetween. That machine began to break down and were were spending more time on maintenance than on printer, which lead us to buy a 48″ printer. The speed was amazing, the size was amazing, at least compared to our 36″ pile of nuts and bolts. Time went by, and the 48″ printer was not going fast enough for us, so next came the 60″ printer which we currently use. We also added a 60″ plotter, although the original 30″ plotter is still alive and kicking. How it’s made it this long I have no idea, but it’s cool still using our original plotter.

Some things haved stayed the same. We still have the same truck as when we started, although the graphics on it have changed a few times. We’ve had some minor problems over time, but that’s to be expected. Maybe we can milk another 10 years out of it. I’ve obvioulsy been here the whole time, but so has Adam Gerling who has helped me since the beginning. I don’t know how long we’ll get to keep him as his photography business, Everblue Studios, continues to grow. I can’t think of much of anything else of notoriety that has stayed the same.  I guess that says something about adapting with the times is necessary to continue to move forward. So here’s to hoping to make more changes (hopefully for the better) for the years to come.

Web ShopYellow Dog Truck website

Farmer’s Market … Delivered To Your Door? August 13, 2009

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Do you love fruits & vegetables from your local farmer’s market? Do you sometimes skip the farmer’s market because it is so dang hot outside? Maybe you plan to go, but you forgot which day it was on. If only there was a way to get great farmer’s market quality fruits and vegetables without any hassle.

Delivery VanWell, the solution can be found and the Fresno Home & Garden show this last spring. Since you don’t have a time machine to go back there and look for yourself, let me tell you what you would have found. You would have ran into Nick Salazar, owner of Farmer and the Dale. He has put together a system of getting produce from Lone Oak Ranch, a small family farm located in Reedley, Ca. and delivering it to your doorstep. The best part, you don’t have to wait and see what they will give you each week, you go online and tell him exactly what you want. You can login and see a list of everything that is available. You then mark which 10 items you want, and presto, next Thursday he drops off your order to you.

They have everything you would expect to find at a farmer’s market. We’ve had corn, watermelon, strawberries, artichokes, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, squash, garlic, lettuce, onions, pomegranates, bell peppers… and those of just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. As of this posting, they have a list of 51 items that are currently in season and available.

Personally, I  tend to not eat enough fruits and vegetables. When we decided to sign up for this service, I figured if we got all this produce and I didn’t eat it, I’d be wasting money, and I hate wasting money. So, its a nice system to trick yourself into eating better. I doubt that’s what Nick had in mind when he started the business, but it works for me. I recommend you try out Farmer and the Dale. You won’t be disappointed.

Quan’s Karate Moves To New Blackstone Location August 12, 2009

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For the 10 years that we’ve been at our 1st & Bullard location, a few things have never changed. The summers have been hot, Fresno is still better than Bakersfield, and we could always look across our parking lot and see Quan’s Karate. www.quansbushido-kai.comQuans Karate Store Front Signage

Unfortunately, in July, Quan’s Karate moved to their new location at 6687 N. Blackstone Ave. Suite 105. While we were sad to see them go, we were able to create new signage to help them stand out at their new place. The easiest way to find them is to look for the name on the monument sign out front, which is just south of Herndon on the west side of the street.

Quans Karate Monument SignIf you need to know which building is there’s, you should be able to pick it out pretty quick.

We also did some graphics inside their place and made a 6’x8′ banner for them to hang. Overall, I think they’ve done an excellent job of establishing themselves in the new location. I’ve seen many businesses, both start-up and relocating, that don’t maxmize their new location to the best of it’s potential. If you have a new place, put your mark on it as soon as possible. It is one of the first impressions your customers will have of you. Quan’s Karate is a great example of how to do it right.

Southwest Greens Turf Car August 10, 2009

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You would never know that's a yellow car.

Can you spot the yellow Scion in this picture?

Southwest Greens is a company that does golf, sports & grass turfs for residential or commercial use. They also don’t mind standing out, and showing off their work. What better way to do that, then to wrap their vehicle.

We wrapped their hummer a couple years ago. They said it not only got noticed, but people would flag them down to ask questions about the turf. After two weeks, they sold a job to someone that contacted them after seeing the wrapped Hummer. They told me that job easily paid for the wrap.

So this time they came to us with a yellow Scion and said they didn’t want to see any yellow when we were done. So we worked with them in coming up with a concept that would stand out and still be able to communicate who they were, what they did and how to contact them. (Green turf = green wrap.)

Lean Mean Turf-Selling Machine

Lean Mean Turf-Selling Machine

One thing I like about his wrap, is that they weren’t afraid to have the sides of the vehicle be different. So many times, customers want each side to be exactly the same. That’s not always the best use of the space they have, but people feel that is must be symmetrical (even if they can’t see both sides at the same time.) So one side of the scion highlights their putting greens  and the other side is their grass turf. It’s like two billboards for the price of one.

Turf on Top 1 (Small) Turf on Top 2 (Small)

To top it off, they took it a step further and added actual turf to the top of the Scion. Personally, I love it. It makes it even that much more noticeable, memorable and something people will talk about. I don’t think you could ask for much more in your vehicle advertising.