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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.

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.

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

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

Are Floor Graphics Effective? September 1, 2009

Posted by yellowdoggraphics in Advertising / Marketing, Business Advice, Product Spotlight.
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Floor GraphicsLarge decals or stickers can be applied to a floor as extra advertising space, but how effective are they? You have probably seen these at grocery stores in the aisles, but did the influence what you bought? Can you even recall what any of these ads were for? Then why would companies consider using this form of advertising?

We have a floor graphic in front of our counter at our sign shop. Most customers will literally stand on it and never seem to notice it. I’ve seen customers step back, read the text on it, and look indifferent about it. They don’t comment or give any feedback on it. I find this odd and it got me thinking and trying to figure out what was really going on.

People aren’t accustomed to reading advertising that is at their feet. It’s just not used anywhere else, even shoe stores have shelves to bring the product up to eye level. So I really don’t think that a floor graphic with direct call to action works in most cases. I do believe that they can be effective if used correctly.

Floor graphics will work best is they are used in branding, a graphic that ties in with something more eye level or if they are part of viral marketing. As far as branding goes, this would be if you put you logo on the floor or you company slogan. It should be along the same lines as the rest of you company theme. An example of having it tie in with other signage is to have dirty dog prints go across the floor up the wall to a sign about dog washing. People will notice them and follow them to a sign that deals with what they were looking at. The viral use of floor graphics works if you are looking to promote something such as a website and want the person to go to it. If you see a floor graphic that says, “Who is Sam Tingle?” then has a website of http://www.WhoIsSam.com, you can pique someone’s interest. You are making a comment to them as opposed to yelling an advertisement at them. This can have the effect of making people want to go to the site to find out more.

In the end, floor graphics can be effective if you use them correctly. They are not a standard sign and thus should not be used as such. If used correctly and creatively you can have something that will not only stand out to your customers, but also be a great return on investment.

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

Posted by yellowdoggraphics in Advertising / Marketing, Business Spotlight.
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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

Here a sign, There a sign, Everywhere a sign! August 26, 2009

Posted by yellowdoggraphics in Advertising / Marketing.
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How many signs can you count?

How many signs can you count?

All day long I’m surrounded by signs. You would think that’s an obvious statement since I work in a sign shop. The truth of the matter is that you are surrounded by signs too, you just don’t look at them as much. Next time you are out driving around, take notice of how many signs are around you. You might be surprised.

I like being surrounded by signs. I tend to look around and see which signs stand out to me and which ones are hard to notice. I do look at signs and see what I would do different. I don’t criticize all of them and say I could do a better job. I also look for signs that I like and think are well done.

The biggest problem that stands out to me is when I’m trying to read a sign and I’m not able to. This can be because of too much wording, or the words are too small or the font that was used is too hard to read. If the sign wants to convey a message to me, and I’m trying to receive that message but can’t, then it is a bad sign.

So if you are thinking about having a sign made, look around and see what others are doing. You can get ideas of what you like and what you don’t and what will work best for you. This will give you a great head start in creating a sign that will be highly effective and give you the best bang for your buck.