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

Posted by yellowdoggraphics in Business Spotlight.
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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.


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.

Hot Dog Cart Wrap – part 1 September 3, 2009

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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

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.

In House = More Control = Happier Customers August 28, 2009

Posted by yellowdoggraphics in Business Advice.
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More control of your business leads to happier customers.

When we first opened up the sign shop here we were ready to make signs. Since we didn’t have any repeat customers yet, and it takes time for advertising to have an effect, we had very few orders for signs. And idea we had to was offer more products which would give us the chance of more orders. We started offering shirts, hats, business cards, stamps and flyers. All of these things we could sell without even doing much work. We had suppliers who we could order from, they would make it, send it to us and we would give it to the customer. On one hand we did get to process more orders, but at the same time we ended up with some unhappy customers.

The problem we had with all of these other items was that we had very little control of their production. If the supplier had a problem or it was lost in shipping, we could do very little about it. With any of the signs we make, if there was a problem, we could fix it. It might mean staying late or coming in during the weekend, but we had the means to remake or fix the sign. Offering the other services was something we felt was necessary to keep the business going early on. We no longer offer any of those services. I would say over ninety-five percent of the jobs we do now are all in-house.

If you are thinking of adding new services or products, don’t be blinded by the idea of more money with less work. There are other factors such as turn around time, payment terms and reliability to take into consideration. These things can effect how your customer’s views your business and they have the potential of added stress for yourself.

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

Wacky Projects August 25, 2009

Posted by yellowdoggraphics in Misc.
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Sometimes we have customers that want some small signs made just for the fun of it. Usually it’s for a practical joke or just something funny they want for themselves. The one person that was come in with the most strange requests for us has been Paul Salazar of California Funding.

One of the first one’s I can remember doing for him was a t-shirt design. That sounds innocent enough, but it was a group of people going on a cruise and he was making matching shirts for them. These projects are fun because you can have fun with them. We haven’t made too many business signs that have stick figures on them, so making a graphic with stick figures is nice to just mix it up every once in a while.

Big CheckAnother time Paul came in, he told me about how he’d lost a bet to a co-worker. They hadn’t been serious about the bet, but he decided he wanted a big check for $20 that he could give to her to pay off his bet. So we were a little creative with the little extras on this sign by adding ‘Bank of Salazar’ in a dollar bill font and with using handwriting fonts for filling out the check and signing it. This obviously could not be cashed at a bank, but I wonder what the largest check a bank has actually cashed. Might have to call up Guinness Book of World Records and see if they have a listing for that.

Beware of HolliOn of my favorite’s is when he had a small sign made for a receptionist. I forget what the exact story was behind it. Either she had yelled at a sales person, or he over heard one talking saying they thought she was scary or something. Paul decided to have a sign made to warn all salespeople when she was on duty.

Again these projects fun just because it mixes things up and we get to do something a little different. Usually there is a story to go along with them too. So next time you need to make a sign to make fun of or tease a co-worker, just let us know. We’ll be happy to help. 🙂

Can You Make My Logo Bigger? August 24, 2009

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LogosIn advertising with signs, bigger is usually better. The bigger a sign is, the better chance it has to catch someone’s attention. The bigger the wording is, the easier it is to read. There is a point however, where you can have your wording or logo too big.

Many times people get caught up with making their logo so big, that they forget about the overall concept of what they want the sign to do. In most cases, a sign is there to convey a message. If you message is: ‘Here I Am!’ then by all means, go with the biggest logo possible. If the message you want to get across is what you business does, a big logo is not necessarily the way to go.

When designing a sign, always remember to look at the larger picture on what you want it to accomplish. If someone else is designing it for you, be able to communicate to them what you want the sign to convey to your customers. The best layout of a sign is one that does exactly what you intend it to do.

Always be ready for more work August 21, 2009

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PreparedWhat’s worse than not enough work? Not being able to handle more. I know that sales are down for everyone. I know it’s easy to slack off and not keep everything organized and tight. But when you have a big rush out of nowhere, you don’t want to be caught off guard and not be able to handle it.

If times are tough, you still need to be ready for when they start to get better. Big orders will still happen, maybe not as often as they did 2 years ago, but they will. If you take on a big project, but aren’t ready for it, you will be more apt to make mistakes or not be able to deliver on your promises. Not only does it hurt you right now, it will hurt you down the road in the possibility of repeat business.

If you stay prepared and alert, you also project an aura of confidence and success. If your customer loses confidence in you, you’ve lost a customer. So stay diligent and don’t let your standards slip. It will keep you focused for the time being and will help catapult you into growth when the time comes.

Fishing for Business August 20, 2009

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Fishing for BusinessI was thinking today how starting and running a small business is like fishing. The things you look at to decide if you should start a business in a certain area, should also be addressed as you look to grow your business.

First thing you need to know is the size of water you are fishing in. Is it a pond, lake or ocean? A pond can only hold so many fish and will never have as many as a lake or ocean. In business, this is your target market. Do you sell to a small select number of people that fit a rigid criteria or are you selling nationwide. There is nothing wrong with fishing in ponds, but you need to know so you can plan accordingly to be as efficient as possible.

Next, you need to know how many other people are fishing in the body of water you are considering. If no one is there, either it’s a place no one knows about, or there aren’t any fish in there. You may have a great idea to have a drive thru nail salon and you think that since no one else has one, you will corner the market. You might, or you may have a short lived business with no fish to show for it. Finding a place where everyone is fishing isn’t always the best place (or business market) either. Some of the best spots have already been claimed and you won’t have the freedom to move around without bumping into your competition.

A third thing to look at is if you have equipment the other fisherman don’t. Do you have a boat and everyone else is fishing from the shore? That’s a big advantage, as long as you know how to use it. Have you done more research and know what type of lure works best, what time of day the most fish are biting or which currents the fish tend to follow? There is no substitute for knowledge and it will give you a distinct advantage over everyone else.

So next time you take time off for a fishing trip, you can call it an extended business fact finding mission.