jump to navigation

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.

Advertisements

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..)

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

Keyboard Cat to the Kitten Rescue September 14, 2009

Posted by yellowdoggraphics in Misc.
Tags: ,
add a comment
Keyboard Cat Artwork, as seen on TV

Keyboard Cat Artwork, as seen on TV

A little while back the hosts of ‘Attack of the Show‘ on G4TV asked for people to submit artwork of Keyboard Cat. If you don’t know what Keyboard Cat is, you can search on youtube and find plenty of examples. It’s basically a cat playing piano that people add to the end of funny clips. I don’t know why it’s funny, but there are a lot of things on the internet that don’t make sense.

Well, I decided to create a piece of Keyboard Cat artwork to send in. It would make me try to do some different things in Photoshop and I might get to have my work on TV. I used the same process as making a sign by printing it onto adhesive vinyl and mounting it onto half-inch thick gatorfoam. I sent it in before the deadline, then waited for a couple of weeks before they finally showed the entries on the show. They received hundreds of packages with Keyboard Cat artwork, so they couldn’t show all of them, but they did have a lot of them on the set. As they panned through them all, I did get to see mine. Mission accomplished, my artwork was on TV. The following night they selected the top three entries, unfortunately, I did not win.

But there is still a happy ending to the story. They gave some of the pieces of artwork to the non-profit organization KittenRescue.org for them to auction off on ebay. As of this writing on Monday Sept. 14th at 6:45pm, my piece has 20 bids and currently sits at $157.50 with over 4 days left. I’m excited that someone out there likes it enough to bid on and possibly hang in there house. (My wife said I wouldn’t be allowed to put it up in our house.) So if you are interested, please go bid, or check out the other pieces that are up for auction.

Hot Dog Cart Wrap – part 1 September 3, 2009

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

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

The Timeline of a Sign August 31, 2009

Posted by yellowdoggraphics in Misc.
Tags: ,
add a comment
Your sign will be done before you figure out how to read this astronomical clock!

Your sign will be done before you figure out how to read this astronomical clock!

Often times (ok almost every time) a customer asks how long will it take to make a sign. This is usually very important to the customer, because they are typically on a tight time schedule and need things done as soon as possible. We know that a quick turn around is often necessary and have organized our shop to be able to produce signs in an efficient manner.

The first step is the sign proof. We insist on making a proof for the customer. We can fax it, email it or print it out for the customer to come in and see. We do this because we are human and can make mistakes. We also do it to show the customer the layout, they can see how the colors will look & they can proof read all the wording. Sometimes the designers here will have an idea of something that might work better, so they will add a proof with that sign layout also.  We normally will have the proof done the day after the sign is ordered.

Once we have the proof signed off, we move on to the second step which is printing the sign. In a day we will usually print on banner material, vinyl material, vehicle wrap material, window mesh, and possibly specialty materials like static cling or translucent. So depending on when we are printing on a certain material determines when the customer’s sign is printed.

The third step is the production step. This is where the laminating, mounting and hemming happens. All of the different substrates that will be used that day need to be cut down to size. Once a sign is mounted or banner is hemmed then the finishing touches such has drilling holes or adding grommets is done. Production times fluctuate based on how much other work has been ordered before you and how long it will take to get the other orders completed.

So as far as how long does it take to make a sign, you’ve just read the long answer. The short answer is that we will usually have a proof for you the next day and once we get the ok it will be between 1 – 3 days on most orders. I think that rolls of the tongue a little easier than three paragraphs of information and explanation.

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

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