business signs

5 Compelling Sign Messages

22 Aug
by Samantha, posted in Design Tips, Marketing Ideas   |  No Comments

An effective sign motivates the viewer to take action in some way. Sometimes, the sign specifically tells the viewer what to do, whereas other times the call to action is more subtle. Regardless of the way you implement it, it’s important to include something in your ad that stays with the reader after he/she is no longer viewing your sign. Here are some examples of compelling messages you can incorporate into your business signs.

Call Us—This newspaper ad for a dentist office is effective because it incorporates the popular strategy of “scare tactics” by alarming the reader with something that could affect them (a dental injury on the job). It proposes a hypothetical problem to get the reader’s attention, and then directs them right the solution (a phone number, in this case). Notice the ad doesn’t say “Book an appointment today!”—rather, it simply encourages the reader to call for more information.

Research Us—Sometimes an intriguing, and possibly even vague, advertisement can be very successful. The idea is that you give the reader enough to catch their eye and then the tools needed to find out the rest. A great example is this ad for The Andy Warhol Museum’s new iPhone app. Here The Warhol has incorporated trendy QR codes into its logo (which is usually a colon) to entice the reader to do more research. The website and App Store mention are also listed. Use this strategy for large vinyl banners that are to be seen from far away, or even a car window decal. The viewer won’t have much time to see the ad anyway, so you want to pique their interest enough that they’ll look you up later on.

Follow Us—Social media has taken society by storm, so another great strategy for your signs is to encourage the viewer to follow you on Twitter, like you on Facebook, etc. Once they get to your page you’ll have the opportunity to deliver your sales pitch, along with other unique and interesting content. Volvo demonstrates this concept here via a banner on the Youtube homepage, which encourages viewers to follow Volvo on twitter to stay updated on the new XC60 model.

Identify With Us—Many ads are used for branding purposes, so although there’s not a hard sales pitch, they still connect with customers and motivate them to buy a product. The key to these ads is to resonate with the viewer, so relevant images and targeted content are key. Your window graphics should have this focus so customers can clearly identify the purpose of your business. This Got Milk? ad is a great example—men all over the world can identify.

Shop With Us—Last but certainly not least is the shopping ad, which encourages customers to purchase your products or services. That’s ultimately the point of your business anyway, right? This Lane Bryant ad features not only a great deal, but also a deadline, which are the two keys to making this type of ad successful. Customers need to see value and urgency for the ad to convince them to make a purchase.

Although your ads should always be consistent from a brand standpoint, it can be worthwhile to vary your strategy and message to reach different types of customers. Not everyone likes a hard sell, whereas others won’t respond to a sign that’s too vague. A good mix of ads with different focuses will generally produce a great result.

Outside the Box: 5 Creative Sign Designs To Inspire You

19 Aug
by Samantha, posted in Design Tips   |  No Comments

In a world of microwave ovens, DVRs, and text messaging, society has tuned itself to expect instantaneous results.  As a business owner, that makes marketing a bit challenging. Potential customers won’t spend much time viewing your sign, especially if they find it boring. From window decals to vinyl banners, your storefront signage has to be creative and unique if you expect it to product any sort of return. I’ve gathered a variety of one-of-a-kind ads to get your creative juices flowing.

Victim Support—The visual impact of this sign is incredible. The script written directly onto the face makes you want to read it. This powerful ad takes a difficult subject and treats it with dignity and respect while still having a compelling message. From this you can take away that ads don’t always have to look pretty or perfect to be effective. In fact, many times imperfection is much more-noticeable.

Febreze—Playing with visuals always produces a successful ad, so if you don’t have a graphic designer you might consider hiring (or contracting) one. A design like this grabs your attention and keeps you looking for the hidden image and, ultimately, meaning. Don’t feel like you have to lay everything out for the viewer—sometimes they want to figure it out for themselves.

Maple Technologies—Another great example of the power of graphic design, this ad shows the creative strategy of playing with scale and space arrangement. Although the thumb drive is only in a portion of the ad, the entire design focuses on it. With this strategy, you arrange your business signs in a way that there is a focus on your business, product, or service.

Colgate—Here, Colgate shows an effective ad that is highly-conceptual. Don’t feel like you have to show the viewer something boring and generic because that’s what everyone else does. How many smiling faces have we seen on toothpaste ads? This ad may go over the heads of some, but I think it’s a winner.

Terminix—Outside the box on many levels, this Terminix display will most definitely get attention. Adding a third dimension to your signage draws in the viewer and makes them take notice. Anyone can hang up a banner, but not everyone can do something like this.

You’ll notice that most of these ads are from large businesses, but even small Mom-and-Pops can let their creative side show. In fact, when you’re working with a limited budget, sometimes you have to!

 

5 Cheap Ways to Advertise Your Business

17 Aug
by Samantha, posted in Marketing Ideas   |  1 Comments

When the economy is down, many businesses have to scale back. One of the first things to go from the budget is marketing and advertising. This is a big mistake, however—when business is down, generally more marketing is required to bring in customers! If you’re looking to scale back on your advertising, consider finding mediums and methods that are more-affordable but still get you great exposure, as opposed to cutting back on advertising altogether.

  1. Banners—Big, bold, and bargain-priced, vinyl banners offer tremendous “bang for your buck.” They’re so affordable, in fact, that you can order one for every holiday, sale, or promotion you have. When you’re done with the banner, just roll it up and store it for later use. In addition, you can use banners practically anywhere—hanging over your storefront, in your window, mounted inside your store on a banner stand, or even off-site at your promotional and sponsored events. Estimated Marketing Investment: $100-$500, depending on size and quantity.
  2. Car Magnets—Whether you have a business fleet vehicle or just your personal one, car magnets are mobile marketing at its finest. Potential customers see your business message as you drive all over town. Since magnets aren’t adhesive, you can simply remove and store them when you don’t want to advertise. Estimated Marketing Investment: $50-$100 (per pair), depending on size.
  3. Business Cards—Business cards are an affordable way to spread your message around town. A card should be given out with every handshake. Even if a potential customer doesn’t need your business right then, they have your information in-case a need comes up. Include a special offer on your card so the recipient will be more-likely to use it. Estimated Marketing Investment: $30-$100, depending on quantity.
  4. Social Media—Social-networking is a growing advertising medium as more and more businesses are taking to sites like Facebook and Twitter to reach customers. Establishing a profile is free, although sponsored advertisements are available as well. Don’t just post discounts on your social media profiles, however—although customers appreciate the deal, they’re looking to interact with real people. Estimated Marketing Investment: $0 to set up and maintain profiles, sponsored ads vary by pre-set budget.
  5. Word-of-Mouth—There’s something to be said for treating your customers right. When you make them mad, they’re sure to tell others, but when you make them happy, sometimes they need a little encouragement. Start a referral program and offer the referring customer a discount, coupon, or freebie for bringing you more business. Estimated Marketing Investment: $0 for set-up unless you want to promote the program with signage. Implementation of the program depends on the amount of discount or freebie that you choose to offer—make sure it’s less than the value of a new customer.

As you can see, saving money on your marketing isn’t an impossible task. Sometimes you just need some new ideas!

Helpful Tools for Great Sign Design: Color

15 Aug
by Samantha, posted in Design Tips   |  No Comments

Color is an extremely-important aspect of your sign design. Not only does color get the attention of the viewer, but it also elevates your message and connects your sign with the brand it represents. Choose your color scheme carefully, however, as a boring scheme will get overlooked and a wild-and-crazy color scheme will turn viewers away. It’s all about finding a balance that produces an attractive design that motivates your reader to call your business or come into your store.

If you don’t have brand colors or you’re not sure how to choose a color scheme, know that you’re not alone. Rather than just guessing colors, however, do some research into color theory to determine which colors will help you convey the message you want from your ads. Research, you ask? Well, you won’t have to look that far, because here are some great resources for determining what colors to use for your custom signs.

Like with fonts, you’ll want to do a little reading before going crazy with color. It will help, I promise! Here’s a great article from the always helpful Smashing Magazine. Author Cameron Chapman offers fantastic insight into color theory, showing real examples of how color is used in ads. It’s a must-read for those looking to establish a brand color.

I know some of you don’t have the time to read an article that long, so here’s a simplified version from TigerColor.com.

If you’re looking to be inspired (who isn’t?), check out the Design Seeds blog. Jessica uses visually-stunning pictures to create unique color palettes called “seeds”. You can search by style and by color, and if you find one you like, there’s an iPhone app to use for color-matching.

For those ultra-creative sorts, here are a couple of great theme creators.

Adobe’s Kuler is simply-fantastic. Choose from presets, or create your own. At the bottom, notice that your color codes are listed (HSV, RGB, CMYK, LAB, and HEX)—so whether you’re using this online or to print on a custom banner or window decal, you’ll have the specific color codes you need to match your theme.

ColorBlender is another great choice. With both an AutoMatch and Direct Edit mode, you can create until your heart’s content. I also love the Variations, so if you are almost there, one click produces a slight adjustment that takes you the rest of the way. You can even download the colors you need in Photoshop or Illustrator—your sign printing company will need these codes to make sure your sign matches the theme you created!

Ok, it’s time to turn you loose. Let’s see some great color—just remember, be unique, choose colors that send the right message, and don’t go color-crazy!

The Bold and the Beautiful: 5 Sign Designs That Stand Out

12 Aug
by Samantha, posted in Design Tips   |  No Comments

The point of signage is to get attention and attract new customers to your business. Why, then, do so many businesses create boring, generic ads that have no “hook”? Some are afraid to be bold, whereas others just don’t know what to do to be unique. Have a look at these great ads that weren’t afraid to push some boundaries.

Ford—This ad is bold for several reasons. 1) The actual product takes up very little of the design. 2) The visuals are very powerful. 3) It takes a few seconds (or even minutes, depending on the reader) for the meaning to register. An ad that catches the reader’s eye and then keeps their interest long enough to figure out the meaning is an ad that will be very successful, but use it for signs that are viewed for awhile, like a store window decal.

3M—It’s hard to get more bold than an ad full of nails shooting toward the viewer. This one leaves even more up to the reader to determine than the Ford ad. However, the nails catch the eye, which makes you want to discover the purpose of the ad (for Scotch adhesive). Signs don’t always have to focus on a product or service to be effective.

WD-40—This WD-40 ad (and the others in this campaign) is a bit polarizing, but that’s what makes it so bold, and so successful. WD-40 knew its target and narrowed in on it with an ad that hits home. In the process, some viewers won’t appreciate it, but they’re not WD-40’s target customer anyway. This is a great strategy for businesses that serve a specific niche.

Utah Department of Public Safety—Scare tactics have been proven to be successful over the years, and this ad delivers on that strategy. Bold signs can be used for businesses, campaigns, non-profits—anyone with a message to deliver. In this case, both car drivers and bikers take notice. Use this strategy for highly-visible signs like vinyl banners.


Mercedes-Benz
—This series of ads shows is incredibly-bold. Mercedes actually went far enough to create ads using the logos of its competition! The idea, or at least the way I see it, is that the SLS is so fast it leaves the competition in the dust, and this is the view from the rear view mirror of the Benz. Some would criticize this ad for being vague or promoting the competitors, but at the very least it gets you wondering.

So by now you should be ready to create an eye-popping design that gets people talking, right? A bold design can be the key to making custom signs work for you, so take a risk to stand out from the crowd!

Helpful Tools for Great Sign Design: Fonts

10 Aug
by Samantha, posted in Design Tips   |  No Comments

The best message can be ruined by a poor font choice, so when you’re designing a custom sign to promote your business, choose your fonts carefully. There are a variety of font characteristics to consider, from legibility to weight to kerning. Unless you have a background in graphic design, these terms probably mean nothing to you. Since font can be directly tied to your business branding and the effectiveness of your advertising, I’ve gathered some great resources to help you choose the perfect font for your business signs.

The first step in the font selection process is to write your message. Don’t worry about your font choice, just get your content down. Yes, different fonts will make your content look different, but if you know exactly what you want to say it will be easier to choose how it should look.

Once you have written your message, do a little research on different types of fonts and their different characteristics. Here are some helpful articles that aren’t too high-level.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Douglas Bonneville of Smashing Magazine identifies some of the main characteristics you should consider, and shows great examples. Pay close attention to the section on aesthetics—you want the font displayed on your signs to match the look and feel of your business.

This article by Juan Pablo de Gregorio of Typies Blog has great tips for choosing a font. Juan breaks down all the elements of fonts and shows pictures of each for you visual folks. I know you’ve always wanted to know what kerning means, so here’s your chance…

Now that you’ve gotten an idea of the different elements of fonts, here’s another important read. It’s also quite humorous, which will lighten up the weight (no pun intended) of this post. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lauren’s take on overused fonts is hilarious, slightly-inappropriate (you’ve been warned), and, above all, completely TRUE. Stay away from these fonts if you want to look at all unique and/or relevant.

Ok, ok, so enough lecturing—now it’s time to play around with fonts and choose the one that’s right for you! Here are some sites that offer thousands of great fonts to choose from.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, if you’ve seen a font before and you’ve always wanted to know what it is, check out the What the Font? Feature on MyFonts.com. Here’s an example I did using the Twitter logo:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By now you should be an expert on font selection. That means we don’t want to see any more Comic Sans, Curlz MT, or for heaven’s sake, Papyrus! Are we clear?

Good For a Laugh: 5 Sign Designs To Make You Smile

29 Jul
by Samantha, posted in Design Tips, Fun Stuff   |  No Comments

Using humor in advertisements has proven to be a successful marketing strategy for many companies. Whether the ad displays a funny picture or witty content, when the reader laughs, he or she pays more attention to the advertiser. The most­-successful humorous ads still sell the product in addition to getting a chuckle, but at the very least a light-hearted, funny advertisement shows that your business has personality and isn’t stuffy, which improves your brand reputation. Here are some great examples of funny ads—may they inspire you to create witty business signs that have customers lining up at your door!

Diamond Coffee—We’ve all had a day like this, right? The takeaway from this ad is to play with exaggeration and scale. It grabs attention and makes people laugh, great for vinyl banners that are viewed from far away.

Listerine—Shock value works wonders for signage. It’s much better to be noticed for something extreme than to be ignored for a sign that’s boring. Makes you think twice about that pen you’ve been chewing on, eh?

Denver Water—Denver Water has a fantastic grouping of ads (check out Ads of the World for more), and this one is no exception. This shows that humor can be used to sell an important or serious message, so don’t be afraid to branch out if your business isn’t typically so light-hearted.

Scotts PatchMaster—Again, humor is used to make a somewhat ordinary product into something readers will notice. When using the “insult” ad, always be prepared for Plan B, in-case your joke isn’t received that well—if this were a storefront ad, for instance, a window cling would be a good choice because it could easily be removed.

Pedigree Jumbone—Sometimes a great visual is all it takes. You’d notice this sign from a mile away, and a simple slogan at the bottom is all it takes for the ad to be effective. Print an ad like this on a vinyl decal for your storefront window.

Now that you’ve had a good laugh, take all that you’ve learned and start designing a funny custom sign that brings you new clients!

5 Great Summer Marketing Strategies

25 Jul
by Samantha, posted in Marketing Ideas   |  No Comments

For many businesses, summer can be a slow season. The majority of customers are busy on vacation and enjoying their time off. While one approach to this decrease in business is to use the time for your own vacation, store renovations, etc., sometimes all it takes to spur summer sales is a unique marketing strategy. Here are some great ideas to help your business beat the Summer Slump.

  1. Signage Makeover—While things aren’t so crazy, use the time to change the look of your storefront or other sign advertising. To a certain extent this should happen every season, but especially in the summer. Customers are attracted to things that are new and different, so order custom signs that focus on the season—you’ll want your signs to say things like “Sizzlin’ Hot Deals,” “Summer Specials,” “Beat the Heat,” etc. Summer is about having fun, so if you can create a display that reflects this, customers will be interested in shopping with you. Use a vinyl banner over your storefront to grab customers from far away. In addition, temporary window clings look great and can be removed when summer is over.
  2. Customer Gifts and Freebies—Everybody likes a little something for free. Use your business-networking powers to score some summer swag to distribute to your loyal customers. Offer discount tickets or coupons to local water parks, movie theaters, theme parks, zoos, etc., which customers will receive when they shop with you. Another option is to offer gifts with purchase—give away your own products to encourage customers to buy!
  3. Social Media Contests—If you’re not using social-networking sites to connect with your customers, now’s the perfect time to get started! Encourage your customers to interact with you by hosting a contest. This could be the best vacation destination, the best summer recipe, or a picture of the hottest temperature—get creative and let your customers share a little bit of themselves. In exchange, you can offer them something free (or even just a discount), which gets publicity and earns you a loyal customer!
  4. Events and Sponsorships—Businesses have much success when they support their communities. There are many summer events like sports games, block parties, and cultural festivals of which your business can be part. By sponsoring these events, you’re able to advertise using vinyl banners or even attending the event to meet new customers. If there’s not an event nearby, create your own! Partner with your neighboring businesses to host an event that’s fun for families—great PR, and great for business!
  5. Back-to-School Blowout—When summer finally draws to a close, have a back-to-school sale. Even if you don’t sell clothes or school supplies, find a way to make your products/services relevant to school or have an end-of-summer sale. You’ll need to promote this, so prepare your storefront with banners and window graphics, and use your off-site marketing tools as well (radio, TV, billboards, print ads, etc.). The bigger the savings, the more customers!

Summer’s hot, but your business can be as well. Sometimes you a good marketing idea or two will spur business, so rather than sitting back and relaxing, use summer to bring you money!

How-to Order Custom Banners

01 Jul
by Samantha, posted in Featured, Materials Expert   |  No Comments

Vinyl banners are a fun, unique and affordable way to advertise, show support of a cause, or celebrate a special occasion. Many websites are available that allow you to customize banner templates, making the process quick and easy. Even if you’re just ordering a banner for fun (as opposed to an advertising banner), it’s important to consider the actual banner design to ensure that your message comes across as intended. By following these tips and instructions, you will receive a custom banner that is not only beautiful but also effective.

Step 1. Pick your size—Vinyl banners come in a wide variety of sizes, and custom banners can be ordered in any custom size you choose. Before designing your banner, measure the area where you will be installing it to get an idea of how big it should be. Common sizes are 2’x4’, 3’x6’ and 4’x8’. Smaller banners are appropriate for personal events (like birthday parties), but advertising banners should be 3’x6’ or larger for maximum visibility.

Step 2. Brainstorm your message—You probably already have an idea of what you would like your banner to say, but some editing may be necessary. Your banner’s message should be clear and focused, so that even those who view it briefly can understand its purpose.

Step 3. Create your design—Use high-color contrast between the background and the text, so your message stands out. Don’t overcrowd the banner with text and images. Keep your font choices simple and easy-to-read. Logos, photographs and images should be high-resolution files so that when enlarged to the print size, they won’t be pixelated or blurry.

Step 4. Place your order—With your size, message and design prepared, you should be ready to place your order. Select any finishing options necessary for your intended installation. Make sure to order with enough time for your banner to be printed (and shipped if ordered online). Most banner printing companies offer rush production and expedited shipping options, so select those if necessary to get your banner on time.

Step 5. Install your banner—When your banner arrives, it will most likely be rolled, so allow it to flatten for a few hours. For larger banners, use at least two people to install the banner. Use a strong rope, twine or zip ties if installing a banner with grommets.

Hopefully this step-by-step process has made the custom banner ordering process seem much easier. Your local sign shop or online sign company are always willing to help, so if you have questions ask the professionals!

Who Can Use Vinyl Banners

22 Jun
by Samantha, posted in Featured, Marketing Ideas, Materials Expert   |  No Comments

Custom vinyl banners are one of the most versatile forms of advertising available. They are affordable, easy-to-use and highly-visible. There are so many different uses for vinyl banners, but here, we’ve highlighted some of the most-common groups that could benefit from purchasing a custom banner.

  • Businesses—Whether the business is large or small, advertising is a top priority. When budgets are tight, banners are a great solution to still receive maximum exposure. Hanging a banner at a community event or tradeshow creates awareness and generates buzz for the business. Grand opening banners, holiday sale banners and other retail banners displayed at the storefront draw customers in and ideally increase revenue. Apartments, car dealerships, real estate agents, and other businesses can use banners to build profits.
  • Non-profit Organizations—For non-profits such as charities, churches and schools, banners are a great way to get noticed. Charity banners build awareness for the cause, in addition to encouraging contributions and donations. Church banners inform the congregation of upcoming events or even serve as beautiful decorations in the church sanctuary. School banners can range from sports banners hung in the stadium to graduation banners hung on stage while the new alumni are receiving their diplomas.
  • Personal Consumers—Even individuals can use vinyl banners! There’s always something to celebrate, so order a banner for whatever special occasion is coming up. Birthday banners, holiday banners, anniversary banners and wedding banners are all popular party banners. Welcome home banners for returning military or students away at school make the event even more special.

It’s highly-likely that you fit into one of these categories, but even if you don’t, you wouldn’t be reading this article if you weren’t already interested in vinyl banners. Banner printing companies are available online or locally, so contact one today and get started!