Category Archives: Food

Where Are We Eating Tonight?

About the last thing I want to do is explain to the people in really tall buildings they are making a mistake but I find myself doing just that more and more often.  This time I will confine what I have to say to the executives at the International House Of Pancakes… Formerly IHOP.

There has been much written recently about a name change from IHOP to IHOB.  I cannot imagine the millions of dollars spent on branding the name IHOP and it’s even more difficult to estimate the number of people who associate the IHOP name with breakfast.   Like many of us I was moderately surprised to wake up and find out the House of Pancakes had become the House of Burgers.

The switch in the sign isn’t really all that noticeable and yet the change in focus is.  I wonder if they have given up on pancakes and have decided to shift their focus to burgers.  Big companies do this with the best of intentions and often the worst in results.  In the corporate world dramatic change is seldom positive.  Many of us remember the new Coke and the debacle that caused their company.

Whenever we are asked to make a dramatic change we carefully weigh both the consequences and desired impact.  Not for a minute do I think the impact was a move away from pancakes and article after article I have read suggests just that result.  We named our company Visual Solution Group and to be honest I don’t see this change as a desired solution.  I would love to hear your opinion.  Please e-mail me at mike@visualsolutiongroup.com and tell me what you think.

We are the Visual Solution Group.  We help you create communication that gets your point across clearly and concisely.  Call us at 916-225-6931 or visit us at www.visualsolutiongroup.com  We get your point across!

IHOB

Getting A Text Is A Sign

I must disclose I have teenagers.  One of the reasons I need prayer is they’re daughters and pretty.  They’re also technologically driven and very intelligent.  They’ve trained me to text them first and call second.  I wouldn’t have believed, until it happened to me, how important and valuable text messaging would become in my professional life.

I take pride in adapting to what my clients need and then “finding a way” to help them out with unusual solutions to interesting problems.  I’ve been trying to get a message to a client for about 3 weeks with no luck whatsoever.  I’ve called, left multiple voice messages and I’ve left at least 5 e-mails and I hear nothing.  While this is frustrating me to a certain degree it was frustrating him to an even bigger degree.

This man’s assistant had a moderate heart attack and the result for my client is doing 2 jobs at the same time with high expectations on both, high need for completion, minimal help and close to zero time at his desk.  I’ve never been a big fan of texting in a professional environment and yet when I finally texted him I got an almost immediate response!  This reminded me of trying to reach one of my daughters.  Calling might mean hearing back in between 10 minutes and 6 hours and often when I call I get a text asking “What do you want?”  My thought process is answer and find out!

My client was happy to handle everything by text message because he could do it on the fly without communication regarding anything other than the task at hand.  I guess this is one of the things my kids like.  I now know it’s one of the things he likes.  If you need to text me feel free!  Text me 9162256931 and please include your name when you do.  If you want a call back that’s great and aside from a specific request I will simply text my response!  Thanks kids!

We are the Visual Solution Group.  We help you create communication that gets your point across clearly and concisely.  Call us at 916-225-6931 or visit us at www.visualsolutiongroup.com  We get your point across!

Signs Of The Times

Bridge

This is clearly NOT a sign of the times but  a sign of times gone past. It may be difficult for some of us to imagine a time this sign was needed but it wasn’t all that long ago.  I took this picture on a Bridge in the Bay Area in the past few days and it reminded me that we weren’t always the technical haven we are today.

Sheep, Hogs, Cattle, Goats or Horses driven in herds used to be a commonplace occurrence in the Bay Area and even in the Sacramento Region.  I still delight when I am delayed by a group of Turkeys who refuse to move off of the road and this commonly happens on University Avenue and most anyplace in the Wilton and South Sacramento Area.

We all see signs which are left in place and remind us of time gone past.  After I saw this sign I wondered what it must have been like to be around then and witness this most basic agriculture need.  What you don’t think about when you see this sign are the Border Collies who were trained and kept in place to make this all happen on schedule and without loss of livestock.

Now I’ve done what I set out to do.  Signs are Visual Communication and most readers have the vision in their imagination of a Cattle or other wild animal drive and all we provided was a sign, a reference and a few well chosen words.  Done right Visual Communication Matters!

We are the Visual Solution Group.  We help you create communication that gets your point across clearly and concisely.  Call us at 916-225-6931 or visit us at www.visualsolutiongroup.com  We get your point across!

A Distinction Without A Difference

garbage sign

I have to say I needed to take a step back when I saw this sign for the first time.  I will also tell you I have been around long enough that I remember the term “One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure” and I am still at a loss what the intent of this sign is.  This is not a sign Visual Solution Group created for anyone.

Garbage is defined as “wasted or spoiled food and other refuse as from a kitchen or household” and Trash is defined as “discarded matter… Refuse”.  After looking up these definitions we are lead back to the starting point of asking what the difference is!  A great follow up question is how often will someone have a thesaurus with them and will take the time to look these words up?

Someone needed to stop and read this sign for content and meaning before it was created and installed.  What did they intend to define as garbage and what is considered as trash in their world?  There is little doubt the person who wanted the sign had a clear idea of what they wanted to convey and in our opinion they fell short.  What means one thing to you might mean something completely different to me and that is before we start to climb the language barrier mountain.

What did the customer who wanted this sign want to convey?  They had a definition of both garbage and trash that likely disagreed with one another.  This is an area where their point did not come across clearly!

We are the Visual Solution Group.  We help you create communication that gets your point across clearly and concisely.  Call us at 916-225-6931 or visit us at www.visualsolutiongroup.com  We get your point across!

Not Having “PMS” Was Causing Issues

PMS

Before anyone goes off on a tangent we need to be on the same page.  It’s true that not having PMS was causing issues so we got it.  The Pantone Matching System (PMS”) allowed us to give every color you have an exact number and with this number everything matches like it should.

Have you ever wondered how fire trucks all the same uniform color of red from one end of the country to the other?  The PMS system allows agencies nationwide to coordinate and get a definition of what a particular red actually looks like in the visible light spectrum.  Did you know there are 285 different and discernible colors of red the naked eye can differentiate?   Without a system how would you ever get an exact match?
With more and more companies taking on a nation or international branding the color we use matters more than ever.  Having all of your signs match shows at minimum an attention to detail and in the long run supports and protects the branding your company is spending money positioning.  The Pantone Matching system consists of several different guides and each lists different colors.  The Formula Guide, for example, consists of 1,677 solid colors and gives printing formulas for various types of paper stock.  The CMYK Guide for print processes has 2,868 colors that can be created using a four-color print process. Additional guides are available for the apparel, home furnishing, interior design and plastics industries.  If you have ever wondered how Disneyland, Visual Solution Group or Apple computers always have the same colors wonder no more.

We are the Visual Solution Group.  We help you create communication that gets your point across clearly and concisely.  Call us at 916-225-6931 or visit us at www.visualsolutiongroup.com  We get your point across!

 

Stolen Letters

stolenletters

My daughter likes to cook. I like to eat. The other reality is I like to eat many of the things my doctor tells me I shouldn’t like to eat.  This is a great relationship on many levels with the exception of my doctors!

I recently asked my daughter to make me a cake and she was more than happy to do so.  I was extremely disappointed when I arrived home I found no cake… It turns out I really wanted cake.  When I asked why she explained we had no eggs and thus no cake.  I wanted her to improvise and go another route.  She was able to find an egg like product in the ice box and used that.  The result was not a good one.  The best description I have for this result is at best incomplete.

This sign was completed with an egg like product.  The best grade I can give it is an incomplete although the person who figured out which letters to substitute gets an “A” for effort. A better solution for this could be an electronic digital sign.  No one loses the letters and you can change the display on a week to week or even hour to hour basis.  The cost is very reasonable and at the end of the day the lack of finger pointing in regards to who lost the letters could be worth the investment all by itself.  Give us a call.

We are the Visual Solution Group.  We help you create communication that gets your point across clearly and concisely.  Call us at 916-225-6931 or visit us at www.visualsolutiongroup.com  We get your point across!

Inattention To Detail

restaurantsigns

I was driving past a local fast food restaurant the other day when I saw these signs.  This restaurant just underwent an extensive remodel which involved closing for well over a month and the relocation of a Manager.  They were able to afford the revenue loss because the relocated Manager had built the business up to a great extent.

When they reopened they were dressed the part.  New crew, new uniforms for the crew, the place was spotless and in fact it was so clean and the new signs out front announced what many were waiting for a “Grand Opening.”  I think we’ve all seen the cloth banners that blow in the wind to attract attention and this place was lined with them.

Now a few weeks later and the signs have fallen into a state of something more than disrepair.  These signs are actual eyesores and no one at this place of business including the Manager have taken the time to notice.  When I see this being overlooked I wonder what else is being overlooked.  From what I can tell everything is running fine and yet I still ask.  When you see a sign being ignored, trash in the lobby or filthy restrooms do you wonder?  I know I do.  If you have something that needs to be taken care of, even if VSG didn’t install it call me so I can make it look right.

We are the Visual Solution Group.  We help you create communication that gets your point across clearly and concisely.  Call us at 916-225-6931 or visit us at www.visualsolutiongroup.com  We get your point across!

A New Play On A Familiar Sign…

McDonalds W

Thursday March 8th was International Women’s Day.  This is an annual event held to celebrate women’s achievements throughout history and across nations.  It’s also known as the United Nations (UN) Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace.

Many companies celebrate the day and the contribution women make to the world in both loud and quiet manners and few got the attention of McDonalds Corporation.  In a direct salute to women franchisees they turned the iconic McDonalds sign upside down to create a W where the M once stood.  Just a quick glance may not be sufficient and a longer look makes the change clear.  Why was this done and what’s the impact?

This was likely done to create a media impact and if that was the intent they hit a home run with runners on base.  This was only done at restaurants where the franchisee is female and in those markets press releases were issued to draw attention to those owners.  That attention drew media interviews and more than a few spotlights on those franchisees on local news reports.  This media stunt also told the world that anyone who is driven can succeed and we don’t have artificial barriers to that success.

On the other hand I saw this as a pattern interrupt and that is exactly what it sounds like.  We are lulled into a sense of almost sleep and when something is changed it wakes us from that slumber and forces us to pay attention.  Keep in mind it was McDonalds who started their signage with the idea of “Over 6 Billion Served” and they would update that number as they needed.  Seems to me they learned a lesson.

We are the Visual Solution Group.  We help you create communication that gets your point across clearly and concisely.  Call us at 916-225-6931 or visit us at www.visualsolutiongroup.com  We get your point across!

Which Way Is The Best Way?

either way

We spend a lot of time over here at Visual Solutions Group working to eliminate confusing signs.  The sad reality is they seem to multiply faster than we can eliminate them.  Possibly the biggest question we have boils down to “is anyone paying attention?”

This is an example of a sign a client sent to us from Southern California and the picture was taken in a private parking lot.  What would you do?  How would you proceed?  The issues we have with this sign are twofold.  The first issue is the obvious confusion it creates and the results of that confusion.  While that’s bad enough the second aspect of this sign that disturbs us is the potential liability which could result from the use of a sign that can only be described as intentionally confusing.  If you saw this sign what would you do?  How would you react?

Signs like this are a result of multiple failures and not the least of which comes down to peoples inability to properly communicate.  As more and more of our communication transitions to the digital world less communication happens.  The next time you are at a stop light take a look at the drivers around you and see how many of them are looking at their phones.  Those are the folks your signs need to reach and get their point across in a few split seconds… Much like digital communication is delivered.

We are the Visual Solution Group.  We help you create communication that gets your point across clearly and concisely.  Call us at 916-225-6931 or visit us at www.visualsolutiongroup.com  We get your point across!

Life Is Lived In 3 Dimensions… Your Signs Can Be The Same Way!

farrells sign

Is Today the day to take your company name or logo 3D with dimensional lettering?  More and more companies, hospitals and colleges are saying yes it is.  The reasons and benefits are clear and where every sign doesn’t need to be a dimensional letter it’s clear some should be.

Dimensional lettering is found almost everywhere and while the impact is clear you may not even know what these are.  What they are is an extremely popular way to advertise and promote what you need promoted.  These letters are constructed from aluminum, acrylic, laminated acrylic, steel, foam, laminated foam and even formed plastic. Durability varies depending on material but metal lasts the longest along with costing more and aluminum letters are a more cost-effective material and worth considering if you want the metal look without the higher price.

The use of these letter takes most people back to a simpler time and the best example I have with the most relevancy is Farrell’s Ice Cream.  The signage they used could be placed almost anywhere and was ideal for their company’s name and as a result it also enhanced and cemented in the mind of their customer their logo. Above and beyond the value of the logo this type of signage can be perfect for giving directions and overall way finding signage and can be used both indoors and out.

There are lots of options so choosing which direction to go might be one of the biggest questions you have.  I can answer that!  I can show you the impact the signage will have and why spending the additional money is at time the best investment possible for your sign dollar.

We are the Visual Solution Group.  We help you create communication that gets your point across clearly and concisely.  Call us at 916-225-6931 or visit us at www.visualsolutiongroup.com  We get your point across!