Category Archives: Frogs

Get Used To Ever Increasing Signage Confusion

We were recently asked about a growing trend causing hospitals, colleges and even cities severe issues.  Many of these issues have far reaching liabilities attached to them and when they say “we need signs” they mean in the next day or two.  The issue revolves around what are called “e-scooters.”

The “e-scooter” craze is an offspring from Lyft and UBER and they have cute names like Bird, MoBike and Jump.  These are electric scooters you can rent with your cell phone by the minute to get you from point to point.  Thus far there are few actual laws regulating these and many of those who use e-scooters have taken few laws to mean anything goes.  People are renting these scooters and riding on the street, sidewalk, shopping centers and even in traffic.  There is no training required and if you’re an adult you aren’t even required to wear a helmet… keep in mind many of these scooters can go as fast as 35 mph!

We’ve had calls from clients asking what signs we have to handle this and how soon we can create and install a sign.  Since each application is different and each set of rules unique we don’t have an off the shelf solution.  The rules are specific for a hospital, college, high school and an area where there are a lot of pedestrians who fear an almost silent machine coming up on them with minimal to no notice.  This reminds us of the time a few years back when we had less than a week to design, fabricate and install over 200 “No Smoking” signs in six business days.  Someone had a problem, needed a solution, called VSG… Handled!

We are the Visual Solution Group.  We help you create communication and we get your point across clearly and concisely.  We can also help with banners, graphics, apparel, printing and most anything else related to communication.  Call us at 916-225-6931 or visit us at www.visualsolutiongroup.com  We get your point across!

Why Specific Specifics Matter

I saw this when I was helping a client in San Francisco.  While I’m not a huge fan of big cities I am a huge fan of San Francisco.  This sign is just one of the reasons why.  This sign is so specific it virtually eliminates guesswork and second guessing.

You can only smoke at the curb and if there is no curb you must be at least 15 feet from exits, entrances (sometimes these are the same so this eliminates arguments and alternative definitions) and you cannot smoke within 15 feet of operable windows and vents.  About the only thing this sign doesn’t explain is what an operable window is, how to identify a vent and what the penalty is if you get caught.  The clarity is amazing and from a sign makers point of view this is what we strive to create.

Contrast this with a “No Parking” sign randomly placed without any parameters.  How far away from this “No Parking” sign can I park?  Are there other restrictions I must observe?  Who came up with this “No Parking” rule, who is going to enforce the rule and what’s the penalty if I ignore the rule?  Most of these questions are easily answered in minimal space and giving answers to these questions might actually increase or decrease compliance.  If the penalty for parking is a $10 fine someone may not care on the other hand if the penalty is having your car towed it’s more likely to be obeyed.  Specifics matter!

We are the Visual Solution Group.  We help you create communication and we get your point across clearly and concisely.  We can also help with banners, graphics, apparel, printing and most anything else related to communication.  Call us at 916-225-6931 or visit us at www.visualsolutiongroup.com  We get your point across!

Clearly Understood Or Intentionally Mis-Understood?

Imagine you are driving your Green automobile and you’re in desperate need of a parking spot.  Thank goodness you’re not handicapped and if you were you would have had a space 10 minutes ago.  You happen on this sign… “Reserved For Green Vehicles” and all of a sudden you remember your automobile is green.  Perfect!  Problem solved!

Even the most complete and clear sign can cause confusion in the wrong (or right) hands and this is a clear example.  The space is reserved for green vehicles and even though the sign maker and property owner meant something different it wasn’t made abundantly clear.  When Tesla decided to create charging stations they were very clear and made them Tesla Electric Vehicle Parking.  Zero confusion and from what I have been told almost 100% compliance from other drivers.

Sign confusion can be very expensive, time consuming and can be eliminated with effort.  The nice folks at Tesla could have easily created a sign saying Electric Vehicle Parking only and that would have included every other electric car driven and that wasn’t their goal.  Tesla went a step further and this is where the magic lies.  Having a sign that includes their logo makes it seem almost like Tesla owns the parking spots and parking there is a privilege.  If you’ve ever looked at where Tesla’s are parked and seen a row of them it certainly appears there is safety and some lack of confusion in numbers.  Wherever possible be as complete and specific as possible.

We are the Visual Solution Group.  We help you create communication and we get your point across clearly and concisely.  We can also help with banners, graphics, apparel, printing and most anything else related to communication.  Call us at 916-225-6931 or visit us at www.visualsolutiongroup.com  We get your point across!

 

A Contradiction In Terms On Display

There are times in life when we encounter something so clear its easy to miss.  Some people use the phrase “You can’t see the forest for the trees” which means the trees are in the way.  In this week’s example someone took the time to create and post a sign to alert others that no sign should be posted there.  This is like passing a police officer on the freeway while speeding and talking on your phone which makes no sense at all!

This sign almost begs someone to post a sign if for no other reason than someone else did.  There’s no authority on this sign so no real reason to respect what it says.  Had they taken the time to state who controlled the space and who was forbidding the posting of a sign it might go a long way to getting others to comply.  Since they were making a sign why not get it done right the first time?

Signs in schools or health care facilities have an even higher standard to serve.  Signs need to be as concise as reasonable while explaining what they need to explain.    Explaining everything there is to explain on one sign is seldom an attainable goal.  The “Post No Signs” should have explained who made the demand and left it at that.  Anything else isn’t necessary or helpful information and may lead to confusion.

We are the Visual Solution Group.  We help you create communication and we get your point across clearly and concisely.  We can also help with banners, graphics, apparel, printing and most anything else related to communication.  Call us at 916-225-6931 or visit us at www.visualsolutiongroup.com  We get your point across!

Is Common Sense All That Common?

Common sense is getting less and less common so the existence of a sign warning you to keep your arms and hands away from an incoming train explains a lot.  One of the first things I know is this was an issue for someone who didn’t keep either their arms, hands or both away from an incoming train.  The follow up question is did the train hit someone and if so how hard?  Was there a lawsuit?  Can further injuries realistically be prevented?  Signs alerting you to potential hazards save injuries, lives and even embarrassment.  When someone is standing on a train platform the reality is a train will eventually arrive and in many cases this lowers your awareness even though the natural reaction would be heightened awareness.  Those who placed the sign know you are likely to be more concerned when the train will arrive and the hazard of the train may take a back seat.

There is a complex matrix of laws that surround the placement of signs including why they are placed where they are placed.  Imagine you have sight issues and rely on Braille to find your way around.  This includes the ability to find and enter the proper doorway.  Wouldn’t it be helpful to understand where the information on that door will be located every time you need to know?  It turns out there is and this is why our installers attend educational classes.  This education isn’t something you see and no degrees are granted.  If you have vision issues the world can be an intimidating place and having something located in a spot where you can commonly find it is life changing.  We think that’s just common sense!

We are the Visual Solution Group.  We help you create communication and we get your point across clearly and concisely.  We can also help with banners, graphics, apparel, printing and most anything else related to communication.  Call us at 916-225-6931 or visit us at www.visualsolutiongroup.com  We get your point across!

Unintended Consequences Lead To Issues

We’ve written a lot about animals recently to say the least.  Animals strike an emotional chord with many of us and cause a shift in our attention.  The sign I saw recently when I was camping with my girls said a lot without saying a lot.  This is what I strive to create for you.

Wild Bears are instinctive hunters and as a result they are very good at the art of hunting.  With the exception of a sick animal when was the last time you saw a thin bear?  The reality is this has become a problem in some areas where people leave tasty little tidbits out for bears to eat.  These tidbits can be left out for a bear to easily get or someone may try to hide these in their car with predictably tragic results.  Bears are seldom slowed down by locked cars.  How does this apply to your verbal communication?

While we want to make it more challenging for Bears we also want to make things less challenging for your customers.  When your customer can read a sign and rapidly get the information they want and need they are happier.  This result typically removes the need to contact a staff member to handle their issues.  In the case of the Bear they are telling you what to do and the results if you don’t do what they say.  What if your sign said “Last Appointment 10 Minutes Before Closing” or “Customers With Complete Paperwork Given Priority”.  Would this change how your customer acts and help them at the same time?  Unintended consequences are never a good thing!

We are the Visual Solution Group.  We help you create communication and we get your point across clearly and concisely.  We can also help with banners, graphics, apparel, printing and most anything else related to communication.  Call us at 916-225-6931 or visit us at www.visualsolutiongroup.com  We get your point across!bears

Familiarity And Affinity

Frogs dogs

Whenever possible it’s smart to include images that people recognize and can relate to.  In these signs we have pictures of dogs, the word frog and the easily recognized blue and white wheelchair logo to identify an area the physically challenged can access.  The frog reference has the built in advantage of asking some people to see the word “Toad” and get the dual and cute meaning of towed.

Using images such as these are what we call a pattern interrupt and this can be wildly effective.  With the Frog sign you get people to ask themselves why a frog would need a parking area and that goes on to reference toads.  Great connection and it invites people to think outside of the box many of them live in.

The sign about using the ramp has a lot going on.  You are instructed how to get to the lower plaza, you are invited to have animals which are on leash, it’s clear you are not allowed to smoke (I will assume smoke anything even though that is not clear and it’s also not clear if you are allowed to vape) and they really don’t want you to feed the rats, squirrels or even the birds.  What images do you have that can be reasonable incorporated into your visual communication that will add readership and drive response?  Many national corporations find linking these images to be a serious game changer… Why not you?

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 And Their Backdrop

river level

At Visual Solution Group we don’t see the same sign many others do.  Artists don’t see that same sculpture others do.  I remember reading about a sculptor who said all he did was look at a hunk of granite and remove everything that didn’t look like Micheangelo.  This is an overly simplistic statement with a lot of power.

I was recently hiking with my bride in the Auburn area and we came upon this sign and it contains a high level of subtle drama.  Being residents in this valley we read frequently about river drowning and who gets impacted.  The victims tend to fall into those who are poor swimmers, those who were impacted by the temperature of the water and those who were caught off guard by changing water levels.

Certain areas of the rivers have issues that are unique to them.  The area where this sign is positioned is near a place where water is released from a dam.  The releases aren’t advertised or always at the same time and if you didn’t frequently this area the odds are you could be caught off guard.  Being caught off guard here could lead to a fatality.

Look at this sign and you will see the warning in the forefront and surrounding the sign you see evidence of a wild and rapidly flowing river.  The background of the sign supports the forefront of the sign and makes the entire package very real.  The viewer might never consciously associate the sign and the background but their subconscious likely will.   The goal they were after was to cause a certain level of alert and a certain level of danger.  Mission accomplished!

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!

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!

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!