Category Archives: Methodist

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!

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

Working In The Fire Prevention Department

I met someone recently who was new in their position and as the story ended up we had more to talk about than we initially imagined. By the time we were done with our meeting our introduction was good for both of us.

This story is told with the permission of the engineer. I made the decision to withhold their identity.  I was asked by a current client to call someone who was new on the job and it sounded important. The person asking me to call was a seasoned Hospital Engineer who wanted me to call a new Hospital Engineer.  The current client had set up the phone meeting and the potential for the face to face meeting.

Since the phone meeting went well I changed my schedule and met with the newly appointed Hospital Engineer. This person’s previous position was as a Facilities Engineer for a software company.  He knew the rules in a hospital were different and had no idea how different.  As we walked we saw in excess of 50 plain paper copier printed signs in various places for various reasons held in place with tape.  These signs were not laminated and while they looked ok they were not what the hospital higher ups wanted their patients to see.  While we may not always notice, hospitals are in fact in a competitive arena and appearance matters.  As I explained… simple paper signs from an office printer like this go beyond cosmetics.

The Federal Government and the State of California have rules on almost everything that happens in a hospital. Signs made from copy paper and unlaminated are potential fire hazards and not acceptable.  In fact, these are not acceptable at the level of fines and other penalties.  The reality is there was the potential for him to lose his new position… not acceptable from his point of view.  After he did some checking (I suggested he call the man who arranged the meeting) I moved his facility to the front of the list and handled the issues under his authority.  Having the freedom and ability to help someone is one of the best aspects of what we do here at VSG.  As I tell people… Yes, we do a lot more than just signs.

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!

Heard Of The Lockeford Little Rascals? You Will…

Liberatorslittle rascals

Have you heard of the Lockeford Little Rascals?  How about the Lockeford Liberators?  Remember Roller Derby?  Casey Lara and Michelle Cioli saw a need to get kids and adults up and off the couch and invited the community to get active and get involved.

The reality is most communities and cities have sports like Soccer, Baseball, Softball, Football and other activities to keep the many of the kids moving… Lockeford not so much.  Ok, the reality is Lockeford has nothing of any of the sort to keep the kids active.  These 2 coaches went a step further.  Looking at communities who have these other sports it seemed the kids were active and the parents were left to drive them around and watch.  Casey and Michelle wanted more.

By forming both an adult and youth league the parents and the children are involved and they share what each other is doing.  The league game competes with teams from San Luis Obispo to Chico and places in between.  There are currently 10 adults and 16 at the youth level involved and they encourage fun AND healthy competition.  Because of the diversity of the leagues and the lack of business sponsors they were having an issue generating what they needed to run this group so coaches, parents and fans reached out to whoever they thought might help out.

When they called us at Visual Solution Group and told us about the concept we knew we had to help.  So did Capri’s, The Wood Shaper and others who were not stepping up to potentially get business but were sponsoring to make a difference.  After talking to the coaches and a couple of the players in appears we are doing just that!

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!

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!

Another “Sign” VSG Does A Lot More Than Signs

 

sppedbump1

A recent conversation brought about the newest addition to what VSG can put on its plate.  This list has recently added solar signs, tree trimming and all the way to helicopter landing pads.  With that said how far off center could speed bump installation actually be?

Some inherent challenges existed and the VSG team stepped up, did the research and we were able to find a product to fit the demands of the job.  One of the biggest challenges include installing the speed bumps while the parking structure was still open.  Another challenge was that most adhesives take 24 hours to dry before they can be used and we were told up front that was a non-starter.  More research!  One thing is certain and if you do sufficient research you will find an answer.  We looked and we found!

The next thing we had to determine was the time the parking garage has the least amount of activity so we could first lay the speed bumps out and get them installed.  Once we had the entire project figured out we put together our resources and got the job done.  This was actually a fun project and the best part is we solved a problem for a client and that’s just part of what we do.  In the words of the leader of the A-Team from the 1980’s “I love it when a plan comes together!”  Thank you all for letting us get creative!

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!

No Power Source… No Problem!

solar sign

VSG was recently presented with an interesting problem and we arrived at a very 2018 solution.  What would you do if you needed a lighted sign and didn’t have a readily available power supply?

Problem: After more than one expansion one of the facilities we help needed some lighted signs in a remote parking lot.  This is not an unusual request.  After we met with the engineer we thought we had our work cut out for us.  They needed a couple of signs with exact measurements.  The two options being considered were running power to the area or look at the potential for a solar option.

Solution: These days when you say solar people think about the expensive panels people have on their roof that quit functioning in the shade or at night.  Not functioning at night or in the shade wasn’t going to work for a 24 hour parking lot so we found a solar sign with battery back-up.  The sign functions 24 hours a day and the charge the battery gets during the day is more than enough to charge the internal batteries and power the sign all night long and on overcast days.  VSG was able to install and program the sigh and we will maintain it as well!

We enjoy being presented with unique challenges and answering those with unique and affordable solutions.

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!