Category Archives: Seals

Things We See When We Do A Sign Audit…

We started the idea of “Sign Audit’s” when someone asked us to see if there were any issues that needed to be addressed. At the end of the audit it became a question of what to do first and what could wait. Some items were important and other items were urgent. The attached picture is on the urgent list.

This is a picture of a hand written sign someone placed over an emergency phone that had been identified as “Non-Operational” for in excess of 3 weeks! Whoever placed this was no doubt trying to be funny. Imagine if someone was in a dire emergency, the phone was their only option and they’re met with this sign. Someone knew there was a problem, someone likely reported the problem and then someone dropped the ball. We charged nothing to fix this problem. We identified the problem and got the people responsible to put this high on their priority list. We imagined the long term cost of doing nothing. This is just one of the ways we add value.

When we see something like this we take it to the next logical level. “What If” is a question we ask and when we don’t like the answer we draw a line in the sand and do whatever we can to get the issue handled. In a case where an Emergency Phone line is down we keep asking questions until we get an answer about what’s being done. We view ourselves as your partner in all of this and that means a second set of eyes. Frequently we locate problems that we cannot fix so we bring it to the attention of someone who can and will.

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!

 

Did Someone Move Your Cheese?

Recently a client passed a book on to me titled “Who Moved My Cheese.” The book is all about A-mazing ways to deal with change in your life and work. We’d shared some of the personal and professional changes we’ve had recently and he thought the book and its lessons would be of value. People rarely share books anymore so I took the share seriously and read the book cover to cover… Then I read it again!

Any Engineer or owner/managers of a business is well acquainted with the pace of change… that pace only seems to accelerate every year. Getting comfortable with the speed of change is hard to do and a required skill. The book talks about 4 mice who saw the source of their food drying up and how 2 of the mice accepted that and changed while the other 2 mice refused to accept that things had changed.  The book shows what happens to each of them.

The book uses a maze to illustrate how we all have to navigate change. In talking to many of the people we serve I hear how much their position and responsibilities have changed over the time and how that has impacted their life. Most of us can relate.  For me much of the change comes down to how VSG does what we do and being adaptable to the new opportunities we are offered.  Each of us will have opportunities that came disguised as work and very often accepting these opportunities will mean the difference between success and failure.

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!

 

 

 

When I decided I wanted to work for myself and serve the public I thought I knew what to expect.  So far it’s been more interesting and at times even more exciting than I had reason to believe it would or could be.  These days when I’m asked “Can You Do That?” my initial reaction is to say “Yes” and then figure it out.  The best hotels in the world pride themselves on their ability to say yes and figure the rest out from there.  This story is about starting with “Yes” and going to the next step.

In the last few months we’ve been asked to help with installing bollards, speed bumps, chain link fencing and even an 8’ high iron fence.  We’ve never proactively told anyone we do these things… they tell us they need help, ask for that help and we’re programmed to figure out how to help.  A long time ago I learned my life would be easier if I knew people who could get things done.  It turns out I know people who can do each of these things and many of my customers need help from time to time.

Sometimes I get calls from an Engineer who has an issue in front of them they need solved immediately.  I’ve always promised when it’s a sign issue just call VSG, tell us what you want and consider it’s complete.  I love telling someone who is frantically looking for a solution “I Got This” and then handle it.  I was given a problem recently with a sign that was an important part of a safety system.  The sign was damaged beyond repair and with inspectors coming in within the following week it needed to be dealt with.  I was called on a Saturday morning and an hour later I met with the engineer, understood what was needed to solve the issue and by 5:30 Monday evening the situation was dealt with.  I love being that company for so many of you.  Thank you for letting it be VSG!

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!

When Was The last Time You “Wet Your Plants?”

Done at the right time and in the right situation a simple play on words can be extremely powerful and drive the exact behavior you are looking to drive.  With the advent of spring I have a picture from a nursery reminding you that spring is here. You may need to water your plants as a result and that the landscape department is open for business.  There is actually a lot going on here.

The most important takeaway from this sign is what’s called a pattern interrupt.  It should be “Wet Your Pants” and with the simple addition of the letter “L” the entire meaning has changed.  Changing the meaning in both a subtle and dramatic way causes the brain to work and respond in a much different manner. This is much like what happens when you re-arrange words.  “The Dog Bit Johnny” use the same words and “Johnny Bit The Dog”.  We are using the same words and have a very different meaning and causing the brain to reconsider the entire premise.

Using technology like this is clearly not a great fit for every project or in every setting.  The reality is we place visual communication in an effort to garner attention.  Consider this…  We’ve all seen “No Parking” signs and recently I saw a sign that said “Don’t Even Think About Parking Here!”  Both say No Parking and one is overly demanding and I would imagine much more effective!

We are the Visual Solution Group.  We help you create communication, we get your point across clearly and concisely and we help you solve problems you didn’t even know you had!  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!

Gentlemen… This Is A Football

The famous football coach Vince Lombardi loved to take his players back to the basics after any loss.  He started every post loss practice with the phrase “Gentlemen, this is a football.”  His thought was that managing the most basic element of what you were responsible for made you better than most everyone else.  Today I want to review what a sign is.

The word sign comes from the 13th century and means gesture or motion of the hand, especially one meant to communicate something.  The term comes from the Latin word signum “identifying mark, token, indication, symbol, proof, military standard, ensign, a signal, an omen, SIGN in the heavens or constellation.  Keep in mind this is from the 13th century and the term is still being used in its same basic form today!

This is where the idea of Visual Communication originated.  When the term was initially agreed on the language the world used was very different and much less developed than it is today.  With language being more developed today we have far more ways to confuse the most basic level of communication.  Scholars say that the English language is one of the more difficult languages to learn due to multiple meanings for the same sounding word.  There, their and they’re are excellent examples of that difficulty.  When spoken they can be confusing and they get more clear when written if the reader is paying attention, understands the difference and isn’t engaged on social media.  I mention social media due to what has become acceptable spelling and syntax errors.  Some of the errors redefine what a sign is and must be taken into account when a sign is designed.

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!

Stop And Consider The Message…

There was an incident over the weekend where someone wanted to take a selfie with a caged Jaguar.  This was a black Jaguar and not the car kind… The wild animal kind.

There were signs and warnings and gates and fences and none of them worked to prevent entry.  This person made a decision and was able to ignore each of the posted signs and get around each barrier and get back to where the animal was residing and then took the selfie.  The animal had other ideas and reacted as you would expect a predator to react.  When this person got close enough to the fence the animal was able to grab their jacket and get a claw on them.  The result was minimally damaging to the person… they were injured and they survived.  None of the signs or physical barriers were able to prevent a highly motivated person from entering anyway.  The fact is the signs and barriers work for almost everyone else.

This true story tells us we need to communicate in different ways for different needs.  The sign I have listed here might work for docile animals and wouldn’t be the best choice for Jaguars or any of the other aggressive and dangerous animals.  Knowing that you would communicate in a different manner.  The Federal Government uses a physical color coded system to convey a threat and areas where there are X-Rays present use a different system.  The method of explaining danger has to fit the danger.  Signs and intent matters.

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!

Bumper Stickers Are Mini-Signs

As we drive down the road we’re accustomed to seeing signs for fast food, gas stations and even points of interest.  Actually, when it comes to points of interest you need to pay really close attention or you’re likely to miss a point of interest as these are disappearing from road side signs.  Some of my personal favorite activities when driving involve looking at bumper stickers and then I compare and contrast the occupant with the sticker.  Just doing the comparison can be worth the price of admission!

You might have a sticker on the window or bumper of your car telling the world about your child getting on to the Honor Roll or the fact that they were the Student Of The Month at their school.  I’ve attached one of my personal favorites when it comes to the message the driver wants to send.  I spotted this on the back of an SUV in Mid Town Sacramento and it tells a rich and complete story about the driver.  Vietnam Veteran, Member of the Infantry, Member of the Airborne and you also know they Proudly Served.  There is a lot of communication on one window of one SUV.

If you were going to use the Bumper Sticker method of communication how would you go about doing it?  Single sticker with a single message or would you go the multi message route and tell as much as possible about who you are and what your interests are?  I know when election time rolls around I get tired of reading the sticker and comparing and contrasting!  How about you?

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!

Sign And Information Overload

We’ve all heard you can get too much of a good thing.  I have proof!  I’m a lover of signs for many reasons and not the least of which is their ability to define what behavior is acceptable and what behavior is off limits.  Much of this comes down to making things more understandable in terms like enter, closed, no parking and no trespassing.  What does it look like when signs run amok?

Imagine you’re entering a parking lot and out of the corner of your eye you spot this collection of signs.  You now have a few choices;

  1. Stop and read each individual sign and comply.
  2. Park then return and read each individual sign and comply.
  3. Quickly glance at this group of signs and see if one sticks out.
  4. See the signs, ignore them due to the number and park.

What would you do?

When faced with the sheer number of signs, the deteriorated quality of the signs and where they are placed my bet would be that most simply ignore them, park and continue with their day.  I will admit my choice was #4.  There are evidently a lot of rules that go along with parking here.  The number of signs posted provide and demand more reading than I care to do in order to just park.  Like you, I have other things to get done than to stop and read several very low quality signs and make sure I’m in compliance with what’s expected.  This should be condensed into a single sign and posted somewhere other than an entry where stopping to read a sign could cause an accident.  Simplify wherever possible for a better result.

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!

Who Is “That Guy?”

We talk about us, them, those people and in this case we talk about “that guy.”  Who is “that guy” and why does he sometimes have a shorter life span than “other guys?”  Let’s explore that is some detail.

I personally snapped this picture from a sign I saw near Cambria.  My beautiful bride and I took a short trip to visit San Simeon to see Hearst Castle and Cambria and we happened on this sign near a large group of seals.  Seals are massive animals who appear to be docile to the uninformed.  The locals understand the sometimes aggressive nature of these animals and even after they explain what they have seen there are some people who discount what they hear.

This warning picture shows the result when someone hears the warning and then ignores the warning.  Experience tells me the initial sign used to discourage people interacting with seals was the written word.  Anyone who deals with the public understands the written word will suffice for most people and others needs additional interaction.  This sign goes the extra mile in my opinion and tells the viewer to “not feed or touch the animals” and further states it’s “harmful and illegal.”  The sign then speaks to the small percentage who were not reached with the initial signage by showing legs and a fishing pole underneath a massive animal.  While the sign is quite graphic it gets the job done and might even save the life of “that guy!”

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!