Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

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!

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 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!

“Danger” Should Garner Sufficient Attention

Dont Get Caught redo

We happened on this sign on a recent vacation.  What this sign communicated did its job for us.  The reality is signs like this don’t always work so the person making the sign has to place themselves in the place of the reader of the sign and take on new information from a new point of view.

One of my clients manufactures golf carts for a living.  He tells me that if a golf cart is going to last it must be designed and built for the golfer who is easily frustrated and is looking for an outlet for that frustration.  Signs that do their job are really quite the same.  Appealing to the lower common denominator to some extent is important.  The reason to have a sign is to communicate something to someone and that communication has to be done at a level the reader understands.

This is not meant to be insulting or demeaning to anyone.  The Wall Street Journal is written at the 5th grade level of comprehension and once you know that a logical next question is what level should a sign be written at.  The end result I want from a sign I build for you is to communicate what you want communicated with the minimum human interaction possible.  Limiting the number of questions a sign creates, and we have all seen signs that confuse us, create more of a free flow of what we want to get done.  This is just part of the reason for the names Visual and Solution.

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!

Some Habits Hurt More Than Others

Habit

It seems like my life’s work boils down to communication and I have to take the next step and make certain the communication I create will impact a different part of the brain and elicit a different and unique response.  I make this happen in a variety of ways with a variety of images.

The image in this sign was found in Hawaii when I was on vacation with my family.  I’ve had the conversation with my daughters about the dangers of smoking and now vaping and here is a shore bird not making a sound and doing an admirable job of saying the same thing.  Simply remarkable.

The brain has many ways of interpreting things and one of my jobs and a reason I use the graphics people I use is to reach as many of those ways and possible to convey the message.  Don’t smoke is a worthwhile message and don’t make your habit my habit has multiple messages that need to be said.  The goose has a discarded cigarette in its mouth.  This has the message don’t smoke and don’t litter in the same place.  You may see one message or both and you will see something.  Signs like this interrupt the thought process by making you stop and think.

The additional reality is if we make the reader stop and think too long the effect is not only diminished but may be lost altogether.  Leaving some area for interpretation in some signs is a critical step and one that is often overlooked.  Don’t Smoke and Don’t Litter are valuable messages!

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!

“Stop” Me If You’ve Heard This One…

Shuttle Stop

If you’ve ever wondered why I take the time to wander around the hallways of a business, school or medical facility this is what the lawyers call an “on point” example. By “on point” they mean what everyone should be talking about.  The sad reality is I see this more often than most would imagine.  I was challenged by this statement recently and this was my response.

I was challenged by a manager (not going to reveal who) who thought I was over emphasizing the issue so we made a professionals bet of lunch as to who was right. The bet was we could go to a place I had never been and find more than one sign that appeared like this.  I had to find more than one and they were the final decision maker.

The person I bet with was right and they still had to buy lunch. They became tired of looking at out of date signs, weathered signs, incomplete signs, broken signs, incorrect signs and signs that reflected poorly on the place we visited.  They took the next step to help me talk to the director of the place I was and they are now a customer.  I won lunch (I tried to buy) and have a new customer.  I call that “Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!”

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!