Category Archives: Uncategorized

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!

Reminding, Entertaining Or Both?

Tipsy

I keep an eye out for creativity in the business world and some folks surprise me with what they come up with. When I saw this sign I wasn’t completely taken aback until I saw what folks were actually leaving in this tip jar.  Once I made a more critical observation my point of view changed in a hurry.

This was in the Honolulu airport wine store where they only offer to go items and my observation was this sign was a message/market match. Some folks drink wine for the sole purpose of feeling a “Little Tipsy” and that resonated with the patrons of this shop.  In fact I stopped and watched what was going on for about 10 minutes or so and my takeaway was huge.

In this shop every single transaction I saw was with either a credit card or a debit card and they were busier than I ever considered they could or would be. In about 6 of 10 cases the person buying would look at the sign and smile and then reach in to their pocket and tip between $1 and $5 before leaving.  Since everyone paid with a credit or debit card there was no way I could tell if the others were “Feeling Tipsy” but the odds are they were.  The tip jar being there told the customers that tipping is not only acceptable but others are doing it at the point of purchase.  Since others were doing it they were in the norm for following along with the majority.  This is a great way to communicate what others are doing and a subtle way to get people to join in.

How can this add to your place of business and I’m not talking about getting tips. What about customer compliance of just engagement?  If you write it they may join!

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!

How Can A Sign Be Part Of Your Office Décor?

I was watching a re-run of a 1980’s show called L.A. Law recently and right there in front of me was a timelessly classic example of a sign created to be part of an office décor. While I cannot verify it I would go so far as to say the sign was created to engender the feeling that you are in a safe place and the people here take care of things like no one else can.

You may not even know you have that feeling you do. Remember the first time you saw the Disneyland sign when you were a child?  For most adults that memory will never be erased and most adults have the same feeling today.  The feeling today will cost us a lot more money but people happily spend that money in order to get the associated feeling.  The sign is where it starts and the park is where it happens.

When you first see the sign in the L.A. Law office the next thing you see is the perfectly appointed flowers and the director of first impressions. You know you are in a special place and expect to be treated that way.  When you look at how the rest of the office is designed you now expect the best.  Memorable to say the least… remarkable when you consider it all started with a sign.  Want to make this happen?  Talk to VSG!

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!

How Do You Mend A Broken Sign?

I got a call from my lead installer recently who asked if we had done a specific emergency exit sign for a local hospital which was broken. After a review of my records it was determined we didn’t build or install the sign in question.  Since the sign was broken and literally taped in place and where it was taped was not in accordance with what the Fire Marshall mandates it needed attention.

The solution was for my team to get the specifics as to where it should be mounted according to law and just get it done. We didn’t wait for approval from an engineer and we didn’t write a proposal so we could get paid.  My team was there, my team had the time and my team fixed the problem.  After we completed this we reported the incident to the Engineer so they would be aware on the chance someone had reported the damage and wanted to locate it and repair it.

Many signs that are broken mean nothing more than a broken sign. Some broken signs cause confusion and in an emergency setting that matters and in certain instances can cost a life.  Not on our watch.  Things like this are nothing more than paying it forward and we do this on a routine basis.  Fines for breakage are one thing and taking the chance someone could be injured when seconds count is a different animal.  We appreciate that the staff had the confidence and trust in us to let us watch after things like this and allow us to do what we do.   In this particular case it was doing the right thing and fixing a problem while nobody was looking and no one expected it.

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!

 

New Calendar’s Will Be Required In A Few Days… Ready?

As hard as it is to imagine, Thanksgiving is just a few days away and Christmas and New Years are just a few days after that. Or so it seems.

As you get busy planning your end of year activities like forecasting, budgets, staffing, maintenance, projections, vacations, and even parties don’t forget that January 1, 2018 will eventually arrive. Without a physical calendar to track things you may be dead (or at least injured) in the water.  While some things can be tracked and managed on line or electronically there is still no replacement for a physical item that can be seen by everyone.

Some of the most productive people I know use all three… wall calendars, desk calendars and electronic calendars to monitor what is going on and to keep them on task. Electronic calendars are excellent for keeping track of birthdays, anniversaries and other things that repeat predictably… so is Facebook!  The greater your lack of predictability at works means the great need for a physical calendar.

The best time to think about ordering a calendar is before you need one. Most people I talk to start needing a new 2018 calendar starting about the 10th of December because things need to get put down in ink!  Reminders matter and the old adage of if you want to get something done ask someone who is already busy… They know how.  Studies repeatedly show that the most productive among us use a physical means to know what’s next.  If you make list’s you should use a calendar.  VSG can help.  We can make custom calendars of most any type you desire.  Want to know more?  Call me at 916-225-6931 and we’ll get it done!

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!

Parking Pain Due To Confusing Signs?

There is a specific block long area in San Francisco where more than 4,000 parking tickets we’re issued last year. Think about 4,000 parking tickets in a single block and many of those are being fought in court.  Imagine the drain on resources and the impact on trying to budget people’s time to show up in court.  Expensive?  You bet!

This is actually happening in the South of Market area (SOMA) and the bottom line reason is confusing signage. Parking is already a nightmare in San Francisco so you have to wonder if you find parking in this area are you lucky or unlucky?  Might be hard to tell.  The reason for all the confusion and the people disputing their ticket is signs in direct conflict with one another and other signs which are missing.

Another aspect of the problem is the parking rules change after 5pm and when the Giants are in town and when baseball is not being played. The issue has become so bad that a few companies are sending 2 staff people to make deliveries and while one delivers the other stays with the delivery truck to make sure they don’t get cited.  This drives up costs for consumers because you have to pay for either the ticket or the additional staff person and those costs get passed along to the rest of us.  Solution? Have VSG handle an issue like this and while we’re installing a sign we make sure the signs already there aren’t in conflict with one another and that the required signage is in place!

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!