Tag Archives: adult

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!

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!

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!

Not Having “PMS” Was Causing Issues

PMS

Before anyone goes off on a tangent we need to be on the same page.  It’s true that not having PMS was causing issues so we got it.  The Pantone Matching System (PMS”) allowed us to give every color you have an exact number and with this number everything matches like it should.

Have you ever wondered how fire trucks all the same uniform color of red from one end of the country to the other?  The PMS system allows agencies nationwide to coordinate and get a definition of what a particular red actually looks like in the visible light spectrum.  Did you know there are 285 different and discernible colors of red the naked eye can differentiate?   Without a system how would you ever get an exact match?
With more and more companies taking on a nation or international branding the color we use matters more than ever.  Having all of your signs match shows at minimum an attention to detail and in the long run supports and protects the branding your company is spending money positioning.  The Pantone Matching system consists of several different guides and each lists different colors.  The Formula Guide, for example, consists of 1,677 solid colors and gives printing formulas for various types of paper stock.  The CMYK Guide for print processes has 2,868 colors that can be created using a four-color print process. Additional guides are available for the apparel, home furnishing, interior design and plastics industries.  If you have ever wondered how Disneyland, Visual Solution Group or Apple computers always have the same colors wonder no more.

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!

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!