Tag Archives: Carmichael

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!

 

Things Better Left Unsaid Sometimes Needs To Be Said…

As youngsters we learned every action had a potential opposite reaction.  Personally I taught my daughters to consider the impact of their actions on others.  This applies to many areas of life.  Things like hold doors open for people, don’t litter, look your best at all times and don’t dispose of things in a careless manner.

One of the basic areas of this comes down to where some of us throw trash.  When I go to athletic events I often see beer cups thrown into urinals.  Who could possibly think this is either a good or even appropriate place to throw trash?  Someone has to remove that from the urinal and dispose of it properly.  Was the person who threw it there actually taught that a urinal was the proper place to throw this away?  Other than the fact someone has to remove this and throw it away what are the other potential impacts of this behavior?

I asked an Engineer about the impact of small pieces of trash in a urinal they explained when small bits of trash collect in filters and enough debris collects in one of these filters a spill is the result.  If the debris gets past the filter there is potential damage to the plumbing system and that results in increased labor, material, down time and costs for everyone.  The down time resulting from this results in a closed restroom and this impacts us all… Especially the elderly and infirmed.  At the end of the day the sign is asking that we all consider the other person and act accordingly.  Simple message and a great 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!

 

 

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!

Placement Matters

Oops!  This was my thought when I rolled up on this sign the other morning.  So many things were going great and one thing detracted from what was going on.

There I was… on my way to see a client and I hit a traffic slowdown.  No one likes to hit traffic but something good came out of it.  Road repair was happening in front of me and the crew from Elk Grove was seriously hard at work like I’ve seen them work in the past.  They were patching potholes that morning (Who doesn’t hate potholes?) and while I was stopped I saw this sign.  They were evidently so busy getting to work that sign configuration was a minimal consideration.  This is a familiar story.

If I was to write a story on signs that were improperly installed by others I could write for a long, long time.  Signs not level, signs not actually affixed, signs placed where they increase confusion and signs placed in places they shouldn’t be placed.  This sign was upside down and this happens because someone gets busy and makes a mistake.  While I waited in my truck I watched people point at the sign and laugh.  How much of their laughter is directed at the sign and how much at the work crew who put the sign in place?  That answer is impossible to say but figures in to the entire equation.  VSG installers spend a little bit more time to create a better result.  We fix mistakes others have made and we dot I’s and cross T’s.  If VSG was the last one there and failed to act when acting should have happened, that’s on us.  Placement 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!

Who’s Minding The Store?

Clients send me interesting, confusing and disturbing signs and I appreciate that.  This sign was sent in recently and belongs in the confusing category.  The sign on the left tells the reader pretty clearly what the Winter hours are.  That’s helpful.  The sign on the right informs you they are closed for maintenance.  Only one of them is likely correct.

Situations like this come up more often than owners or managers realize.  This company had no intention of placing a sign telling you they’re open and closed at the same time.  How does this happen?  I recently came upon a sign on a door that clearly identified that door as an evacuation route and another sign on the same door that said “Do Not Enter”.  Listing both of those things are at best conflicting and at worst could get someone injured.

Avoiding conflicting signs comes down to paying close attention to what you’re doing and might even mean going an extra step by having someone who isn’t associated with what you want to communicate reading your signage. This person would read the sign, tell you what they see and then you compare their understanding to what’s written.  Both the “Do Not Enter” and the evacuation sign are perfect messages…when they are combined the meaning becomes unclear.  Take a minute right now and look at the signs you have posted and read them for content and consistency.  You may find signs that don’t belong together or signs that confuse more than they educate.  The next step is yours!

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!

Signs That Lighten The Mood

More and more intersections feature signs designed to elicit the specific behavior of getting drivers to slow down and pay attention.  Sometimes they want you to slow down due to way too many collisions and other times they want you to slow down because someone died there.  Either way the creator of the sign wants your attention for what they consider to be a good reason.

In this blog I’m going to concentrate on a single place where multiple accidents have happened and where a little extra caution might be of value.  I frequently use the term “Mother Nature is undefeated”.  I told this to a friend recently after his home was damaged by a storm.  No one was hurt but it was obvious who was in charge.  Here I’ve attached a picture where someone near a wall is keeping track of walls won/loss record as it relates to cars.   So far… Undefeated!

This is kind of a fun way to get you to slow down and pay closer attention.  In reality the wall doesn’t care if you hit it reminding you avoid doing so goes a long way!  The record of this particular wall is better than it states.  In the nine years this planter has been in place it’s been hit over and over.  The City has documented 23 repairs and damage levels have ranged from $461 to $2.626 for a total of at least $25,745.  The first crash happened during the initial construction process and most repairs are listed as happening for unknown reasons.  The biggest takeaway from signs of this type are slow down, pay closer attention and live longer!    

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!

You Say Potato And I Say What?

As our area and nation becomes increasingly diverse, we are tasked with being able to communicate with more and more people without using English.  This melting pot we call America, and especially California, has people from all over the world and we need to factor in everyone to the greatest extent and level of inclusion possible.

According to the Los Angeles times there are currently 220 languages used in California and 44% of all residents speak something other than English in their home.  The reality is that communication challenge continues when they leave their home and engage the rest of the world.  We are asked to create a sign recently in English, Spanish and Chinese.  Our follow up question was met with a blank stare.  The question was “What Chinese dialect do we represent on the sign?”  This matters greatly and since this sign was in a medical facility it took on an even greater level of importance.

As the picture we used demonstrates, there are different ways to talk to groups of people even here in the states so we cannot be so cavalier as to ignore this actual need.  The reality was the person ordering the sign needed to do more homework before the actual order was placed and the sign created.  Once we had the dialect (there ended up being 2!) we were able to meet with our team, get the translation and graphics done and solve the issue.  At the end of the day we must be sensitive to the person reading the sign!

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!