Tag Archives: Gender

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!

Signs Of The Times

Bridge

This is clearly NOT a sign of the times but  a sign of times gone past. It may be difficult for some of us to imagine a time this sign was needed but it wasn’t all that long ago.  I took this picture on a Bridge in the Bay Area in the past few days and it reminded me that we weren’t always the technical haven we are today.

Sheep, Hogs, Cattle, Goats or Horses driven in herds used to be a commonplace occurrence in the Bay Area and even in the Sacramento Region.  I still delight when I am delayed by a group of Turkeys who refuse to move off of the road and this commonly happens on University Avenue and most anyplace in the Wilton and South Sacramento Area.

We all see signs which are left in place and remind us of time gone past.  After I saw this sign I wondered what it must have been like to be around then and witness this most basic agriculture need.  What you don’t think about when you see this sign are the Border Collies who were trained and kept in place to make this all happen on schedule and without loss of livestock.

Now I’ve done what I set out to do.  Signs are Visual Communication and most readers have the vision in their imagination of a Cattle or other wild animal drive and all we provided was a sign, a reference and a few well chosen words.  Done right Visual Communication Matters!

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!

Which Way Is The Best Way?

either way

We spend a lot of time over here at Visual Solutions Group working to eliminate confusing signs.  The sad reality is they seem to multiply faster than we can eliminate them.  Possibly the biggest question we have boils down to “is anyone paying attention?”

This is an example of a sign a client sent to us from Southern California and the picture was taken in a private parking lot.  What would you do?  How would you proceed?  The issues we have with this sign are twofold.  The first issue is the obvious confusion it creates and the results of that confusion.  While that’s bad enough the second aspect of this sign that disturbs us is the potential liability which could result from the use of a sign that can only be described as intentionally confusing.  If you saw this sign what would you do?  How would you react?

Signs like this are a result of multiple failures and not the least of which comes down to peoples inability to properly communicate.  As more and more of our communication transitions to the digital world less communication happens.  The next time you are at a stop light take a look at the drivers around you and see how many of them are looking at their phones.  Those are the folks your signs need to reach and get their point across in a few split seconds… Much like digital communication is delivered.

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 Way We Serve The Community We Live In

Doris & Desiree

My bride Desiree and I along with about 600 of our closest friends recently attended and co-sponored the Sacramento Pacific Asian Chamber Of Commerce 25th Anniversary event at the Hyatt Regency.  This was a chance to get together as a community and celebrate the economic impact we have on the region we live in and support.

The event also took time to honor the Matsui Family and what they have done for our region over the past 25 years.  After Representative Bob Matsui unexpectedly passed away his wife Doris picked up where he left off and she did so without missing a beat.  Representative Matsui (pictured here with my beautiful wife Desiree) spoke about what Sacramento means to her family and even took the time to recognize some of the many dignitaries in the audience.  Mayor Steinberg introduced Representative Matsui because he has worked side-by-side with her family with both State Government and Sacramento City.

Visual Solution Group was a sponsor of the event and this came about from much of the work we have done with the Sac Asian Chamber.  We have worked with this chamber for the last decade and have been honored in the past as the “Business Of The Year” and as a Chamber Ambassador.  I have seen businesses grow and as a result job growth due to the effort of the Chamber and its members.  Whenever we get the chance to help the Chamber out we know it means another job is going to be created and more people prosper as a result.  Here’s to another 25 years!

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!eventsign