Tag Archives: Vancouver’

When Even The Best Sign Won’t Matter

There are times when someone can create the perfect sign with the perfect message and somehow it can still fall short of the intended message. We’ve seen more than one hand made sign placed in a position to warn someone about something critical (like an evacuation route) and in an emergency the likelihood of actually seeing the sign is minimal. Then we have this one…

When you initially look at the sign it looks perfect. You have a visual warning to “Give Cyclists Space.” In case you didn’t know there is a 3 foot law on the vehicle code mandating that separation in California (section 21750 CVC). So far so good! Going just a little deeper we see the sign was proactively placed in the middle of the designated bike lane and that placement required a bike rider to swerve into traffic due to a lack of space! Do you suppose that was intentional? We don’t.

We create and install a lot of signage for hospitals and schools. We know both the laws and we understand the ramifications of our actions. We know if a sign won’t get the job done to not install it and work with whoever is in charge to resolve it. The sign above has only one job and we label this as an epic failure. If a bike rider is forced to swerve into the traffic lane and is involved in an accident you wonder who is at fault. This could have been done in a different manner and that alone could solve the collision question and potentially answer many other questions no one wants to ask.

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 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!

 

 

 

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!

If You Have A Child This Is Exceptional!

Many of us with children do whatever possible to encourage our children to become involved in some form of extra-curricular activity.  For some children it’s dance, playing an instrument or scouting and for many other children it comes down to being involved in a team sport.  Something like soccer, baseball, softball or football to name a few.

One of the purposes of sports is to teach how to win and lose with grace.  Often times it’s harder to learn to win with grace than it is to learn to lose with grace.  We’ve all been exposed to a child who isn’t coachable, won’t listen to anyone and at the end of the game or season was just impossible to get along with.  Most of us blame the child and ignore where the child learned the behavior.

I saw this sign at a baseball diamond recently and I found it to be a great subliminal representation of what we all either want or say we want.  The child may not be well equipped for a promising future playing for the Giants or the Dodgers and that’s not really anyone’s fault.  No one blames the child or the parent.  However when I see the child I referenced above I do look at the parent and wonder what happened.  Parenting is extremely hard work and its very important work.  Raising a child who will lead, will accept criticism and learn from mistakes is something to aspire to in my opinion.  This sign was one of the best examples of that goal I’ve ever seen.  This is a sign that made me stop what I was doing and consider how I’ve done as a parent.  It turns out I did a pretty good job!

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!

Options Can Be A Good Thing

As a nation we’ve invested hundreds of millions to as much as billions in educating and reminding people that drinking and driving is not OK!  Some of this education has been in the form of driver training videos and other education has been in the form of electronic signs on the side of the road that say “Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.”  I want to share with you someone who used a different approach and ask how the approach could work for you.

This sign almost encourages you to drink and drive and then goes to the next step and explains what the alternatives are if you either get caught or are in an accident.  The getting caught aspect comes down to jail.  The prospect of spending time with others who are at various stages of sobering up should be at least mildly bothersome and will be some form of over the top expensive.  The next 2 choices are even more chilling.  Going to the hospital with unknown injuries and causing unknown injuries is a result no one wants.   This result gets you the jail component as well.  Not fun and possibly very painful

The morgue option, while likely not painful for the person it happens to will be painful for others.  Each of these results give you something to consider and may make the reader to opt out and not drive drunk or buzzed.  Other signs like this we will explore include “If You Think Education Is Expensive Try Ignorance” and “Do You Know The Warning Signs Of A Heart Attack?”  Some educate about what can happen and others educate about outcome.  Decide which one you want!

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 Is “That Guy?”

We talk about us, them, those people and in this case we talk about “that guy.”  Who is “that guy” and why does he sometimes have a shorter life span than “other guys?”  Let’s explore that is some detail.

I personally snapped this picture from a sign I saw near Cambria.  My beautiful bride and I took a short trip to visit San Simeon to see Hearst Castle and Cambria and we happened on this sign near a large group of seals.  Seals are massive animals who appear to be docile to the uninformed.  The locals understand the sometimes aggressive nature of these animals and even after they explain what they have seen there are some people who discount what they hear.

This warning picture shows the result when someone hears the warning and then ignores the warning.  Experience tells me the initial sign used to discourage people interacting with seals was the written word.  Anyone who deals with the public understands the written word will suffice for most people and others needs additional interaction.  This sign goes the extra mile in my opinion and tells the viewer to “not feed or touch the animals” and further states it’s “harmful and illegal.”  The sign then speaks to the small percentage who were not reached with the initial signage by showing legs and a fishing pole underneath a massive animal.  While the sign is quite graphic it gets the job done and might even save the life of “that guy!”

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!