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Harford County Signs and Banners Blog

Digital Signage Big News at 2012 Consumer Electronics Show

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Digital signage was everywhere at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas- both as new technology and as exhibit signage. We’ve already talked about the forecasts for this category, and it is quite the rage for the industry. Digital signage is penetrating Maryland office signs, outdoor signs and custom business signs. Digital signage allows you to create customized signage each and every day by changing your message and tailoring it to your audience.

Companies are making it easier and easier to enter the digital signage market with custom business signs. For example, LG showed an EZSign TV designed for business owners, with the accompanying software that allows them to create their own digital signage content. According to an article in Digital Signage Today, the EZSign TV package provides 53 templates and picture-in-picture layouts that display a live TV broadcast within the signage. The content can be loaded onto a USB drive for display, requiring no additional hardware. Chosen product of the year by CRN Magazine, The EZSign TV lets users combine advertisements, information and live TV broadcasts on the same screen. The big screen LED TV provides bright, bold displays and graphics. Like most digital signage displays, it can be mounted on a wall, in a kiosk, or put on a stand for maximum in-store signage flexibility.

If you’re considering digital signage for your Maryland office signs, Blue Water Signs can give you a complete recommendation. Today’s product technology makes the signage more flexible and easier to use. Contact us for more information.

Magnetic Signs Attract Attention

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Magnetic signs come in all shapes and sizes. They are yet another portable signage example, and they are great for temporary use. Most commonly used on vehicles, magnetic signs are an ideal way to promote a timely message or event. In addition, many team and sport logos seen on cars in Harford County are magnetic signs. But don’t forget about miniature magnetic signs – calendars and schedules, contact information and quick-reference phone numbers can all be printed on a magnet small enough to hang on refrigerators or file cabinets.  

Magnetic signs can be cost effective, as simple as one color graphics letting people know your name and phone number, or full color digital prints utilized to catch potential customers' attention. Made from a vinyl sheet containing magnetic compounds, the flexible material usually comes on a roll and can be cut to any size. A vinyl layer holds the printing and then is laminated on top. The magnetic thickness varies based on the use – a thicker magnet is used for vehicles because they require more staying power. A thinner magnet is used for promotional items.

When ordering magnetic signs, be sure to ask for samples and inquire about the safety of the magnet on painted metal surfaces. You don’t want your signage to take the paint off a vehicle or refrigerator when removed! But you do want to use magnetic signs to attract attention with a message that will stick! And always remember not to use magnets too close to magnetic computer hard drives, as this can damage the data stored on them.

Hold Up Your Signs

Saturday, January 21, 2012

You’ve just invested in a vinyl banner that looks fabulous. How are you going to hang it? Or, you have an awesome big screen LED panel inside your lobby that’s full of company messages, but it’s sitting on a metal file cabinet at waist level. If you want effective signage, remember that hanging the sign is as important as the sign itself. Signage accessories are numerous throughout Harford County and most are quite functional. Your signage professional should ask during the design process how you want to hang the sign, and then make recommendations for the best design.

For example, vinyl banners can be made with pockets on any side that allow them to be mounted on unobtrusive poles or stands. Clips, roping and brackets are also among the alternatives. If the mounting device will be seen, you’ll need to consider whether or not you want it to blend or contrast with the sign. Choose sturdy mounts – there’s nothing worse than a sign flapping in a brisk Harford County wind or hanging on an angle because of faulty or weak mounting brackets. Even a poster deserves a secure strip of double-sided sticky tape that won’t fall down.

For digital signage, choose stands or brackets that are made specifically for the monitor. These are tested for strength and are designed to hold the weight of the monitor safely. Signs should be at or above eye level. Adjustable stands or brackets are ideal.

Make your sign brackets or mounts part of your design plan. They can enhance your sign and your company’s image.

When a Sign is More Than a Sign - Part 2

Thursday, January 19, 2012
Mostly everyone loves chocolate, but what does chocolate not like? Sunlight and temperatures above 80 degrees! Strong, glaring, and warming sunlight in the front of any store can make it too warm or uncomfortable inside. The strategic positioning of a sign may help solve the the comfort issue -- and keep those store-front chocolates from melting! -- as well as get your name in front of your customers.  

Case in point:  At this Wockenfuss store (see photo), in the winter months, the sun is low enough that sunlight comes through the window very strong late in the afternoon. It melts the chocolate in the cases, and no one wants to buy melted chocolate.

The solution:  position a banner strategically to not only show everyone you are in a new location, but keep the sun off the cases. 

Working with a true sign professional who places a priority on your business success can help you market your business, and sometimes solve problems that may not even seem sign-related. 

Banner sign protects chocolate from melting

When a Sign is More Than a Sign - Part 1

Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Window treatment provides office privacyOften, the choice of a sign can have more of an impact than just showing your name or selling a product. When designed right, it can work to help solve a problem or issue with your office or retail space. 

How comfortable do you feel when you are in the office at night by yourself and people can look in through the window? What about the office window that is on a busy street? In these cases, the use of a window treatment can not only be used to sell your product, but also can be used to make the space more safe and comfortable. "Window Perf" can be used to make a terrific splash on your customers and can reduce the visibility into the office space. Window Perf is a vinyl product that has a series of uniform holes punched into the material. This material allows people in the office to look out, while those outside only see the printed message. Window Perf can also be used on vehicle windows to make use of more surface on your vehicle, but still allow you to see through the window safely. 

Whether an office or a car, put your message where people can see it -- and solve a sometimes troublesome issue at the same time.

Window treatment in vehicle

Promotional Products – Your Portable Billboard

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

promotional product - mug sampleWhen you think of signage, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? While most people would say banners, big screens or channel lettering, they are missing an important signage niche: promotional products. T-shirts, hats, mugs, decals and more are portable forms of signage. These items can effectively communicate a company’s message and become part of its image. Just as your branding should include a uniform look on your stationery, brochures and website, your promotional products should also reflect your brand. These products are mini billboards that will find audiences at Harford County and Baltimore County sporting events, schools, businesses and neighborhoods. They will say, “we care,” to the people who own them and the people who see them.

Take the opportunity to research your options for product quality. The promotional pieces not only offer a friendly view of your company, they also make a statement. They can be fashionable, trendy or conservative, but above all, they should be high quality and durable. The printing quality should also be outstanding. Your promotional products will communicate the company image by their design and quality, as well as their message.   

Blue Water Signs can work with you to set up a “Company Store” for your business that will allow the departments within your company to order promotional items directly on-line. This is extremely convenient for sales departments that have outside sales teams that can order embroidered shirts, hats and other items and have them shipped directly to the sales team member’s homes.

A Green Choice in Dimensional Letters

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Have you ever seen those nice bright and colorful letters and logos that are attached to the front of a company's store or office front? Did you know that Gemini Products offer a green solution for these letters? Gemini started making formed dimensional letters in 1964. The letters are not made as most plastics are by utilizing oil as a component but use a renewable material called Cellulose Acetate Butyrate (CAB). This material is based on fibers from tree and cotton plants which makes it a renewable source of materials. The material is very stable and has UV stabilizers added to the product to assure that they weather well in the sun and maintain their bright professional look throughout their life. Gemini also backs these products with a lifetime warranty and will replace the letters if they do not meet your expectations. Blue Water Signs offers this "green" solution for dimensional signage to our clients through an exclusive arrangement with Gemini Products. For many companies, this is a great, low-cost alternative to lighted channel lettering.

To view the full line of Gemini products click here. You may also watch this video on how the formed letters are manufactured (opens in a new page).

link to Gemini Products website video 

2012 Digital Signage Trends

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

As 2012 blossoms, predictions about the hottest signage trends abound. DigitalSignageToday.com rounded up several industry experts to get their opinions. The result was a general consensus that the digital signage market will see growth in both big screen and portable devices, with both becoming more affordable. The digital out-of-home (DOOH) space will be used more by advertisers. Marketers will want to reach the on-the-go customer, and digital signage opportunities in places like retail, restaurant and grocery will be the ideal places to do it. More digital signage will make its way into hotels and casinos, health care facilities and business lobbies, and it will be in the forms of video walls and digital kiosks. Many think budgets will shift from traditional media to include this new outlet. But to maintain momentum, results will have to be measurable. Experts also agreed the communication is likely to be interactive. One analyst characterized the market as “flat is the new up,” and signaled that budgets would still remain tight.  

Whatever the future holds, both digital signage and traditional signs serve their respective purposes, as is evident around Harford County. Businesses can be assured that there are options to fit any budget. We recommend keeping the long-term, big picture in mind when choosing your signage. Good signage is an investment that can bring you a return. Let Harford County’s Blue Water Signs recommend the best solutions for your business needs.

Bring Back the Light!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

As the shortest day of the year approaches, darkness is actually falling before 5:00 in Harford County. Lights are coming on earlier in town – and that means sign lights as well. 

Backlit or side-lit signs are cost-effective ways to communicate your message year-round, but especially in the dark of winter. Ultra-thin backlit LED signs have been the rage in outdoor signage for the last year. According to DigitalSignageToday.com, the reasons for their success include reliability, brightness and temperature. The technology is reliable over time. 

LEDs are durable, and if kept in an appropriate enclosure, can have a lifespan of up to 10 years. LED backlit panels display at a brightness of 1,500-2,000 nits, which helps them to perform well in direct sunlight or ambient light. At night, the high brightness makes the image pop. Finally, LED technology handles extreme temperature fluctuations better than other technologies, despite some challenges.

So when it gets dark in Harford County, look around at the lighted signs at businesses, churches, health clubs and banks. Then make your sign stand out in the dark.

Signs of No Returns

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It’s the holiday inevitable: returns. You’ve undoubtedly already established your return policy if you’re a retailer. But how do you insure that a customer returns? (comes back, that is!)

Considering that many customers may be new to your store simply because they are returning a gift, you’ll want to give them your best service. Clear, readable signage can help. Describing your return policy in a sign right next to the register makes it handy for reference. Directional signage from the front entry to the return lines keeps traffic flowing smoothly and gives the customer a hassle-free experience. Temporary signs for employees to separate returned merchandise by aisle or section right at the return counter can make inventory accounting easier. Attention-getting point-of-purchase signs for exchanges or sale merchandise will help you get some additional sales, despite the returns. And, encourage cheerful employees – their smiles are the best signs that you want a customer’s return business!

Prepare for the store return rush today: contact Blue Water Signs about purchasing any of these types of signs for your business.


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