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Harford County Signs and Banners Blog

Wall Spiders

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Have you heard about wall spiders? It’s not an infestation of multi-legged creatures. It’s a removable wall graphic made with a new material called Photo Tex. We’ve been working with this custom graphics material for years, and we’re seeing exciting results.

Photo Tex feels like a fabric, and it removes easily from any surface without leaving a residue. It doesn’t rip or wrinkle during application, and it can be used both indoors and outdoors. We think it will be ideal for sponsorship signage in sporting arenas or at trade shows because it can be used repeatedly and repositioned easily, without weakening the adhesive. The material is so flexible it can even wrap around wall corners or poles. This characteristic makes it great for vehicle signage, as well. 

Cost-effective and versatile, Photo Tex can be used with pigment/water base/UV ink as well as solvent-based/latex UV inks. The possibilities are endless for your Harford and Cecil County signage needs.

Contact us if you are interested in purchasing wall spiders for your home or business.

Vehicle Signs Get Attention

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

A business owner in Waco, Georgia, recently experienced the impact of vehicle signage. His signs on company trucks got people’s attention – as they were designed to do – with the message: “New Company Policy: We are not hiring until Obama is gone.” The reaction was a firestorm of calls and responses on the company’s website, according to local news reports. The owner reportedly said he can’t afford to hire anyone because of the economy. But he didn’t forget a key rule of smart marketing – don’t cut your marketing activities in a down economy. He used cost-effective vehicle signage to deliver his message.

Vehicle signage works because it’s a traveling billboard. You’re not paying for a single location, but many locations. You can move the vehicle to high traffic areas so that there is rarely down time for your message. It can be targeted to Harford County, yet broad-based to those potential customers outside your target, in and around Baltimore. Vehicle signage should be bright and bold, with a brief message that gives readers a call to action. Similar to billboard advertising, your space is limited and your reading time is brief for passersby. Vehicle graphics, car wraps and fleet lettering are among the tools available for vehicle signage. Visit our vehicle graphics page to learn more about making the most of this signage strategy in a difficult economy.

Exhibit Your Image

Friday, November 25, 2011

As the end of the calendar year looms, you are no doubt looking at plans and budgets for next year. If you do even one trade show or exhibit during the year, consider the image you portray there.

Is it a table with brochures and a candy jar? Hopefully not. Your image at a show is what people will remember. So make your trade show exhibit signage eye-catching and on point with your key messages.

Prominently feature your logo at least once within your space. It should be at or above the visitor’s eye level. Draw your customer in with visually appealing signage that is easy to read. Snappy graphics and digital quality photographs are a must.  

The exhibit can be portable with graphics on a foldable board, or it can be much more elaborate and feature digital signage that customizes your message for each show you attend. Regardless of the size or media, you can make a good impression within a reasonable budget. Make sure whatever you choose will look clean and consistent every time, no matter who sets it up. Use your exhibit signage to communicate your pride as a business owner and your image will be remembered.  


Signs of Good Cheer

Friday, November 18, 2011

You can prepare your business for the holidays with plenty of inventory, great specials and seasonal decorations... but your communication is the key to success. From your outdoor sign to your employees, you can spread good cheer with a little attention to detail. Here are a few ideas:

  • Spruce up your outdoor and window signage with a good cleaning or paint touch-up to make it sparkle. If you feel you must add seasonal decoration to it, keep it simple. A sprig of pine or some plain white lights will send the message that you’re in the spirit, but won’t detract from your image.
  • Inside, make your store or office a haven from other harried environments. Think about the little nuances that would make your guests feel relaxed – whether it’s a tray of cookies and hot chocolate as they browse, or added sales help to make their visit more efficient. Communicate these amenities both with a personal greeting and clear, eye-catching signage.
  • Double-check all indoor signs to be sure the offers or instructions are clear. This will minimize confusion for both guests and employees, and speed up service.
  • Have employees check any “Bah, humbug” attitudes at the door. A smile begets a smile, and you want your visitors to leave your establishment feeling cheerful. After all, the message your employees send to customers is just as important as the messaging on your signs!

Ho, Ho, Ho-liday!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The holiday season is upon us. The crowds are gathering, and signs are screaming “Bargains!”

Is your signage ready? If not, don’t feel like you’ve missed the sleigh ride. You still have options and a little time. Some attractive lawn signs will work wonders to draw customers into your store. Simple point-of-purchase signs will also communicate your messages clearly. Both can be done quickly, easily and at a reasonable price.    

Of course, if you have a digital sign, you’re living the holiday sign dream. This is the most cost-efficient, updatable medium of communication, and holiday time is the time to cash in on these benefits. You can change the signage with the change of specials, inventory, new offers, and more. As we mentioned in our last blog post, the flexibility and technology really bring you the ROI. Whether you sell toys, show tickets or Santa photos, with some easy-to-use software, your message is at your fingertips. And with that worry aside, you can spend more time spreading good cheer with satisfied customers.

The Digital Signage Circle

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

This is the time of year that forecasters predict market growth figures, and the digital signage industry is no different. While recent announcements have cited many different numbers, they all point to growth. ABI Research estimates the industry will more than triple in dollar volume - from $1.3 billion in 2010 to $4.5 billion by 2016. Intel predicted 10 million media players and 22 million digital signs by 2015.

Why such positive growth for such a high-ticket item?

It’s like a circle. The key reasons are flexibility, technology and ROI. Digital signage gives you flexible messages, the technology just continues to evolve to make it easier, and users are seeing a return on their investment because of the message flexibility.
If you’re a retailer, you’ve seen the impact already – either in your own store or at competitors’ locations. Corporate and transportation industries are also among the top areas to utilize digital signage. In Harford County, you can see it from sporting facilities and athletic clubs to banks, schools and churches. It is anticipated that the healthcare and hospitality sectors will become major players in the industry in the coming years. These industries see the circle of results from flexibility, technology and ROI and back again.

What's Your Sign?

Friday, November 04, 2011
Are you the Leo of your neighborhood? The Taurus of your industry? Reveal your Maryland business personality in your sign. Not your astrology sign, but your company signage.

Different types of signs can work together to communicate for you. From monument signs and channel letters to vinyl or digital signage, each can serve a purpose in your business. For example, choose a less expensive material for promotional events or one-time messages. Vinyl, posters or lawn signs are ideal. For image signs, like your store front, choose a material that will last and grab the attention of your customer. Monument signs are great solutions, as are lighted dimensional letters. Or, you can choose to use one type of sign for everything from name recognition to advertising. This would be a great opportunity for a digital sign, which offers both messaging flexibility and a very professional (and sturdy) presentation.  

Whatever your sign personality, work with a reputable sign manufacturer to get the most from your signage. The company should have expertise in sign materials, and be able to show you samples of each. You should also look at finished products for other clients before committing to a material. The sign company should also be able to make a sound recommendation to meet your goals.

Make your sign company part of your team, and watch your business personality become clear.  

When It Comes to Outdoor Signs, Is Stainless Steel Just Stainless Steel?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Often you hear people refer to something being made out of stainless steel and it did not hold up or continue to look bright and shiny like they thought it should. There can be a number of reasons for this but 99% of the time it comes down to 2 things:

  1. Material Selection
  2. Contamination

(Sign) Material Selection:

There are numerous alloys that are considered stainless steels. The three basic classes are austenitic, ferritic and martensitic. The most common (most of what people see) are the austenitic stainless steels. These have for the main alloy components chromium and nickel. These are the nice bright stainless items you see like food tanks, tankers and process tanks for dairy and other food products. There are many grades but some of the characteristics we are familiar with are the shiny surface, non-magnetic and resistance to most daily corrosive environments. The austenitic steels have a minimum of 10.5% chromium which results in chromium oxides forming on the surface that creates the protective surface on the metal.

Contamination (of sign metals):

In an earlier post about appropriate sign materials we spoke about sign fasteners and how they had an impact on your sign. The same can be said about stainless steel. When people have said they saw a nice shiny stainless item that had rust on it, it is most often caused by the surface being contaminated by iron. A standard steel fastener or fitting is placed in against or has rubbed against the stainless surface and contaminated the oxide surface that protects the stainless with iron. This can be remedied by mechanically scrubbing the surface with stainless wire wheels or wool, and then passivating the surface with a solution of 10% nitric acid.

So now the real question: How does this relate to signs?

When you deal with dimensional letters they can go just about anywhere. If you are dealing with a location that is close to ocean, or has a large amount of industrial pollution, these factor can impact your choices of materials.

Let's consider being around the ocean. The salt air that we all enjoy contains large quantities of chlorides. These can have negative effects on materials like aluminum, especially if there are residual stresses in the sign from forming. So we would suggest stainless steel letters instead. But in most cases dimensional letters are formed into shape and then welded. This also can cause issues down the road in a salt rich environment. This is where material choices are nice within the stainless family. We have available letters and signs that are fabricated from 316 stainless as well as 304 stainless. In most cases 304 is a great choice but when it comes to a high chlorides (salt) environment, the additional alloying elements in 316 will keep your sign looking better longer than standard 304 stainless. There is a premium you pay for the addition of molybdenum (moly) in 316 as well as the availability, because 304 is much more common. But in the long run, it is "Pay me now or Pay me later" when it comes to these choices.
At Blue Water we know that the choice of sign materials can add lasting value to a sign installation. Making the right material choices early in your decision process can create a favorable impression with customers longer into the future.

Five Tips to Consider When Moving to Digital Signage

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

large programmable digital sign If you’re a small business in Harford County, you’ve seen the digital signs popping up all over the community.  Perhaps you’ve wondered how you can make this technology work for you. Here are five tips to consider if you’re yearning for digital:

  • Know the three key components – hardware, software and content. Figure out your budget and then explore your options. Unless you’re an expert in any one of these areas, look for companies that offer the complete package.
  • Don’t let the hardware scare you. Digital signage comes in all shapes and sizes. Be sure you are happy with the picture quality. There are many choices in pixel spacing which will impact the resolution of the sign. Your customers’ viewing distance and the type of message you choose will play a big part in determining the best resolution for your needs.     
  • Digital software packages should be easy to use, customize and update. They should be intuitive and allow flexibility in formatting and messaging.
  • Make sure you are committed to updating content regularly. Whether you get it from an outside source or create it yourself, you’ll need to give your audience a reason to look at the signage over and over again.
  • Plan for a sign maintenance package that will replace any burned out LEDs immediately and keep your sign in good working order.  

Most importantly, whether you are looking for medical signs, church signs or legal signs, be sure your signage, digital or otherwise, reflects your company’s image and goals.


Sign of the Times

Thursday, October 13, 2011
Effective October 1, 2011 a Maryland state law took effect that levies a fine to people who have illegal signage in right–of-ways. These include commercial lawn signs, and owners will be fined $25 for putting an illegal sign in a state right-of-way or median. Permits are required to place signs there. Harford County will be implementing a volunteer program to remove signs already in place illegally.  

So, if lawn signs are part of your advertising plan, make sure getting the right sign permit is part of that plan as well. Don’t waste time and effort on a great sign that is just going to be taken down and is unlikely to be returned. As we noted in last month’s post about lawn signs, they can serve a great purpose. But as in real estate, the key is location, location, location! Be strategic. You don’t want your sign among 20 others in the median strip. You’re trying to break through the clutter, not be part of it.

Create signs that are slightly larger and use colorful, high-impact corrugated plastic to stand out wherever they are posted. Use your own business’s lawn or the lawns of clients who will allow a sign posting. These locations are much more valuable to you and they will help you maintain your sign’s value, too.

Before placing any signs in a public right-of-way, be sure to check the laws in your own state and/or county.


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