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Harford County Signs and Banners Blog

Wall Spiders New Super Heroes of Signage

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Like Spiderman, wall spiders are nimble and flexible, scaling your wall with the greatest of ease. You’ve seen these custom signs in Maryland -- they may be life-sized graphics or photos, or curvy lettering snaking around corners. They are versatile and easy to manage. The newest materials allow them to be used to decorate just about any surface in your home or office. They even work on cars - and are great for trade show signage


life-size wall graphic (wall spider)So, if you have an idea for a larger-than-life, realistic-looking image, explore the newest materials and graphics available for wall spiders. From enlarged photos for life-sized images of sports figures, action heroes and animals to creative graphics that beg to be admired, wall spiders give you the flexibility and versatility you need for just about any surface. The fabric-like material can be used on uneven surfaces, and it can be maneuvered easily. It can be wrapped around corners and poles or under doors and window sills. 

Baltimore sign companies like Blue Water Signs are using Photo Tex wall spiders, because they feature a flexible material that feels like fabric, with a peel and stick backing. The special adhesive allows it to be removed easily and reused, no matter how long it’s been in place, and it doesn’t leave a sticky residue on surfaces. It doesn’t rip or wrinkle, making large wall spiders easier to apply as one complete sheet.

company wall graphics - wall spiders by Blue Water Signs in MarylandOutdoors, wall spiders themselves are virtually weather-proof. Ask your custom sign company about the ink source, which can affect the longevity of the product. Liquid lamination may also be recommended for certain solvent inks. The Photo Tex material doesn’t shrink or curl in extreme temperature changes, so your Maryland outdoor signage made from Photo Tex can take you through at least a year or two of local weather changes. Then, when the next sports figure or action hero breaks through, you can change your graphics, too! 


Digital Signage Continues Advancement

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Digital signage is still a great investment – it potentially pays for itself in a short time period.  It has the flexibility of regularly changing messages and projecting a high-tech image.  We’re seeing success of custom business signs throughout Harford County at banks, fitness clubs, theaters and retailers.  The recent Infocomm Show in Las Vegas, where hardware and software manufacturers showcase their latest innovations, had a full pavilion of digital signage introductions.  They ranged from all-in-one solutions with a simple display screen and media player to complex systems that feature stacked displays and multiple players.  Driving multiple screens with independent video from a single media player was also a running theme, making digital signage more accessible for the less technical user. 

According to Digital Signage Today, some notable innovations included new tile screens, transparent screens, and various shaped screens.  While most displays were rectangular or square, one company showed screens in hexagon and polygon shapes that can be used on a flat, concave or convex wall.  There were displays that deflected ambient light -- addressing the challenges of having video in a window display -- and screens that were specifically made for outdoor, all-weather use with enclosures.  

Some manufacturers showed digital signage with gesture interaction, where users could select items that moved with them or moved to a new location on the screen.  These are technologies that will be the future of retail signage.  

All of these innovations prove that digital signage is here to stay.  It will continue to provide choices from simple to complex, and it will push the boundaries of creativity in a digital world.  Watch as they become more popular in Maryland and Harford County businesses.


Banner Up!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Summer is a great time to gear up for fall and winter activities like trade shows and sponsorships. If you have these plans on your calendar, now is the time to get your signage in order – or on order. Get out the trade show banners or outdoor banners that you used in years past and examine them closely. Are they clean? Are the colors bright? Does the lettering “pop?” Is the vinyl still sturdy? Is the message current?   

Vinyl banners can be cleaned easily and safely with a mild soap and water solution or as directed by the manufacturer. If the colors are faded or the material is weakening, you probably need to consider new signage. If the message is no longer current, then you definitely need a new banner. You have plenty of time to have it made for fall events – that’s why you checked your calendar and your stock so early!  

Depending on the complexity and artwork, a vinyl banner can be completed in anywhere from one to three weeks’ time. Your Harford County sign specialist can guide you in creating a banner that is best for your needs, whether it’s a school banner, church banner, trade show banner or sports banner. Vinyl banners can be custom sized to fit the front of a table, the back of a trade show booth, or the expanse of a fence. 

Your signage professional should recommend the best grade material for your purposes, so that the sign is durable and long-lasting. Based on the type of background, you’ll choose the colors and lettering style that will have the greatest impact. Remember to supply your logo or brand image for the sign. Make sure you understand how to store and hang the banner when the time comes. Your trade show signage and event signage can be ready for fall and winter with a little advance planning and a little professional signage help.

Meaningful Menu Signage

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Do you ever find your head spinning while trying to read a busy menu board in a restaurant?  Or, do you have trouble focusing on the sign content listing the numerous spa menu services in your local salon?    

If you have any type of business that requires a signage menu listing, focus on readability and meaning.  For readability, typeface size, spacing and color are important.  The typeface should be big enough to be seen easily without straining for people with average eyesight.   The spacing between line items should be at least 1.5 spaces or more – single spaced is very difficult to read from afar.   Choose colored typeface carefully – if it doesn’t relate to the product or services, stick with black or a dark type color on a light background, or a reverse white on a dark background.  The stark contrasting colors will make the sign easier to read.  

If you are going to list pricing per item, use a chart format or ellipsis to make a visual connection from the item to the pricing.  Or, if several items in a category have the same price, group them together and list the price only once.  Not only will this save space, it will make the signage more readable.

One example of meaningful outdoor menu signage is a snowball stand sign with colors for each of the different flavors.  Banana is yellow, root beer is brown, grape is purple, etc.  This makes it easy for children to identify flavors and parents to order.  It’s effective when the choices are numerous.   If the choices change on an ongoing basis, or if there is a daily special, identify a specific area on the sign for these changes.  Make them look as graphically pleasing as the rest of the sign.  Magnetic lettering works well for this scenario.   

No matter whether the menu is indoor signage or outdoor signage, your Maryland sign professional can help you to make it meaningful, readable and memorable.

Marine Signage Specialty

Thursday, August 09, 2012

The waters are indeed blue in the Maryland boating community. The National Marine Manufacturers Association says the outdoor recreation industry had $646 billion in national sales and services in 2011. Specifically, boating has a $72 billion annual economic impact, with 83 million Americans participating in boating activities. In Maryland, there were 199,087 registered recreational boats in 2008, the latest available data through the NMMA. Maryland also has an estimated 270 marinas, clubs and storage facilities for boats.

From power boats to sail boats, each boat and owner has its own personality. These can be expressed through the name, the paint and the graphics on the boat. Today’s signage technologies provide lots of options for lettering, so you can express yourself through design. In addition, vinyl lettering with strong adhesive can give you a “painted” look but it will help you overcome the waiting time to get the boat back in the water at the Baltimore area marinas –most lettering can be applied and completed within a few days. The lettering stands up to the harsh elements of the water, and can give you a custom-designed look. The newest trend in lettering is reflective – it picks up the light and shimmers in the water.  

Boat wraps are becoming more popular in the Maryland area, as well. Boaters are using them to customize their boats and in some cases to advertise. An in-kind exchange of boat advertising for marina or docking fees is an innovative cost-saver. The newest materials for boat wraps make them easy to apply and their look customizes your boat almost as if it were a custom paint job. Successful boat wraps require the best adhesives, durable materials and a professional application process. Wraps should last several years without fading or peeling. They can be custom designed using the boat manufacturer’s specifications and measurements. The application process should then be carefully calculated using these measurements.   

Whatever your choice for marine graphics, put your best boat forward.



Golden Rules for School Signage

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

If you’re part of a committee or team for a new or remodeled school building, you’ve probably identified school signage as one more thing you’ll require as the project nears completion. Or, if your child’s school needs new signage, you’ll want to know the options before you propose it to the PTA or the school board.

Custom business signs such as monument signs or architectural graphic signs are good choices for schools. You must check your city or town ordinances regarding size restrictions prior to choosing a sign. Also, the signs must comply with the new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), having such characteristics as non-glare backgrounds and easy-to-read typefaces. Finally, the sign should reflect your school’s needs and school spirit – whether it’s a versatile sign with magnetic letters, or a digital sign that can change its message hourly.

Once you decide on the sign type and have it installed by a qualified Maryland sign professional, make sure your school keeps it clean through each season. Dirt and grime should be cleaned regularly, and you should check with your custom sign manufacturer about how to remove any possible graffiti. Also, if it is a sign whose message must be changed by hand, make sure there’s a plan in place to do that. Don’t let outdated messages remain on the sign – it’s wasted time and space that can be used for other messages. It’s also a poor reflection on the school. Keep the messages fresh, short and upbeat. Passersby will have only a few seconds to read the messages, even if the sign says, “Have a Great Summer.”

Banking on Digital Signage

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Digital signage is becoming more prevalent at many Harford County and Baltimore businesses, schools and churches. It is delivering content that could never before be so controlled and targeted to the right audience. The Small Business Association reports that an upgrade to outdoor digital signage can increase business up to 150 percent. The signage can pay for itself in less than a year, at that rate.

Some of the biggest proponents of digital signage, both indoors and outdoors, are banks and financial institutions. Think about the last time you were in the bank. You waited in line for the next available teller. Most likely, you watched a big screen monitor with some informative video on it, and it seemed to make your wait time go more quickly. If you looked around you, probably other people were watching it, too.

The very concept of digital signage is ideal for banks. Consumers are a captive audience. Digital signage is also readily updatable as an information source. This works for banks and other businesses -- as product pricing changes, it can be updated right on the signage. Interest rates, CD rates and finance information can update almost instantly. Outside, digital signage for banks also affords the opportunity to promote financial products, or promote community service events.

Look for digital signage to continue its upward growth pattern, and watch those Harford County businesses that have made the investment take their money right to the bank.

Will Advertise for Work... It Works!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A recent news story that appeared in a variety of print publications and on websites highlighted a clever Minneapolis man who used billboard signage to get a job. He simply used the words, “Hire Me!” with a phone number and his website. He landed a job and lots of media coverage. Not only did he get the response he needed to his ad, he proved the importance and workability of outdoor signs. He used an electronic billboard, so his message was seen for eight seconds at a time by passersby. It was succinct and purposeful.

Billboard signage is a great way to cost-effectively reach a transient audience in and around Harford County and the Baltimore area. Outdoor banners in general work the same way. You must keep your message short and to the point. Have a call-to-action, and an easy way to follow up. The Minneapolis man’s billboard sign did all three. The message was only two words. It implored people to take action, and the phone number and website were easy for follow up. Billboard signs must be read in less than five to seven seconds.

You should also choose the traffic area that has the eyeballs of your target audience. If you are targeting businesses, for example, the roads leading into Baltimore that are heavily traveled by working commuters is a great space to place a billboard sign. If you are targeting mothers of young children, consider neighborhood billboards or those near schools and daycare facilities. All of the same advertising strategies go into creating billboard signage, but the same money does not. Additionally, the return on investment is greater for outdoor signage. If this were outside, our message would be: Check Out Blue Water Signs. www.bwsigns.com

Moving Billboards

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Towels, water bottles, visors, umbrellas, chairs…it’s summertime, and people are out and about in Harford County with all their gear. Whether it’s to the pool, the beach, or the baseball game, they’re taking necessities that can become moving billboards for a fraction of the cost of most advertising. That’s right. Your company name or logo on a beach towel or water bottle is worth hundreds, if not thousands of impressions. In fact, a study from the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) concluded that 94 percent of the 1,000 respondents surveyed could recall a promotional product they received in the past two years. 89 percent could recall the advertiser of the product. The study also showed that compared to advertising on TV, print or on-line, promotional products delivered higher recall rates of the brand or product/service.

Create your own moving billboard with promotional products. Work with a Maryland custom sign company and choose an item that relates to your product or service. For example, if you sell ice cream, choose an ice cream scoop or a spoon with a logo. Or, if you are a bank, select a pen, a calculator, or checkbook cover. Magnets are also great promotional options, because they can be custom shaped, and used on cars, refrigerators, filing cabinets and more. Choose something that will get lots of exposure by being carried different places.

Next, determine your message. Use your logo, and add a tag line that will be both memorable and a quick read. Remember that your message will be visible to a new Harford County audience every day. It will also find its way to many of the same people. Promotional items are truly like little billboards, but they offer more. They deliver valuable customer impressions, as well as foster good will for your company.

Monumental Strides In Sign Design

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Commercial signage requires a strong, sturdy material that has a long life span. A monument sign is a good option for permanent outdoor signage, but so often the materials take a beating from the weather, the materials are difficult to match with other sign faces, and the brick and stone can take weeks to install, adding to the cost of labor. One manufacturer has mastered an exclusive design that is economical, long-lasting and easy to install – in hours rather than days. Peachtree City Foamcraft’s lightweight foam material is covered with Poly-Armor hard coat, which has proven durable and customizable for our Maryland sign clients.

The standard single-sided foam panel is about four inches thick, and it houses 3/8-inch raised letters. It is sprayed with a 100 percent acrylic finish. The letters can be painted any color. The technology used in the material allows it to expand and contract without cracking, rotting or delaminating as a result of weather or other factors. One Harford County church has tried the sign material with great success. The post and panel sign took less than an hour to install, and it continues to look like new despite already seeing the rain, wind, sleet and sun of Harford County weather.

Peachtree Foamcraft’s monument signs go through a rigorous testing program that is designed to meet current standards imposed by federal and state departments. The material also endures complete environmental testing, and has been certified to withstand winds of up to 180 mph. For more information on PolyArmor signs, visit www.foamcraft.info.


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