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Harford County Signs and Banners Blog

It’s Spring and the Cruisin’ is Easy

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

As more people come out of their homes and businesses to greet the warmer weather and sunshine, car wraps are a great opportunity for both getting attention and communicating messages.  Car cruises traditionally feature souped up vehicles, refurbished older models, and “hot cars.”  You can get your car noticed with creative, eye-catching wraps.  Not only does the wrap protect the car’s paint, but it updates it to be a fun set of wheels that is truly not your father’s Oldsmobile (or family mini-van as is more likely today).  Aurora Graphics, a leading vehicle wrap company, offers over 16 patterns of camouflage, and anything from patriotic to wild flower scenes.  Get something that reflects your personality.  Be sure to have a professional sign manufacturer do the installation of the wrap for more accurate placement and better results.  While this is not for the faint of heart or wallet – a typical wrap costs about $2,000 – it will keep your car looking newer longer -- it has about a four-year life span.

Plus, if you have a small business, there’s no better time than cruisin’ time, to try mobile advertising.  That $2,000 will go far in advertising ROI.  According to 3M, a manufacturer of materials for vehicle wraps, a little more expensive wrap – at $3,500 -- is worth $130,000 in advertising.  The Transportation Advertising Council estimates that a vehicle wrap generates 30-70,000 impressions per day.  And lest we wonder if anyone will remember seeing this vehicle wrap – the Transportation Advertising Council says mobile ad messages have a 97 percent recall rate.  Ask your signage professional for help in creating graphics and photos that appear seamless on your vehicle.

You can hardly go wrong with a vehicle wrap – whether it’s to protect your paint job or capture attention – it’s cruisin’ season!

Protect and Proclaim with Awnings

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Have you ever considered the practical side of awnings?  They serve several purposes and can really make a difference for your business.  First, an awning can protect the front of your building from the elements.  It will cushion the blow of driving rain or sleet and provide shade from the intense Maryland summer sun.  It will also help keep the inside of your building a little cooler by providing shade.  An awning also protects you by preventing wet, slippery floors in your entrance way that can be dangerous for customers.  The awning gives that necessary transition between the outside weather and the inside business.

An awning can also proclaim your business to customers.  A brightly colored or specially designed awning adds curb appeal to your entry way, dressing up an otherwise stark frontage.  Use it to give your business a personality and an identity.  Add graphics or lettering to identify yourself, giving customers an easy way to find you on the street or in the shopping center.  

Before adding graphics, have your signage professional check to be sure your awning is in good condition.  If not, your professional sign installer can advise you on the right material and its wearability, and if necessary, use your existing awning frame to rewrap new material.  Blue Water Signs works with awning specialists like Hoffman Awnings to get the best fabrics and installations that will withstand the weather and general wear and tear.  Together, we can recommend the most practical and functional awning for your needs and help you create meaningful signage.  The return on your investment will be measurable in aesthetics and customer attraction.

Trend-Setting Signs

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Spring fashions are already at retail, and there’s lots of color.  The Pantone Fashion Color Report for 2013 reports a “balancing act” between dynamic bright colors and neutrals.  Fashionistas want a balance between being classic and being able to express their individuality.  The result is a list of colors with names like Dusk Blue, Grayed Jade, Tender Shoots and Poppy Red.  The Color Report says greens will be big this Spring.  But should you consider using green or something called “Tender Shoots” on your signage?

While fashion is a sign of the times, signs do not have to be in fashionable colors.  They need to be readable.  Following color trends is fine if you’re a fashion retailer.  But if you’re doing vehicle wraps, on-premise signage or trade show banners, you want to look at what people see the best, not what color matches their spring rain coat.  Trendy colors can often be difficult to read when applied to graphic lettering.  The U.S. Sign Council provides a list of the most readable, visible colors for signs, and we didn’t see Grayed Jade or Dusk Blue on it.

For good color visibility, signs should use contrasting colors for the background vs. the foreground lettering.  Combinations like black on yellow, green, red, blue or black on white, brown on yellow or white on red are easy to read.  They are combinations that “pop” off the sign and make you read the message.  Choosing a color combination for your signs should incorporate your company colors.  The text should be some variation of your logo color, provided it is among the typeface colors that are readable and sharp.  If it’s not, consider using black or reverse white on a colored background to prevent introducing too many colors and to make your message very readable.  

Since you’re likely not going to be changing your sign every time the fashions change, choose something that is classic, not trendy.  Set the trend of having a sign that works for you. 

Make It A Banner Year

Friday, January 11, 2013

Whether you’re thinking about indoor or outdoor signage this year, don’t discount the value of banners.  They are a great way to make a statement, and their flexibility is endless.  They are portable, reusable and attractive.  If you need portable signage, new materials make banners lightweight and easy to ship or carry.  Banners are also cost-effective due to their reuse factor.  Done properly, a banner identifies your company name, logo and contact information and can be used to maintain your image again and again.

One of this year’s trends promises to be fabric banners.  The material makes the banner flexible enough to wrap around corners or fold easily, yet the banners are sturdy enough to withstand outdoor weather.  Outdoor banners can be lit from the front or back, and with the new translucent fabrics, lighting special effects are possible with just a little experimentation.  Indoors, lighting can also make the banner look more effective.  Your Harford County sign professional can give you tips on lighting as well as recommend the best type of fabric for the printing process.

Select a short message and your company name and logo, rather than a text-heavy banner that readers have to strain to read.  Graphic designers at your professional sign manufacturer are trained to create succinct, eye-catching messages.  In addition, they will work both with your business color palette and the color palettes at the banner location.  For outdoor banners, coordinate the color palette with the season.  Indoors, coordinate with the décor.  

Banners can be flexible, cost-effective and contemporary for your signage needs.  Contact a Harford County signage professional today.

Making Signs Work for the Holidays

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

If you’re in the retail business, these weeks leading to the holidays are crucial for sales and profitability.   You can and should use signage to drive sales, but have a plan in mind.  Some tips:

  • Communicate your holiday specials or sales using bold, colorful signage that stands out from your normal signs.  Use outdoor banners, easel-type signs or point-of-purchase signs that all have a uniform look.  Your Maryland sign company can give you some ideas on holiday-themed signs.
  • Communicate sales both outside the store and inside.  Whether it’s a banner, a lighted sign or a flag, use something to get customers to take notice and enter the store.
  • If your holiday specials will be changing throughout the season, select a signage material that can also be easily changed – both from a logistics standpoint and a cost standpoint.  Consider adhesive signs or posters, or even starbursts that attach to existing signage.  This is where digital signage can really show a return on investment.  It is flexible and eye-catching, and customers readily look to it for updates, because they recognize that the technology allows for real time changes.
  • If you have small items that can be last-minute buying decisions while customers are waiting in line, label them clearly with a holiday sale sign that includes price and a call-to-action, like “Try this for a last-minute gift!”
  • If you’re supporting a local charity this season, have special signage.  Eligible merchandise should be tagged with the information, signs should call attention to it, and employees should be versed in answering questions.  In fact, they should wear buttons promoting the sale or charity that maintain the same graphic design as the floor signage.  

The more you communicate with signs, the smoother your holidays will be.

Large Format Digital Printing – What’s the Big Deal?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Large format digital printing is becoming more popular not only for large banners or signage, but for other interesting uses.  We’re beginning to see proofs done on a large format printer – they are easier to see and envision the final product.  Anything from retail signage and trade show banners to vehicle wraps can be done on a large format printer.  The digital imaging offers outstanding detail on both graphics and lettering.  Using a four-color process the printer gives the finished product clear, crisp colors that are created from four key colors: cyan, magenta, yellow and black.  The ink system is critical in large format printing.  (Note: Ask your Harford County sign expert what kind of substrate in the class of sign you need will perform best with regard to exposure to the elements and the sun while using today’s high performance inks.  Frequently it is better not to change inks, but to change the ink profile to work best with your particular sign material.)

The big deal about large format digital printing is that it is now reaching many more industries and customers than ever before.  It’s a great process for the technical, production and prepress markets.  Technical documents like architectural drawings and construction documents are ideal on a large format printer.  Signage like school banners and sports banners are obviously a big market for this technology, as are prepress, photography and fine art printing.  Most of the printers today are high-quality.  What really matters is the additional services offered by the signage manufacturer you choose.  From the initial quote and recommendation right through to the delivery of the final product, service counts.  The company that can provide the graphic design services, an installer and an expert in materials will make your job their biggest deal. 

Don’t Make This Top List

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

When you create your sign, you typically proofread it and check for typos or misspellings.  You also probably test out your tag lines on others or read them over to be sure they make sense and do not have double meanings or the potential to be misconstrued as something else.  If you don’t do this, your professional sign manufacturer should be doing it.  That’s part of what you pay them to do.  

But there are always those funny or odd signs that are obviously not proofread or reviewed until it’s too late.  Of course, Maryland sign makers would never do such a thing, and you would never see these signs in the Baltimore area.  They are from around the world and they will make you chuckle.  Try not to get your sign on this list!

funny signs - misspellings

Other examples include:

Outside the pawn shop:  “Don’t Let Money Worries Kill You…Let the Pawn Shop Help!

In a neighborhood with children:  “Children, Please Drive With Care.”

On a sign outside an elementary school:  “Rember to Read a Book.”  

In a diner window:  “Coffee Cheaper than Gas.. Drink, don’t Drive”

On a bin of vegetables at a farm market:  “Please ask for assistants.”

On a road sign:  “Do Not Pass When Opposing Traffic is Present”

Outside a retailer:  “One Day Sale – Friday and Saturday”

In a restaurant window:  “Senior Citizens, Buy 1 Get 1 FREE”

Property sign:  “No Trespassing.  Private Property.  Authorized Personal Only”

Sign Design

Friday, August 24, 2012

Whether you’re looking for signage for Maryland trade show displays, Maryland boat wraps or any type of custom signs in Maryland, keep in mind the importance of design. It’s easy to think that you can design your own sign. Come up with the message, choose a font, a color and a signage type, and you’re set to go, right? Who needs a designer?

You do! Professional graphics designers are important in the process of creating your signage. Your signs are part of your overall company image. They are prominently displayed and give your business a personality. If you’re signs aren’t doing this, they should be – that’s where graphic design comes into play. The placement of your logo, the complimentary colors, and even the type of ink used on your sign can all make a difference.

Professional graphics designers are trained to make sure your signs have the highest possible impact.  When selecting a sign company, ask about graphic design. The designer should meet with you and help you to create or reinforce your brand through your signs. If you don’t have a logo, the designer can create one. If you already have one, the designer should be able to recommend the best types of signage that will translate your logo effectively.  For example, some logos would not translate well to a 3-D sign or a channel letter sign, but might be better suited for an etched sign. The graphics designer will make clear suggestions for you to consider. He or she will also follow the signage creation process through to the finish, making sure the images are sharp and clean, that the printing is done properly and the design balanced.   

Make sign design a priority. Make sure your sign company offers this service…when people respond to your sign, you’ll be glad you did!


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