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Harford County Signs and Banners Blog

Revamp, Refurbish, Regenerate -- Trade Show Display Spruce Up

Friday, August 29, 2014

After a year or two of touring the trade show circuit, displays often sustain the look of a bedraggled traveler. Don’t notice this for the first time at your first fall trade show. Take your trade show display out of its container and set it up for a summertime inspection. Look for fading colors on the graphics, flapping or loose materials at the seams or edges of the backdrop, outdated graphics, text or tag lines, and rips or tears in the material itself. It may be time to consider a new alternative. If the graphics have been updated or tweaked, or if the messaging has changed in any way, do yourself a marketing favor and get an updated trade show display. It’s difficult to stand in front of an old display and explain that it is not reflective of the company’s current culture or product line. It’s easier to stand in front of a booth that has a “Wow!” factor and makes people want to stop and learn more.

WSI trade show booth 2014 by Blue Water SignsMaking your booth or table stop people in their tracks can have everything to do with signage. Make your signage bold and bright. It should be easy to read – whether it’s your logo and tag line or key message points for visitors to absorb, make it short and sweet. Signs should fit the environment. If it’s a major trade show with major brand names and you’re among them, make sure signs reflect your position in the marketplace. Don’t be the number one brand in the category with a tiny, non-communicative sign. Don’t be the little guy with the little sign, either. Be proud of your name and logo – make it an appropriate size, proportionately, to your presence at the show. Make sure your display, signage and messaging speaks to your trade show audience and tells them what you want them to do -- tour the booth, visit your website, make an appointment, or buy product. Have a call-to action. After the show, follow up with any leads or sales contacts, and remind them of what you may have discussed when you first met. Make your trade show booth and signage as easy as possible to put up and take down. You rarely have enough hands to do that, so request from your sign manufacturer a display that can be put up by one person.

Trade Show Signage – A Refresher

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

trade show signageStanding out from the crowd at a trade show often feels like an exercise in futility.  If nothing else, it’s a test of creativity and strategy.  If you’re attending a huge industry trade show, your signage often has to match – “screaming” to be heard amongst all the large, major vendors in the industry.  If the show is local and more subdued, you still need to stand out, but in a more subtle way. 

Trade show signage should be replaced every few years – not only to make it look and feel newer, but to freshen your company image and show your potential customers that you’re keeping up with the times.  New materials and printing processes have become more efficient and cost-effective, so that you can comfortably budget to refresh your booth or table top display.  Dye sublimation printing for trade show banners and panels is one of the hottest trends.  The process allows you to print photo-quality pictures on various flexible materials.  It vaporizes the colors so that the edges of the image are less conspicuous than those done by an inkjet printer.  Dye sublimation also is more fade-resistant and can be cleaned more easily. 

Fabric banners are more popular than ever before, and they are lighter and more easily assembled than panels or curved walls.   They make booth assembly and break-down easier.   

No matter what signage material you choose, put your best company image forward.  From the simplest table banner to the most sophisticated back-lit signage, you or your team should be able to unpack, position and secure your signage with ease, and feel refreshed in both design and message.

Exhibit Your Signs

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Trade show displays are one of the places we’re bombarded with signage.  Every angle and every corner has some type of sign – banners, neon, digital and more.  There are wrapped cars, flashing lights and sparkling words.  Trade show booth signage is shouting, “Look at ME!” 

To cut through the clutter, you can use trade show signage in both obvious and subtle ways.  First, work with a Maryland sign company to create a custom sign that identifies your booth.  Existing customers will recognize the sign and stop by.  The same custom signage can be eye-catching for new customers.  It can simply be your company name or logo in a tasteful sign material that portrays the personality of your company.  For example, if you are a high-tech company or have several messages to communicate, consider digital signage.  It has the flexibility of multiple messages as well as the impact of moving video.  If budget is not an obstacle, a video wall is high-impact and attention-getting.  

Choose trade show backdrops that are durable and clean-looking.  The “less is more” approach is a good one, because it will help you to cut through the clutter and be remembered.  Instead of customers trying to recall all of your products and services, you’ll be memorable for your simplicity.  Finally, a subtle way to get attention at a trade show is to give away items that can become walking billboards throughout the trade show.  Bags, visors or notepads emblazoned with your logo and website or phone number are great promotional items to consider and they can easily be obtained through your Maryland signage company.  They are valuable gifts for the recipient and for you. 

As the winter trade show season approaches, plan to cut through the clutter with signage that is valuable to you and your customer.

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. 

Promotional Personality

Thursday, August 30, 2012

eco-friendly grocery tote with company logoWhat’s your promotional personality? That is, what are your promotional items saying about your company? Promotional items are a great way to market not only your company’s name, but also its image. If you choose an item that relates to your key message, it makes the message that much stronger. So, for example, a reusable grocery tote says you are eco-friendly, helpful and practical. A reusable aluminum water bottle also says eco-friendly and “green.”  

If you choose items that are out-of-the-ordinary, it sends the message that your company is innovative and creative. Products like mint tins, mouse pads or sunglasses are all a little less boring than the traditional pen or refrigerator magnet. Unless you are a writer or an information company, try to be a bit more original. Consider your target audience and what they will use. If you’re a summertime or vacation-related business, select an appropriate item like sunglasses, visors or even flip-flops that leave an imprint of your logo in the sand!

Most importantly, choose quality promotional products. If the product looks or feels cheap, it will cheapen your company image. That doesn’t mean it can’t be inexpensive. Ask for samples of items before selecting, and determine the quality and longevity. While a promotional item isn’t meant to last forever, it is meant to be used and taken to high-visibility locations so people can see the logo. It should be sturdy enough to withstand this transportation. 

Promotional products come from all types of vendors. Maryland sign companies like BWS can provide high-quality promotional items and you can be sure the printing will be outstanding. The printing on the item should be positioned properly, have enough space for the message to be readable and be durable. Your custom sign manufacturer can also create your Maryland trade show displays, giving your company a unified, professional personality.    

“Connect” With High-Tech Promotional Items

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

With Fall trade show season and corporate meeting season approaching, the promotional item business will be heating up.  There’s still plenty of time to select a great item that reflects your company’s image along with your Maryland trade show display signage and keeps your name in front of thousands of prospects.  While pens, bags and Frisbees are all great handouts, consider the message you want to send.  

USB Flash Drive can be imprinted with company logoTechnology-related promotional items are becoming more affordable to use as promotional give-aways, and they certainly fit the lifestyle of most consumers.  Even if you are not a high-tech company, you can give items that “connect” you to your customers and keep them “connected.”  You can print a message like, “Stay connected with XYZ Company” on these items, or simply print your logo and have the implied message of connection through the item itself.  If you’re still scratching your head wondering how high-tech devices can become messengers for you, consider the following ideas that can be ordered and printed through your Maryland sign company:

  • USB flash drives – everyone uses them, they are small and inexpensive.  Many can be pre-loaded with information on your company.  Others can be personalized with printing or labeling.
  • Touch-screen Stylus and gel pens – this is a high-tech twist on a pen; it can be used with electronic devices or good, old fashioned paper.
  • Phone holders or chargers – these can be logo’d easily and are small, light-weight and a great accessory.
  • Computer screen brushes or keyboard brushes – simple, yet useful; while not a technology item itself, it’s connected to technology and shows that you’re connected.
  • Retractable Ethernet cords – printable and portable, these are great for travelers and also send the “connection” message.

If Blue Water Signs can help your company stay in the minds of potential clients with the help of any of these technology-related promotional products, please contact us today or visit our online promotional products store.

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.

Sign Me Up

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The ISA International Sign Expo 2012 is coming up at the end of March. While trade shows tend to be a bit tedious both for exhibitors and attendees, they do serve their purpose for various industries. We’ve talked about the value of signage at any trade show, but now here’s a show for the signage market itself. Imagine the signs there! This show has made a name for itself. Last year’s ISA International Sign Expo ranked fifth on Expo Magazine’s list of Top 25 Fast-Growth Shows. It was honored for attendance growth and innovative ways of showcasing exhibitors.

This year, the conventioneers from the Baltimore area and nationwide will converge on Orlando, FL. They’ll be seeing the latest signage advancements, from custom business signs and vinyl banners to digital signage. And you can be sure that every exhibitor will put its best sign forward. Visitors will meet new vendors and forge partnerships that will bring home great ideas for signs in Baltimore and Harford County. There will be new ways to create custom signs and banners.

But in the long run, all that technology and innovation comes down to one thing: value. Are we making a difference for our customers and providing the best value for their money in terms of usability, service and return on investment? Tedious or not, technology or not, can we bring the motivation and enthusiasm back from a trade show and invest it in becoming an invaluable resource for our customers?


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