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Harford County Signs and Banners Blog

Digital Signage Design -- From Architecture to Picture

Monday, June 10, 2013

digital signWe already know that digital signage can streamline operations through kiosks, provide a big impact with on-site advertising and create a brand with the right promotional content.  But integrating it into your building or floor plan design can be a challenge.  There are many ways to do this, and your signage professional can help to determine the most cost-effective and aesthetically pleasing solutions. 

If your business is building or remodeling, plan for digital signage displays from the blueprint stage.  Digital displays can become part of the architecture of the building, making a statement for your business both in design and information.  Video walls are high-impact visuals, communicating a high-tech atmosphere.  Built-in cabinetry or wall units also seamlessly integrate the system and provide easy access to components and wiring. 

Most digital signage customers are not rebuilding or remodeling, however.   Despite the daunting task of retrofitting, strategically placed displays can make or break your digital signage efforts.  Today’s wireless technology allows some flexibility so that the cords are kept to a minimum, but be sure the components and connections are accessible.  Rather than place a display in an unlikely location on a pedestal or credenza, consider blending it into the design of the showroom as a work of art.  Choose thin, lightweight displays that can be hung on the wall, becoming part of the décor.   The active video content will catch the customers’ attention, and have them marveling at the design.   If your digital signage is meant to be interactive, make the kiosk accessible to customers.  The touch-panel can be cleverly integrated, yet obviously usable.  Ask your signage professional for tips that will make the interactive display less intimidating.  

Signage Critical To Sales

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The “What’s Your Sign Survey,” conducted by FedEx Office, confirmed the connection between attractive, visible signs and positive customer decisions.* Some specific results:

  • 76 percent of the 1,000 respondents have entered a store because they found the signage attractive. 75 percent of those people will also tell someone else about the business, and 68 percent will purchase something from that business.
  • 42 percent of women respondents said they would enter a store they had never visited before if they liked its signage.
  • 68 percent of respondents thought a store’s signage reflected the quality of the merchandise or service.
  • 90 percent of respondents would try a company’s products if the sign was easy to read.

In a nutshell, signage should be attention-getting, easy to read and high quality. That doesn’t necessarily equate to high priced. A good sign manufacturer can give you high-quality signs at a price that will fit your budget. Only you can determine the image you want to portray in the signage, but your professional signage manufacturer can advise you on how to keep it clean and readable – from colors to font size. The FedEx Office survey also noted that the most important things consumers look for on a sign are business name, type of business, logo and tagline, in that order. We would add contact information, like phone number and website, to that list. Oh, and always… a “welcome” sign.

DIY with DSKs (Do It Yourself With Digital Signage Kiosks)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

While digital signage heats up throughout various marketplaces, digital signage kiosks are also popping up in surprising – yet sensible locations.  The customer do-it-yourself idea is growing, and the prevalence of tablets and mobile devices is changing the consumer’s mindset.  Digital signage kiosks are making airport ticketing and check-in more streamlined, restaurants are experimenting with self-service kiosks, and the health care industry also implemented kiosks widely last year.  According to representatives of the Kiosk Industry Group, tablet devices will become more prevalent in retail kiosks.    They will be used for retail transactions, self-checkout and information stations. 

Good digital signage kiosks at retail can give the customer that needed little “push” to purchase – whether it’s through software that gives more lifestyle-oriented examples or simply providing factual information about product features.  Retailers can also use kiosks to help limit “showrooming”—the practice of visiting a retail store to see a product and get a demonstration, then buying it online.   According to Retail Customer, the National Retail Hardware Association reported that digital signage kiosks can be instrumental in converting “showrooming” into sales at the retail location.  A display that engages the customer and gives them the reason to buy it “right now” is usually successful.

If you’re considering digital signage kiosks for your business or retail showroom, research your marketplace’s success with digital signage to date.  Don’t try to DIY.  Talk to a professional sign manufacturer to generate ideas on how to incorporate a digital signage kiosk into your retail floor plan and get a return on your investment.  A digital signage kiosk can make you an innovator in your field.  

The Big Banner Theory

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Custom banners for outside events and outside advertising usually make an appearance during the spring and summer.  While these banners can announce a Little League team, say congratulations to a graduate, or advertise a local event, they are more cost-effective and results-oriented when they are well thought-out signs designed to fit a specific environment.  They are meant to grab someone’s attention.  They are meant to stop you in your tracks. 

We recently did a 13 foot by 55 foot banner for a local golf course.  It is a vinyl banner that hangs on the side of a barn, and it has drawn the attention of many passers by asking the question, “who painted that ad on the side of the barn?”  The banner background matches the color of the barn and the graphics are such that the whole thing looks painted on the barn.  This was a strategic move on the golf course’s part, and it has been successful in grabbing people’s attention.   

Not only are these big banners attention getters, they will also last for quite a long time.  They are durable and movable, so you can put them up and take them down for the appropriate seasons.  Many of them will last well over a year, making the investment is worth it.   The giant signs drive business by themselves.  They will likely pay for themselves in less than a year.  Now that’s big.

Out and About

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Spring has sprung in Maryland and summer is right on its heels.  Outdoor signage is more visible than ever at this time of year, especially vehicle signage.  A 2010 Arbitron in-car study estimated that people spend up to 20 hours a week in their cars.  This gives them ample opportunity to see signage – on stationary billboards and moving billboards – that is, vehicles.  Not only do vehicle signs provide more impressions to people driving or riding in their cars and trucks, but also to people who are on city sidewalks, streets and storefronts.  As more people venture outside, the audience for vehicle signage increases.

If you have a vehicle wrap, a magnetic sign, or even a roof sign on your vehicle, consider ways it can be more visible.  Park the vehicle strategically on a busy street or in a busy parking lot that can be seen from passersby.  Find outdoor festivals, sporting events or concerts that will draw a crowd, then park the vehicle where it can be easily seen.  Because vehicles are constantly moving, the signage is constantly reaching new eyes and providing new impressions.   Signage on trucks and buses provides a high return on impressions and favorable consumer opinions.  According to the Arbitron study, about 91 percent of people notice advertising on trucks and 75 percent of them get a favorable impression with truck-side advertising.   In today’s mobile society, many of these people are able to access a company’s website on their Smart Phone, and they are making buying decisions based on signage they see on the road.  So get your vehicle out and about, and talk to your professional signage manufacturer about how your vehicle can make a good impression.

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!

Outdoor Digital Signage Gives a Community Feeling

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Investing in outdoor digital signage for your company is not only a good business move from an advertising and promotion standpoint, it’s also a good way to become a part of the fabric of the community.  Digital signage gives you the opportunity to advertise special deals, offer products with special sales or showcase new bargains that are constantly changing.  The flexibility and nature of digital signage makes it easy to change the message either daily or throughout the day.  Your sign professional can work with you to provide the most flexible digital signage hardware and software for your individual needs.

In addition to the obvious promotional opportunities, digital signage can also help you to develop a relationship with your local community.  By using the display for more than just pricing or advertising, you give people a reason to look for the sign every day.  Daily greetings and messages along with the temperature, weather forecast, or information about town activities are all nuggets of valuable information for local residents.  One small business owner in the Midwest used his digital signage software to store everyone’s birthday in town and the sign displayed it on their special day.  He also used timely greetings like, “Happy Mother’s Day,” and “Happy Valentine’s Day.”  If that didn’t make him an integral part of that small town community, then nothing ever will.  People will begin to identify with the sign, and before you know it, your business is a household word.

Digital signage will pay for itself tenfold in customer loyalty and word of mouth when people feel someone is paying attention to them. 

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.

ADA Signage – More Advantages Than You Think

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

ADA signage – it’s required and it’s important.  If you’re inclined to simply meet the minimum requirements, you should rethink your strategy.  First, ADA signage is more permanent than most of your other signage.  The signage is a necessity and the standards are certainly not going to be relaxed.  

Consider that ADA signage also serves as directional signage in your building.  Ask yourself where you want customers to go when they enter your building?  How do you help them find what they are looking for?  If you have a frustrated customer coming in the door because they couldn’t find their way due to poor signage, you’re already off on the wrong foot.  The frustrated customer will make it difficult on your staff and it will reflect poorly on your business.  On the other hand, well-done signage of any type will make your customers happy – subliminally or not.  In turn, they will be more pleasant when they reach your sales floor.  Happy customers are more likely to buy.  

Your sign professional can help you to be sure you are in compliance with ADA requirements, and at the same time recommend the best signage for you.  You may be surprised at the flexibility available for the design.  It can blend with your décor and make an elegant statement.  As long as the typeface size, readability and materials comply with the ADA guidelines, you can have impactful signage that serves your purposes along with the ADA’s.  Contact your custom sign manufacturer to learn how.

Outdoor Signage – Make It Digital

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The outdoor signage market covers a variety of media that your custom sign professional has the capability of handling.  Billboards, transit, street furniture and alternative media are the primary categories of outdoor signage, with billboards making up the lion’s share at 65 percent of the revenue, according to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America.  That share may be growing even more as dynamic digital signage continues to gain in popularity.  Billboard advertising remains one of the most cost-effective forms of advertising at an average of $2.18 CPM (cost per 1000 impressions) for all forms of billboard ads.  It is second only to vehicle wraps, estimated at $0.80-$1.30 CPM.  According to a recent study by the OAAA, the CPM of a 30-second prime time spot is $17.78, a one-third page black and white ad in a top 100 newspaper market is $22.95 CPM, and a four-color, one-page ad in a magazine is $9.35 CPM. 

If your business is serious about outdoor signage and you want more than just the sign that identifies your company name, then digital signage may be for you.  More digital signage is being turned on every day in Harford County, because business owners are realizing that the investment will pay for itself in a matter of a few years.  

An upcoming digital signage seminar at the OAAA convention promises to focus on the key elements -- hardware, software, connectivity, content, operation, design.  We can already summarize, but look forward to the details:  Invest in good hardware that will showcase your graphics in beautiful color and clarity.  Explore intuitive software that’s easy to use.  Make sure you’re connected to a high-speed network.  Get creative with your content, but keep it simple.  Know how to operate the system, and make sure your signage professional recommends a good design.  In short, invest and let the messaging do the rest. 

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