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Harford County Signs and Banners Blog

Let the Wind Blow

Friday, September 12, 2014
If you’re using vinyl banners for outdoor signage this Fall, here are a few tips for both storing and hanging them so they are secure and stable even in windy or stormy weather.

First, start with the banner construction process.  Take into consideration the banner’s purpose, use and location.  Details like location will influence the material selection.  For example, indoor banners use light-weight scrim materials, but outdoor banners that may be subjected to the elements require a heavier, more durable material.  Web mesh can be added to the banner for additional strength.  Next, your signage professional will recommend ways to hang the banner and design it according to your needs.  Banners can be secured in a variety of ways, but many of the methods require a manufacturing process.  One way to secure vinyl banner is by using ropes sewn into the material for weight and support.  Or, if the banner will be hung on poles, it can be manufactured with pole pockets.  

All banners should have hemmed, or finished, sides on all four sides.  This not only gives the banner a more professional appearance, it gives it some reinforcement and weight around the edges to protect it from damage.  Corners can be further reinforced and grommets can be incorporated into the edges.  Your signage professional will also provide recommendations for grommet placement around the banner.  The more grommets, the less stress placed on the corners of the banner.  Strategic grommet placement results in a flat, fully stretched banner that lasts longer. 

Finally, ask for storage recommendations for your banner and follow them carefully for maximum banner life.  In general, never fold vinyl banners.  You’ll get creases and fold marks that are difficult to remove –no, they won’t just “hang out.”  When rolling banners, roll the printed side inward to protect it, but be sure it doesn’t stick to itself.  Store the banner in a cylindrical tube in a temperature-controlled environment.  

Score One for the Scoreboard

Friday, June 20, 2014

digital scoreboardWhile traveling around to youth baseball, soccer or lacrosse games this summer, note the scoreboards you see. Are they simply tallying the scores or are they relaying messages in various formats? Scoreboards at Little League fields, soccer and lacrosse fields and even at swimming pools pose a great opportunity for the innovative marketer. If you like to promote your business to a captive audience using signage, what better way to get noticed than to be right where people look for information? Get yourself noticed on the scoreboard!

First, let’s talk about existing scoreboards. If the teams or recreation councils that already have them are also savvy marketers, they will have a system in place for potential advertisers or sponsors. These opportunities can be on a static scoreboard or on an electronic scoreboard. Approach the team or the rec council with your ideas for placing your logo or message strategically on the scoreboard. Sometimes the scoreboards are designed with static panels that can display company logos or tag lines. On an electronic scoreboard, the video portion of the board can also serve as an advertising vehicle. If it means revenue for the organization, it’s very likely your proposal will be accepted.

Now, what about becoming a scoreboard sponsor? That is, donating or partnering with the team or field to provide a scoreboard, on which your company logo will reside forever. You would have the ability to provide moving messages if you are donating a digital scoreboard. If it’s static, then negotiate the right to change out the sponsorship signage on or near the board on a regular basis. Talk to your signage professional about all angles – from vinyl sponsorship signs to digital scoreboard hardware and software.

Take advantage of the captive audience to communicate a clear message that will score big for your business.

Indoor/Outdoor Advertising Banners

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Not all indoor and outdoor advertising materials are created equal. While both may use the same types of materials, some have bigger advantages for their selected venues than others. Grommets are a commonly shared feature of indoor and outdoor banners. They can be especially important outdoors, because grommets can create a stronger banner that can withstand high winds and severe weather.

barn outdoor bannerIf you’re considering outdoor banners, your sign manufacturer will likely recommend mesh, fabric or vinyl. All of these materials are durable and weather-resistant. Mesh and vinyl are easy to clean and maintain. Outdoor banners also require clear, concise copy and large, bright and simple graphics. Your goal is not to get as much information on the banner as possible, it’s to offer a memorable call-to-action to your customer. The banner should be a reflection of your business and its personality, but you should clearly state what you want people to do. Because the banner will be seen while people are driving, biking or passing by, it forces you to be brief. Always have a phone number or website (if it’s easy and/or memorable) on your banner. Make it easy for people to find you.

Indoor banners allow more time for reading, but less continues to be more, in both copy and design. When choosing colors, select more subdued hues that will hold the reader’s attention. Lighter or pastel colors make people feel more relaxed. The materials for indoor banners are also cloth, vinyl and mesh, with cloth being much easier and more prevalent in the indoor environment. The cloth absorbs the light, minimizing shine, and it also is less likely to become dirty indoors. Again, work with your signage professional to determine the best next steps for your indoor/outdoor banners.

Not sure what will work for you? Call 410-420-2400 for guidance based on your individual needs.

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.

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.

Signage Industry Predictions 2013

Sunday, January 06, 2013

As is common in most industries at the start of the New Year, we have some comments on the market trends for 2013.  Experts across the board have weighed in, and we’ve looked at where we think the hot items will be.  We offer a short list of predictions:

  • Digital Signage and more digital signage – This market continues its growth.  Harford County businesses are realizing the cost-effectiveness of digital signage both indoors and outdoors.  Banks, restaurants, schools and churches are among the early-adopters, and we predict more will come on board this year.  Those early adopters will do even more with their digital signage.
  • Big screens - At retail, digital signage is being used to deliver a marketing and advertising strategy that drives consumers to purchase.  It will become more interactive for consumers and point-of-purchase signage will be important.
  • Small screens - Advertisers and marketers will try to reach consumers on mobile devices – from phones to tablets.  Again, interactive and targeted, the messages will be developed and delivered using data collected from all the “Smart” devices. 
  • Sleek materials – Lest we lament the demise of static signage, the market is still rich with opportunities.  The advent of sleek materials, like fabric for outdoor banners, will dominate the marketplace this year.
  • New applications for tried and true – We’ll see innovations and new uses for already successful applications like vehicle wraps and window cling signage.  The materials will be used in new markets and to reach new customers.  

Harford County sign companies will be thinking out of the box for customers and will suggest innovative ways to use current signage techniques.

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. 

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.

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.

When a Sign is More Than a Sign - Part 2

Thursday, January 19, 2012
Mostly everyone loves chocolate, but what does chocolate not like? Sunlight and temperatures above 80 degrees! Strong, glaring, and warming sunlight in the front of any store can make it too warm or uncomfortable inside. The strategic positioning of a sign may help solve the the comfort issue -- and keep those store-front chocolates from melting! -- as well as get your name in front of your customers.  

Case in point:  At this Wockenfuss store (see photo), in the winter months, the sun is low enough that sunlight comes through the window very strong late in the afternoon. It melts the chocolate in the cases, and no one wants to buy melted chocolate.

The solution:  position a banner strategically to not only show everyone you are in a new location, but keep the sun off the cases. 

Working with a true sign professional who places a priority on your business success can help you market your business, and sometimes solve problems that may not even seem sign-related. 

Banner sign protects chocolate from melting

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