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Isotype

Isotype, short for International System Of TYpographic Picture Education, showed social, historical, biological, educational, societal, and technological connections in a “picture language,” as Otto Neurath, its creator, referred to it as. Originally called the Vienna method of pictorial statistics, he founded Isotype at the Gesellschaft und Wirtschaftsmuseum in Wien, Austria, in 1925. The team grew to a total of 25 people; it was comprised of the Data Collectors (historians, staticians, and economists), the Transformers (visual editors and conduits between the data collectors and graphic artists, the Graphic Artists (illustrators who drew the symbols and artwork), and the Technical Assistants (assisted in paste-up, coloring, and photography). Their maps, charts, and other visualizations helped people interpret complex ideas about Austrian life. Isotype’s lasting influence can be seen in infographics, computers, signs, and more.

Stylistic Attributes

The main unit in breaking down statistics with Isotype is the pictogram. An object would be simplified from its details to illustrate what its connoting. They functioned as repeatable units and indicated certain values. Gerd Arntz, who got hired at the Gesellschaft und Wirtschaftsmuseum in 1928, produced them from lino-cuts. Color palletes were limited, and they depicted certain details within the statistics. Great care was taken to ensure that the pictograms were distinguishable from one another and could be placed side by side in rows. Small variations can be made to them to give the pictograms a certain context, like a man wearing a cap of a certain industry. Perspective was not used in favor of single dimension. Their simplicity hides the labor it took in creating these pictograms.

How It Worked

Isotype’s most important feature was its ease of communication without the need of language. Economic and social events were visualized to be understood by people of all ages and backgrounds. Otto Neurath has described Isoype as a “language-like technique” characterized in the use of graphic elements. He believed that picture language was effective across a wide range of ages and that a good pictorial chart could speak as clearly to a young child as an adult. More or less was not represented by bigger or smaller symbols, but by less or more of those of the same size. Even if the content changed, viewers faced pictograms and charts drawn with the same design approach which enabled them to better understand the visual language. The themes of housing, social administration, and education were inextricably linked and many Isotype charts were designed to show such relationships.

Lasting Impact

The central themes which concerned the Isotype movement— housing, health, social administration, and education— were also taken up in later periods and in other countries. Health education, for instance, was taken up on an international front in the 1930s with the major publicity campaign to combat tuberculosis, which was promoted by the National Tuberculosis Association of America. Isotype’s pictograms reached a larger audience in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics as well, and the use of pictograms in international events increased. Today we see them on phones, in airports, maps, signs, and more. The Isotype movement has also had an impact on infographics, public space, and wayfinding. Its strongest influence is seen most clearly in the field of graphic statistics.

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The Art of Big Signs

Large signs are everywhere we glance. At a normal viewing distance they appear to be small. Since signs are often surrounded by visual clutter, simplicity is the key to a good design. A simplistic approach such as one image, few words, and simple typefaces, works best.

The Art Of Big Signs

Edit your message. Keep it simple, so the sign is condensed to its essential minimum. A generous amount of white space (negative space) balances a sign with its surrounding elements and sets a clear stage for the message to be seen.

Start with a short headline. Think short and simple. One to three words is ideal. The fewer the words the larger the letter size can be. This allows for the message to be read and understood quickly.

Use clear images. Good signs have images that are clear objects with little detail and distinctive silhouettes.

Design for close-up reading. Most big signs will also be seen up-close. For this distance, signs can include smaller type and more complex graphics if needed. Informational signs are for up close reading, not for attention getting. They can be designed like simple over-sized pages.

Establish a look with a series of signs. A series of signs looks best when they all look alike. The size relationship doesn’t have to be psychically identical, but they must feel the same.

Sales signs or P.O.P. signs get attention and sell at the same time. Most sales or P.O.P. (Point of Purchase) signs are seen mid-distance and at close-up range. Such signs need to succeed in making the most effective use of space, color, images, and words. These signs must stimulate the buying instinct for shoppers. A good attention getting and visually harmonious design is critical for a successful sale or P.O.P. sign.

Announcement signs are designed for quick, brief attention, and are usually seen at mid-distance and up close. Use bold letters to establish a focal point with the headline.

Way-finding signs such as large highway signs or in-store directional signs are about giving directions. Highway signs are huge so they need to be simple with a clear typeface that has a larger percentage of letter spacing (see guidelines). This adds enough air between letters to easily distinguish one letter from the next.

Indoor signs must be read easily but can be more decorative and reflect its surroundings.

Why Offer Coupons
No one can resist a coupon! Coupons can be an enticing form of advertising. They are appropriate for all businesses, especially those with special promotions during the year. Restaurants use coupons to build traffic on a normally slow day, amusement parks use them to reduce the price of admission for people who buy their tickets in advance, and dry cleaners use them to lure business. They are versatile ads that entice people to take advantage of a sale, urge them to visit a new location, or reward them for shopping in your store at any time.

Coupons can be found in newspaper ads, stuffed into customer’s bags to give them an incentive to return, on a website for people to print out and redeem, or inserted into mailed publications. The disadvantage to coupon packs are that they can get lost in the pile. A bright and intriguing coupon can help avoid this.

Coupons are great to track advertising. Different offers or different designs, in various publications, will help track the ones that are working and which ones aren’t. Be creative and find a way to use coupons in any advertising mix that can help benefit your business. Include an expiration date on all coupons. Consider all possibilities in choosing a wise offer. A coupon that offers something for free will get the people in, but they may not return. It’s better to offer something free with an additional purchase or give a 50 percent discount on the purchase of one item.

Did You Know? The latest trend for large signs is solar powered LED signs. Improvements in efficiency of today’s solar panels, both in the amount of energy they can collect and the ability to store that energy, have led to an increasing number of sign related applications including solar powered LED signage which presents a greener choice for our environment.


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More Than Just a Pretty Facade—Signs Part 2

Signs are Effective

Your signage is an integral part of your advertising program along with the other forms of commercial communication such as television, radio, newspapers, magazines and billboards. There are four basic criteria used to judge the effectiveness of these advertising media:

  • coverage of the trade area;
  • repetition of a message;
  • readership of a message;
  • cost per thousand exposures of a message.

Let’s see how signs measure to the above criteria.

Signs are oriented to your trade area. Signs do not waste your resources by requiring you to pay for wasted advertising coverage. The people who see your sign are the people who live in your trade area.

Signs are always on the job repeating your message to potential customers. Your on-premise sign communicates to potential customers twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, week after week, month after month, year after year. Every time people pass your business establishment they see your sign. The mere repetition of the message will help them remember your business.

Nearly everyone reads signs. Signs are practical to use because nearly everyone is used to looking at them and using them, even small children. Studies have shown that people do read and remember what is on signs. When special items are displayed, sales increase for these particular items within the store.

Signs are inexpensive. When compared to the cost of advertising in some other media, the on-premise sign is very inexpensive. Table 1 indicates the cost-per-thousand-exposures for various media in a given type of community. Unless your trade area encompasses an entire city or region, where you must rely upon broad based media coverage, there is no better advertising dollar value than your on-premises sign.

chart2

A number of surveys have been conducted before and after installing signage to determine effectiveness. One of these, from late 1996, involved a Los Angeles auto dealership. Three previous auto dealers had failed at the location. The new owner, Aztec Motors, spent much time, energy and money improving the building and lot.

Once renovations were complete, the new owner invested $7,400 in replacement signage that entailed one wall and one double-faced pole sign.

A survey found the new signage, not the renovations or other advertising, was responsible for a minimum of ten new walk-in customers per week, resulting in at least six additional sales per week.

It took less than a month for the new signs to pay for themselves, and the owner was able to reduce his advertising budget from $16,000 to $4,000 per month an annual savings of $144,000.


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A-Frames and Sandwich Boards


Do you want to inform your customers about the latest and greatest news that is going on with your business? A-frames and Sandwich Boards can come with changeable letter sets that allow you to change the written message as many times as desired. If one week you want to promote a sale and the next week a special coupon, A-frames and Sandwich Boards make it simple.

Benefits
A one-time purchase of an A-frame or Sandwich Board is an excellent solution to advertising different messages every day. Affordable A-frames and Sandwich Boards are geared towards helping your business get noticed! These signs fit any business type, whether it’s a restaurant that is advertising happy hour, or a retail store promoting a sale. You can reach multiple target markets with unique messages using a one low-cost investment.

  • Versatile and portable
  • Lightweight
  • Double-sided
  • Creates impulse sales
  • Attracts more foot traffic and vehicle traffic
  • Changeable letter sets

These signs are designed to be able to handle all weather types so they are perfect for the great outdoors. Businesses can put these signs outside and be confident that they will not be destroyed. They are a very smart investment when it comes to advertising, guaranteed to be durable and capture attention.

Maximum Marketing, Minimum Dollars
Advertising messages go anywhere and everywhere people do. The industry calls this alternative out-of-home or placed-based media, and it’s a bonanza for small businesses because there is something for everyone. While there are virtually limitless places to put your ads, here are just a few ideas to get you thinking:

  • Shopping cart returns
  • Dry-cleaning bags and hangers
  • Commercial restrooms
  • Vending cart umbrellas
  • Campus laundry rooms
  • Health clubs, spas and salons
  • Public tennis courts and swimming pools
  • Stadium and arena food carriers

Did You Know?
Businesses need to understand that impulse shoppers are out there and therefore, they should be merchandising their displays to target this audience. Keep in mind; if the impulse shopper is happy with their purchase they will be back and maybe even become a loyal customer. With A-frame signs and Sandwich Boards, you can be furthering your business and creating a prosperous future for yourself, as well as, attracting consumers who may not have intended to visit your store. If you put the time into using the right displays to get people excited about your offerings, increased sales are sure to follow.

Don’t Forget!
For your next project, let professionals help with concept development, execution, and installation!

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Reflective Advertising


During the night road signs, police car, fire trucks and ambulances are highly visible because their graphics are reflective. You can have the same extremely noticeable graphics on your business vehicles. The nighttime reflective graphics stand out at night and sparkle during the day.

Reflective Vinyl
Reflective vinyl is similar to standard vinyl because it can be cut to shape & applied to any non-porous surface but it has a metallic, reflective base that causes it to reflect back light when light is shone at it. Here are some advantages of using reflective vinyl for your vehicle signage:

  • Highly visible after dark
  • Captures attention
  • Long lasting premium vinyl
  • Able to cut vinyl to shape
  • Applies to almost any surface

Depending on your type of business, vehicle fleet travel, it’s locations and hours of operation, reflective vinyl may be an excellent advertising decision and investment.

Did You Know?
Not only does reflective vinyl graphics  decorate vehicles and promote businesses but, they also help prevent accidents. Reflective graphics will reduce the chances of collisions during the night by increasing visibility.

Don’t Forget!
For your next project, let sign professionals help you with concept development, execution, and installation!

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More is More

 


If two competitors are selling the same priced product how does the customer choose between the competitors? Whichever company is offering something extra will most likely receive the sale. People love incentives and perks, so ensure the sale by offering your customers monthly, weekly or even daily specials. 

Customer Incentives


Free Shipping
If your company offers online shopping, go one step further and offer free shipping. Everyone loves the convenience of online shopping but hates paying the costs of shipping. Free shipping can actually  generate more sales than you would lose in shipping costs. Consider offering free shipping on a minimum order amount, such as all orders greater than $50.

Discounts/Specials
Discounts can help establish long-term customers the easy way. Provide customers with valuable incentives that they’ll appreciate. They will most likely repeat their business. Offer different specials each month and season. This will give customers more of a variety and new reasons to come back.

Gifts/Free Samples
Offer promotions for new products. Customers do not like to invest in a product that they do not know. If they are given the opportunity to try a sample of the product for free they are more likely going to buy it. Another option is to include a free gift to go with their purchase of a minimum amount.

Easy Billing
Another simple offer is financing or a delay on a payment for a period of time. Establish easy billing where customers can split their payments in installments for those more expensive purchases. This is a great way to attract people. Be sure that you have proper financing restrictions and policies in place before offering these options to your customers.

Giveaways/Sweepstakes
Everyone loves to win prizes. Giveaways and sweepstakes will drive people to your store with little or no cost to you. Find a prize that interests your target audience and hold a contest. 


Sales
People are more likely to buy a product if they see a certain four letters, S, A, L, E. The most basic way to advertise is to hold a sale. Having a sale is a good way to get customers to flock.

Don’t Forget!
For your next project, let sign professionals help you with concept development, execution, and installation! 

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Awnings


Looking for a new way to invite customers into your store? Want that new way to consistently save you money? Commercial awnings are the perfect solution. They add a decorative touch to any business by displaying text and/or images. By offering shade, awnings will cut down your cost on the expensive air conditioning bill.

Commercial Awnings
Awnings add the perfect amount of visual flair that will make any storefront stand out. With many options, businesses can easily find suitable styles and designs to compliment any company. There are many different materials to choose from when creating an awning: stripes, solids, tweeds, and weaves. Awnings range from canvas to backlit to retractable. All materials used are high quality and durable that will retain vibrant color years after being in the great outdoors.

Benefits of Awnings:

  • Used as advertising
  • Help brand a business
  • Add a finishing touch to the building
  • Bring valued shade, substantially lowering air conditioning bills
  • Call attention to a site or business
  • Create a very distinctive look

Considerations
Keep in mind that many cities require awnings to be compliant with local building codes such as fire resistance, and even visual aesthetics.

Did You Know?
Commercial awnings:

1. Set Your Business Apart
It is understandable that you want your business to get noticed. If your business is located in a high traffic area, awnings make your business stand out from competitors. For commercial properties that are off the beaten track, awnings make the company easy to find.

2. Provide Extra Space
Your establishment could use extended operating space. Popular for restaurant and bar industries, where outdoor seating is desirable. Other business can use the new extra space for a break room or meeting area. Awnings allow your business to use outdoor space any time during the day or night. Think about those scorching days or if the forecast calls for precipitation. No problem. Awnings allow outdoor space to be utilized during all weather.

3. Are Simple
Not only are awnings simple in design but also they are simple to install. They do not require the services of a general contractor or architect, and won’t need to be brought “up to code.” Compared to any type of “brick and mortar” construction they are much less expensive, so installation is almost painless.

4. Save You Money
Awnings can help your business save energy! About 50% of the solar heat enters a room by coming through the glass, which accounts for about one fifth of the load on an air conditioner. By adding awnings above your windows, cut 94% of the glare and UV rays, lower room temperatures by up to 15 degrees, and save anywhere from 25 to 34% on energy bills.

With low up-front cost, virtually no maintenance, and compliance with environmental and safety codes, awnings have potential to positively impact a business’s bottom line. For those opposite months with cold weather, consider a retractable awning.

Don’t Forget!
For your next awning/sign project, let sign professionals help with concept development, execution, and installation!

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