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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Typography

“Good typography is invisible, bad typography is everywhere”

Type is defined as typeset text or any specifically shaped reproducible characters. Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language readable and legible. Type is everywhere; in books, on websites, signage, vehicle graphics, marketing materials, and storefront windows to name a few. The historical and physical attributes of type are taken into account when designing for specific media. There is a lot to typography, such as the different type family classifications and subclassifications, displaying the type, and readability and legibility. These factors culminate to display words in a well designed, applicable fashion.

The word typeface refers to the collection of letterforms designed to go together. A font refers to all the characters of a specific typeface. For example, Gotham Regular is a typeface belonging to the font Gotham. The latin alphabet that we are familiar with today grew out of a combination of Greek, Semitic, and southern Italian influences. The main type family classifications have evolved since that time; Serif, Sans Serif, Script, Blackletter, and Display. They differ by their physical attributes and when they came to fruition. The two most widely used classifications are Serif and Sans Serif. Serifs have subclassifications of their own, which are Humanist, Old Style, Transitional, Modern, and Slab. The Sans Serif subclassifications are Grotesque, Geometric, and Humanist. The aforementioned type family classifications differ by the protruding features stemming from the main strokes of the letters— referred to as serifs— or lack thereof. Type style refers to the various versions of a typeface. A type style, for example, can be bold, italic, or hairline. Using certain typestyles such as bold or italic throughout text helps organize and highlight information. However, save them just for that; it’s not advised to write a paragraph in all bold or italic.SerifandSans.jpgCertain types of fonts have nuances about them that make them more suitable for certain applications than others. A pretty script typeface would be a poor choice for a biker bar, and blackletter text doesn’t jive well with hair salons. Those are extreme examples, but they illustrate how a business can get lost in translation because of a poor type choice.  Serif typefaces tend to be used for a more traditional look. The fine details of the serifs don’t always display well on screens, especially at small sizes on high resolution displays. This may change as screen resolution continues to improve. Sans serif fonts illustrate a modern look. They’re widely used on the web because they display well on screens of various resolutions. Script, display, and blackletter fonts should be used sparingly in a design. Over-use of those fonts diminish the impact that they can have; they have all the impact they need when used only once. They make great choices for headlines and are not suitable for body copy. Script fonts can be found on wedding invitations because of their formal tone. There are other types of scripts that have a more casual or fun look to them. Lots of display fonts are available to aide in creating an atmosphere in a design. Blackletter fonts can add a medieval and dark tone to a design. PoorType.jpgReadability and legibility are key when working with typography. If those two factors are executed poorly, readers will have a hard time reading, and may get frustrated and give up. Readability refers to how easily a page of text can be read and navigated and legibility refers to the ease with which a reader can recognize and differentiate between letterforms. Long lines of text cause eye fatigue, which is a matter of readability. For print, lines of text should be sixty to seventy characters per line, while with web the ideal amount of characters per line is about forty. Out of left aligned, centered, right aligned, and justified text, left aligned text is the most easy to read because the various line lengths provide a point of reference for moving down to the next line. Tightly spaced letters and tight leading also damper readability because of how text gets squished; it becomes much more difficult to ascertain letters and words. Legibility is a matter of typeface and its background. Script typefaces aren’t legible enough for long passages of text, and all caps script is even worse. Display fonts are applicable for headlines but not for long passages. Serif and sans serif typefaces are the most legible. Lower case text is more legible than all caps, and that’s because of the shapes lower case letters create. All caps create rectangles, so each letter has to be read individually to make out a word. Black text on a white background is the most legible color combination.Readability.jpg

One Way Vision Films

These graphics are printed on a special film called One Way Vision by Clear Focus, which is a pioneer in the latest window graphics solutions. This special film consists of pressure-sensitive adhesive and non-adhesive perforated (tiny circles) window film and overlaminates. One Way Vision transforms any glass surface into colorful, eye-catching, see-through graphics and offers an affordable solution for advertising. This product results in maximum visual impact that’s not the conventional opaque signage.

One Way Vision Films
One Way Vision films allow stunning graphics on one side and a clear, unobstructed view from the other. These films are ideal for producing decals, vehicle window graphics, POP (Point of Purchase), commercial window signage, retail signage, building wraps, brand marketing, corporate identity and much more. One Way Vision films create new, innovative media space without obstructing the view. It can also enhance security issues, since it limits the amount of vision that is possible by looking in from the outside.

Benefits:
Creates new, innovative media space.
Cutting-edge graphics technology that gives advertisers a competitive advantage. Allows premium ad placement for high-profile advertising.

Features:
Reduces heat and glare from the sun.
Clear pressure-sensitive adhesive that’s easy to install and remove. Available for exterior or interior applications.

Product Overview
How does One Way Vision film work? This special film is made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) with up to 50% of the film micro-perforated to achieve the desired image resolution and one-way visibility. The black (non- imaged) side of the film through which people see maximizes its transparency. Lighting is the final ingredient: for optimum effect, lighting on the graphics side must be brighter than on the non-imaged side. One Way Vision film can be used for either exterior or interior mounting. Depending on the usage, these films are available with variations in the size and amount of perforation.

oneway

Did You Know? In using One Way Vision films, bright colors (e.g., red, yellow, orange, bright green, and blue) provide the best results. Avoid using dark colors (dark purple, navy, brown, black) for backgrounds or other large areas. This is because with bright colors, the eye tends to focus on the graphics, whereas dark colors allow the eye to see through the graphics. The perforating process reduces the reflectivity of an image. We suggest increasing the image contrast by 10%-20% to compensate for this effect.

Banners and Your Message

Visit any trade show and you will most likely find signs, banners, posters and other forms of visual information striving to gain your attention. This type of information is the most important tool used to create awareness about anything. More specifically, banners are an excellent choice for this purpose because they can be any size, shape or color. Add to that the convenience of portability and you will see why banners are so popular at trade show events. Banners inform people at large that something is being launched or some event is going to happen. Quite often they look so stylish and colorful. If you are not able to find banners that can convey your message, then custom banners are meant to solve your problem. Custom banners will help you communicate your message in your own way.

Considerations When Designing Your Banner or Signage
Choose a typeface that is easily legible and one that fits your type of business. San serif fonts and open styles such as Verdana tend to be more legible. Make your message clear. Not every image can be translated onto a sign or banner, so keep it simple.

Because viewers have only seconds to read your message, some sign experts suggest that text should only be three to five words in length. Abbreviations should not be used unless they are popularly known. Whenever possible, text should be arranged horizontally rather than vertically.

Maintain white space. An industry guideline is 30%-40% of the sign area should be blank space. Too much clutter distracts potential customers.

There are certain color combinations that are more legible than others. However, the shade of the color is important, too. The most easily read combinations are black, dark blue or red text on a yellow or white background.

Also, know that 8% of U.S. males are color-blind. It’s important to use color combinations that retain contrast when viewed by color-blind people. Blue and yellow, for example, are a good combination, but blue-green or aqua on white or gray are difficult combinations for a color blind person to read.

Did You Know? A simple effect like adding a border around the viewing area is an economical way to dramatically improve your sign’s effectiveness. One study shows that viewers can read and comprehend a sign that has a border around its message 26% faster than a sign without one.

Keep In Mind: Even within your budget confines, or the legal limits of your sign code, an experienced sign design professional can help you create an attractive and effective sign.

Letter Style and Capitalization
As a general rule, capital letters are most easily recognized, but tend to be read individually. Lower case letters, on the other hand, are usually read as whole words or phrases.

Sign design research designates six type styles as the most basic: Roman, Gothic, Gothic Block, Text, Italic and Script.

 text_type

For the most part, reliance on the last four of these can be a problem. People are not used to reading these fonts for extended periods of time. Use them sparingly, if at all.

Capital and lower case letters, with the exception of script styles, are generally equally legible. As a rule, the width of a letter’s horizontal stroke should be approximately 1/5 of its height.

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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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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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