Infographics

Infographics have evolved in recent years to become a means of mass communication; they are designed to reach a wider audience by simplifying complex subjects and arranging it in an easy to digest format, unlike other types of visualizations. Because of its simplicity and a compelling storytelling, it has gained a lot of popularity in recent years, and we can see infographics being shared all over the internet and social media.

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What is an Infographic?

An infographic is a visual representation of information and data. It takes a large amount of information in text or numerical form and then condenses it by combining elements of text, images, charts, and diagrams. It is an effective tool to present data and explain complex issues in a way that can quickly lead to insight and better understanding.

History of Infographics

Although infographics have only recently gained widespread popularity online, they have actually existed since the 17th century.

The Commercial and Political Atlas, published in 1786 by William Playfair, was the first example of modern infographics.

In 1983, a data visualization expert named Edward Tufte wrote a series of books about infographics. He also offered lectures and hands-on workshops on the subject.

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At the dawn of the 21st century, infographics transitioned into a digital format. With so many historic examples, Tufte’s teachings, and the emergence of the Internet, infographics seamlessly transitioned online.

It was around 2010 that they became what we know today – digital graphics designed to present complex information, usually posted on blogs or within articles on websites,  sometimes spreading virally.

Types of Infographics

Infographics come in various forms. They are categorized based on purpose, types of objects used and the flow of information. Not all infographics will strictly fall into a specific category. Most infographics will have elements of multiple types. The type of infographic that will be most appropriate in a given situation will depend on the objective of the data visualization.

Statistical infographic 

A statistical infographic puts the focus on your data. The layout and visuals will help you tell the story behind your data.

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Informational infographic

A informational infographic template is ideal for if you want to clearly communicate a new or specialized concept, or to give an overview of a topic.

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Timeline infographic 

A timeline infographic is an effective way to visualize the history of something, or to highlight important dates, or to give an overview of events.

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A process infographic is ideal for providing a summary or overview of the steps in a process.

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Comparison infographic

A comparison infographic is for when you want to compare options in an unbiased way, or you want to make one option seem better.

When to use an Infographic

  • Illustrating data: You can take data from surveys and make it more interesting than your average chart.
  • Simplifying a complex subject: If you’ve got a rather complex concept, and need a way to break it down quickly and easily, infographics are the way to go.
  • Making comparisons: Infographics are great at showing when two things are incredibly similar or different.
  • Awareness: Whether it’s related to business, politics or any other area, you can quickly raise awareness of a brand or cause with an infographic.

Infographics will continue to be used frequently by businesses, educators and the media, but there’s a good chance they’ll evolve like our technology does. Possibly in the future we may start seeing more interactive, as well as 3D immersive ones incorporated into virtual reality experiences.

History of Vehicle Graphics

In the last decade, vehicle graphics have transformed from an activity normally utilized by businesses with fleet trucks to a popular option for consumers and their cars, trucks, and SUVs. Companies have been using graphics to advertise on their vehicles for more than a century, and the first known examples of automotive advertising occurred around the turn of the last century.

How it All Started

In February of 1900, Milton Hershey became the first to use an automobile to advertise by painting his Lancaster, PA Hershey brand on a vehicle. Later, more embellished designs like Kolb’s Red Label Bread came to surface, incorporating different type faces and imagery. Originally, the only choice was to use paint, but soon something more durable, flexible, and with more design options hit the scene. Paint reigned supreme in the graphics world, and kept its exclusive place for over 50 years. But by the late 1950’s and into the 1960’s a new material began to emerge on the scene and changed the world of graphics forever: vinyl chloride.

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Vinyl for Advertising

At first, only large clients like the U.S. Air Force could afford to use self-adhesive vinyl graphics, but by the 1980’s vinyl production costs and die-cutting technology became affordable enough for small businesses to be able to letter their vehicles without paint.

By the early 1990’s, colorful die-cut vinyl had become the primary method of marking vehicles with lettering and logos for big businesses, while paint remained the choice for customizers and enthusiasts.

In the late 1990’s, new technologies emerged that allowed printing vinyl with a wide format electrostatic printer, but like die-cut vinyl before it, only the largest companies could afford to use it and its capabilities were extremely limited in design, color and image quality.

As the 21st century arrived, an advance in technology happened that not only made it possible for startups to purchase the equipment necessary to print on large format vinyl, but also to make the designs more striking than ever. With piezoelectric inkjet printers, large format graphic design software and computers that could handle over a gigabyte of data, the vinyl wrap was invented.

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Today, vehicle wrapping can be seen everywhere! The industry continues to innovate with better products, strategic printing and installation practices, and more sophisticated designs. If you’re interested in an advertising vehicle wrap for your business, contact Graphic Communications today!

 

White Space

A strong design requires careful attention to both what’s there and what isn’t there. White space is important because it tells our brains which elements in the design are the most important. It helps us process these elements, both on their own and as part of the overall image.

What is White Space?

White space refers to the space left in between elements of your design. It is also often referred to as negative space. It is essential for a balanced and harmonious layout and without it your design would look cluttered and overcrowded. While the term used is white space, it does not necessarily mean it is white. The space may be any color or texture that represents the negative space in your design.

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Types of White Space

Passive White Space
This is the white space that occurs naturally, such as the area between words on a line or the space surrounding a logo or graphic element.
Active White Space
 This is the space left blank intentionally for better layout or structure. Active white space is often asymmetrical, which makes the design look more dynamic and active.
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Why is White Space Important?

Improves readability and comprehension

When text and images on the page are cluttered and overcrowded, it can make your design quite difficult to read and comprehend. Adding white space allows the reader or viewer to focus on the key message or design in front of them. This applies to both text and design elements. White space allows the reader to easily read and understand what they are viewing.

Highlights a key message or design element

White space is a creative and powerful way of drawing the reader or viewer to a particular element of the design. It is also a powerful way to create a certain mood or look in a design piece. It can create focus and highlight design elements by offering visual cues to which elements belong together and which are separate.

Increases visual appeal

White space creates focus, balance and reinforces quality and professionalism. It is visually appealing and creates a clean, relaxing visual effect.

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The general rule of thumb is less is more. Don’t overcrowd your design in an attempt to push your marketing message through. Strategic and thoughtful use of white space is important and will offer a more professional representation of your brand.

Rebranding

Like anything in life, brands evolve with the times as their target audience changes or they have grown to offer new services. When first starting a company it can be difficult to know exactly who your future customers will be. You learn as you go along so your brand must evolve to meet your customer’s expectations.FortyTwo

When is it Time to Rebrand?

The decision to rebrand is usually made when a company feels that their brand does not match the company that they have become. Whether it is because you are no longer reaching your target market or because your brand has become dated. 

To reach a new audience

Your current brand may not be attracting the customers or clients you want. 

Values have changed

If your brand values and overall philosophy have changed leading you to take a different direction with your company, your brand should reflect these values. 

Outdated

If it’s been decades since you have updated your brand’s identity it may be time to determine what changes can modernize your look. These changes can be minor to major.

Refresh or Total Rebrand?

If you’ve decided that the company would benefit from rebranding, it’s time to determine the scale of this effort.

A Refresh

This is a lighter and more targeted effort. A simple refresh makes sense if a specific element of the brand could use a more contemporary take, as in the logo or product packaging look dated; or if there have been developments to the business, as in new products have been released.google-logos-1998-2015-020915

Google’s logo has gone through several refreshes throughout the years, all of which are relatively minimal. 

Total Rebrand 

This is a wide-reaching and high-effort brand overhaul. If a critical part of the business has changed—for instance you’re pursuing a completely new market, targeting a different demographic, selling a new core product, or are undergoing a merger/acquisition then it might make sense to do a total rebrand.doritos

Doritos newest logo gives a more action-oriented vibe. They have been promoting themselves as ‘bold’ and this logo reflects that sentiment. 

Rebranding Process

Define

Determine if a rebranding is needed and identify the specific reasons. 

Develop

Devise a plan to rebrand. Once you’ve identified the reason for the rebrand, you need to come up with an outline of how to achieve your goal. Include projected costs and a timeline indicating important targets.

Design

Visualize the Future. Developing the design includes testing for quality and functionality of the logo, font, and icons. They are developed inconjunction with the brand statement, story, and tagline in mind. This may take some time spent positioning all the elements of the design and tweaking it to perfection. 

Deliver

Implement the brand changes. Transition your brand to the new logo, product, etc. in accordance with your established plan. Update your business cards, letterhead, website and social media profiles as needed.

Rebranding is a big decision. The decision should be made with as much care as you took when you started your company.  Though your customers are changing, they still crave the comfort of familiarity. By mindfully taking advantage of your years of experience and paying close attention to your target market, you can navigate your business into the future. 

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.

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.

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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.

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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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More Than Just a Pretty Facade—The Right Signage for Your Business

Successful signage involves more than creating an attractive arrangement of logos and slogans. It is also a blending of complex elements such as marketing, demographics, an understanding of visual acuity and conspicuity. Complicating the task is the fact that the reader is usually moving, and the sign must be seen, read and understood in an instant.

No matter how good your product or service is, if your sign does not make people stop and shop, you will not be able to compete. In our visually competitive and media-rich world, an investment in professional sign design is worthwhile. Trained designers understand how to get the consumer’s attention. Most importantly, they know how to get the consumer to respond.

Elements of Good Signage
How well a sign works for your business depends in large part on how easy it is for people driving by to see and read it. Following is a step-by-step guide for making sure your sign can be seen and read in time for potential customers to react and stop at your business.

Before displaying any new outdoor sign, you should always do a preliminary check of the location to see whether approaching drivers can see your sign in time to read it, react to it, and stop safely. This depends on the speed of traffic and the number of lanes in each direction.

The table below shows what researchers learned about how far a car at different speeds will travel from the time a driver first sees the sign until the car safely comes to a stop. This assumes the sign is mounted perpendicular to the roadway and includes the amount of distance needed to read a typical sign and make a decision to stop.

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If the sign is mounted on the front of the building parallel to the roadway, research shows it needs to be at least 70% larger than the sign mounted perpendicular to the roadway, or it cannot be read in time. Note that if a sign has unfamiliar words or lots of words, it will also take longer to read.

The figures in the table can help determine whether your prospective business site will be visible to customers. For example, if the speed of traffic in front of the site is 30 mph, and the street has two lanes in each direction so that a lane change is needed, your customers will need to be able to see and read your sign from 410 feet away. If your customers would not be able to see your business sign from that distance, you should consider another location.

Size of type
Experts recommend designing signs with letters a minimum of one-inch tall for every twenty-five feet of distance. This makes them readable for all legal drivers. For example, the smallest letters on a sign would be 16.4 inches in height if it were to be read from 410 feet away (assuming 30 mph traffic moving in two lanes in each direction). Note that if your sign is using fancy lettering that is more difficult to read, the minimum letter size must be increased significantly.

To figure out the smallest possible size your sign can be and still be readable at 410 feet, figure each letter in the message will take up one square—that would be 16.4 square inches, or 1.37 square feet, for each letter. That allows for space between lines and words. If the sign read, Lydia’s Beauty Supply, its 18 letters would need a minimum of 25 square feet just for the words. For optimum clarity, an additional 40% of empty or white space would be needed, for a total of 35 square feet. That would be the absolute minimum size for a perpendicularly mounted sign with no graphics and very plain, easy to read lettering.

Most businesses are not going to be well served by a small, plain sign with no graphics. The lettering style, the ability of graphics and logos to be easily recognized, whether or not the words on the sign are familiar and easy to read, the lighting methods used, and even the colors used all impact people’s ability to see and read a sign.


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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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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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