Affordable, Eco-friendly Banners and Yard Signs

Marketing

  • The Magic of Product Photography for Banners

    We talk a lot about photography and what kind of skill makes us ooh and ahh, but we have never really delved into product shots that cater to your customer's questions, before they can even ask them. These are some things to consider when designing for various ads, even outside of banners and signs.

    Give the Inside Look

    What some businesses have done, especially with cars, is create situations in their ads that their product would benefit in. For example, with selling mini-vans: how many people can it fit? What does the trunk space look like? The front dash?

    By showing these in photograph before these questions can be asked makes interaction with your customer much easier. They can see the pictures, and they can see what works and what doesn't for them and their specific needs.

    "What Does it Do?"

    I get this a lot when talking to my siblings. You've got something to prove about your new product and it's not just all hot air. When it comes to showing product versatility, it helps to include some photos of that product out in the wild.

    Made a collapsible bike? Show someone riding around, and then folding it up just before going to work.

    A new mp3 player? Show all the different places that you can take it, as well as all the functions.

    Tutorial Time

    Some products get released, and it's so exciting, and then it arrives in the mail and...!

    You don't know how it works. Most include an instruction manual (hopefully), but it's in Russian or Chinese or strange pictograms. Not all manuals are so blessed. If you have a product that is being marketed as "easy use", a tutorial timeline would be great! Show step-by-step what makes your product fantastic and so easy. We'll all be thankful.

  • The Seven Deadly Sins and Advertising: Techniques to Draw New Customers

    Alright, this is fascinating to me. Over at Smashing Magazine, a group of designers and writers known as ZURB, submitted an article about utilizing the legendary Seven Deadly Sins to turn site visitors into customers. This is a clever article about legitimate marketing techniques, and it's a fun and easy way to really think about how you want to sell your product. Not only can this be applied to banner and sign design, but in any other media of advertising that you're leaning towards.

    I'll summarize the gist of the article below, but if you'd like to read the whole enchilada, cruise on over HERE.

    Pride

    Pretty simple. By showcasing the pride you have in your products, especially with sales numbers, etc.  a customer can fall in love with the legitimacy. Another way is to showcase brand names and well-known companies associated with your business or who have used your product. Big names like FaceBook, Costco, or AT&T...you get the picture. Their names will hold up yours on a higher pedestal above your competitors, and for some customers, success like that is attractive.

    Gluttony

    Everyone is thrifty: we like it cheap, we like it packaged, we like it instant. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. This technique is all about putting your best offers up front: sign up and get "this", here's a new 2-for-1 package, etc. Giving visitors an instant opportunity to catch a good deal can guarantee returning customers down the road. Don't be ashamed to exploit that new deal you've got going. Make it loud, make it awesome, make it once-in-a-lifetime and we will come flocking.

    Sloth

    This one is kind of difficult, but it's more to the effect of the opposite of laziness: constantly updating blogs, Twitter and RSS feeds, a solid stream of updates, anything to make you look like you're constantly on the move and updating new things.  You appear cultured, in tune with news of the day, and knowledgable with what you're trying to sell. A technique like this is especially great for websites.

    Envy

    Over in the original article, ZURB used FourSquare as an example of making others envious of your status. When checking-in, players can earn points and eventually become "mayor" or a real location. As mayor, you can get special offers and considerations. Other businesses create response sections that showcase customers' appreciation: "I love my new [blank], and I lost 35 lbs!", "Can't get enough of this!", or "Thanks to [insert name] for being an awesome customer! You've just won [blank]". Sentences like these can make visitors eager to try and win or gain that appreciation that others have been showered with.

    Lust

    Usually though of as something sexual, it can actually stand for something extremely attractive (like shiny or sexy), but is only attainable at a high cost. You see it on ads and websites all the time: glamor shots of that brand new iPad, new car models, or a fancy perfume or watch. So shiny....

    Greed

    This more aimed at services that require collecting something. For FourSquare, it's points, for Twitter it's followers, for Pinterest, it's that urge to pin as much as possible (of which I am guilty). It's a seemingly simple marketing technique that makes the customer come back for more and more of whatever is the goal, even if it's free. No play, no gain.

    Wrath

    Mostly used by review sites like Amazon or Best Buy, customers can rank their reviews on products and what hurts is that businesses can't delete these comments. Sometimes, "flamers" will pit two products against each other: "[blank company] makes a MUCH better tablet than [blank company]", "[blank] has terrible service, try [blank] instead". Vengeful and a little back-stabby, this less kind technique is to be used with caution. Bashing on other companies that you share competition with is not recommended (unless it's subtle...)

  • Five Awesome Fonts for Fall

    October is here and November is just around the corner. Over here in California, it's just started to get cooler and the rain is coming. However, if you're on the East Coast, you're probably seeing something much more pretty.

    So! You've got fall events coming up, and they are a-plenty. Well, to shake things up for your advertising campaign, why don't we take a gander at some beautiful typography? Perhaps you'll be inspired and take that extra leap forward to make your next Custom Banner even more exciting for the upcoming holidays.

    from weknow.deviantart.om

    by Lady Sara

    by West Wind Fonts

    Autumn is a symbolic time, a look back as the year draws to a close. So, it's no surprise that autumn events tend to fall back on more nostalgic fonts that resemble old style writings and signs. Here's a look at a couple that resemble the ol' Wild West:

     

    by Last Soundtrack

    by John Singer

    What ever your choice may be, remember the important things: make sure your font is relevant to your business or event and that, above all else, it's legible. No one wants a banner that they an't even read. If you're having trouble picking between fonts, call us up and we'll help you out with the design!

  • The Future Looks Shiny: Metallic Backgrounds for Vinyl Banners

    Most sci-fi imagineers will illustrate a curvy, streamlined future with fine chrome and glass surfaces. Metal is manmade and exudes power. It's a hardy element, capable of holding up our greatest structures and making our technology nearly invincible to Mother Nature's worst.

    Using this fine element as a background can be pretty smart, depending on your advertised product or what message you're trying to convey.

    Banner Ideas

     

    Metal Textures

    Textured metal backgrounds can be used to display rugged products, like camping gear, trucks and other large cars, or a "hardcore" event (concert, festival, etc.). The sharp grooves and rises in the image (like the one below), have that connotation of hardness, roughness, not-to-be-messed-with, etc. For products like these, the world is their oyster, just waiting to get run over.

    Now, it's not quite recommended to use foil for a background. Although it's very pretty, it's also very difficult to read text or see some images, with the constant changes of light and dark in the material. Something wrapped in foil, like a food or a solid image with only a little detail, will be feasibly seen with this kind of background.

    Smooth Textures

    And then, there's your usual: the nice chrome, stainless steel background with a touch of metallic finery. This background is subtle, making it perfect for any sort of text or images your want in the foreground. With Outdoor Banners, the faux shiny metal will still attract some eyes without blinding someone in the process (you know what I mean...).

    Nuts & Bolts

    Last, but not least, let's look at some "accessories" you can add to that metal banner background. Sheet metal is either bolted or welded together, and some businesses and consumers find that look appealing. It symbolizes a sturdy hold on your mission, strength and endurance. There's a precise art to it as well.

  • Branding Banners: Tips on Logos, Types, and More

    You're a brand new business, or at least thinking of re-branding to get more followers. Well, don't feel too overwhelmed by the flood of prospective ideas, or you'll drive yourself crazy with the possibilities! Instead, here's a few tips to get you started on the right path to brand new business.

    Doing Your Homework

    It seems silly right now, but do some research into your company or your most well-known products. What's the story behind the founding? What is it about your product that customers love so much? By taking what you learn and spinning it, you not only create a new sense of purpose, but you can take that history and transform it into a new logo or slogan. Say you found out that you're business was originally founded in Minnesota. You can say "Born in Minnesota, Raised in Success". Alright, that might have been cheesy, but you get the picture. It's all about the history.

    Loco for Logos

    So, after you've done your homework, it's time to think of a logo! This is the fun part. You keep what you have, or take all that research you've done and channel it into something creative. Remember, it should reflect who you are as a company and the level of professionalism you expect. Don't be a corporation with a logo of a penguin riding a skateboard. Make it fun, but make it relevant. You also don't to add too much detail: a logo should be simple enough that anyone can distinguish it from another's.

    Typography Troubles

    For those who don't know, "types" refers to the style of text you use for messages, like Arial or Times New Roman. There is a humongous plethora of types out there, or sometimes called fonts, and in most cases you can download ones you like for free. BUT, if you want a completely unique type just for your business, it's going to cost you some coin. For the most part, however, you can stick with what you have or download the freebies online.  Choosing a font is a lot like choosing a logo: make it fun, but make it relevant and above all, LEGIBLE. I can't even begin to tell you how illegible types can turn away customers.

  • Banner Inspiration! The Architectural Works of Carlo Cane

    A building is a work of art itself, no matter how boxy or boring it may seem to you. Carlo Cane has taken those buildings and done something wonderful with them in watercolor. Take a look at some of the examples below:

    So, why mention him here? Well, I was personally impressed by the detail, and the fact that he could take something ordinary, like a building, and turn it into a surreal piece of art. He's even got a new collection, where his buildings are now accompanied by animals. It's a testament to our co-existence with nature and how our man-made structures may do more harm than good.

    In the search for your next banner design, an approach such as this may be more beneficial to you. Combining the unexpected creates a curiosity in the viewer, and a hankering to search for the meaning behind your image.

    As I've posted about before, one technique is to create a solitary but curious image and leave either a QR code or a link to a website for more information. Many businesses, especially in the entertainment industry, use this technique to tease their fans about upcoming films, products, etc.

  • Taste-Buds & Banners: Food Photography to Drool Over

    Oh, honey, we know what you're doing at lunch and dinner. Don't pretend like you don't take pictures of your food and then post it on Instagram. But don't worry, we aren't here to tease. In fact, we encourage it!

    Banners with images of food are great for:

    • Restaurant promotions
    • Food Fairs!
    • Festivals
    • Culinary School
    Take a look below, then grab your camera! It's about to get hot in this kitchen.

    Hungry yet? Me too *sigh*.

    And they all look so good, don't they? It's too bad professional food photographers often use substitutes like motor oil, blowtorches, hairspray, shoe polish and glue to make those tasty food photos look shiny, steaming, and appealing. But hey! They do what they're supposed to: make us want all those dang good foods so bad, we want to jump through the screen to get it.

    Carving Out a New Design

    Glamorous shots of your platefuls of plenty are nice and all, but what I especially like are the fruit & veggie carvers. They can turn any mundane-lookin' fruit and turn it into a masterpiece, like the watermelon below. I love this one, because take a look inside: it's not the outside of the melon that got a makeover!

    Juicy and artistic. Not bad. Here's a couple of other carvings that tickled my fancy.

    Now that those are all done, please excuse me while I go in search of sustenance. All of this food talk has made me hungry beyond belief.

    For more amazing food carvings, check out this article.

    For more professional food photography, here's an article just for you!

  • Minimalist Product Shots for Banners

    Businesses are always looking for new ways to market their select products, of course. But throwing out complicated terms and over-designed ads isn't going to make it any easier. Sometimes, just like with the minimalist movie posters, the thing that you need to do is crop out more than you add in. Funny enough, we already have several examples out there in the market for you to draw from!

    Showcasing a Product on a Banner

    Take a look at ads from Apple or Amazon: when they're showcasing that trendy new tablet, e-reader, or iPhone, what do you see? Most of the time, it's just someone using the product in a single action: lying on a beach, a hammock, at work, or on the go. Very simple. It shows your product alive and well, and most of all functional, in the wild!

    Another technique you can use is absolutely nothing. I mean it: nothing. Have nothing else in the ad except for your product, the name of it, a slogan, and maybe your company logo. Apple and Amazon have utilized this for the iPhone and the Kindle e-readers, and it's quite effective.

    The "nothingness" in the background of the ad draws more attention to the product. it gives an aura of subtle power and confidence, and let's the customer observe the finer details without being overloaded with background clutter. Take a look at the following examples and get started on some great banner designs of your own!

    "The Wi-Fry" from McDonald's

    from Sensodyne

    "Tongue" from Pringles

    "Find More Easily" from Google
  • Creepy Halloween Banner Ideas: Abandoned Amusement Parks

    Disneyland, Six Flags, Knott's Berry Farm, Universal Studios, Schlitterbahn...

    Sound familiar? That's because these theme parks are still well in existence, well in pocket, and doing fine in attendance.

    But have you heard of Gulliver's Kingdom? Or Chippewa Lake Park? There's plenty more that would simply fly over your head, unless you were born many decades ago. These abandoned amusement parks are so-called due to poor attendance or natural disasters. Since then, nature has reclaimed the land, leaving behind hollow shells of rides that once were. Yes, it's kind of sad to say good bye to these beloved places of childhood fantasy, but nowadays, if you visit them, they're just downright creepy.

    If you're stumped on a banner design for Halloween this coming October, it might behoove  you to take a look at some amazingly chilly abandoned amusement park images. This would be especially appropriate if you're planning some sort of Haunted Trail or Haunted Hay Ride. All the rust, the overgrown ivy and foliage, and twisting trees...gives me the willies just thinking about.

    This is from a FunFair near Pyongyang, the capitol of North Korea. It has long been abandoned since the state could no longer fund it.

    From Chernobyl. 'Nuff said. I mean, I don't even want to know what that is...

    Now that we've all been significantly chilled (and had some of our childhood memories dashed), swing on over to Top Design Mag and read this article on more abandoned amusement parks.

  • Start a Conversation: Public Awareness Banners

    Nowadays, when it comes to designing an ad for a public awareness announcement, designers have been leaning towards the shock factor before the "fact" factors. And with good reason too.

    We tend to pass by infographics on the street, unless they pertain to us personally. But if you add an emotional roller coaster to that singular image, you'll do more than make a public announcement: you're leaving the viewer with a new perspective. Take a look at some examples below and let your mind start churning about your next design.

    The above image is a man who killed a woman, Mary, as a result of his drunk driving. The consequences are literally revealed on his sleeve in a tattoo.

    This one is talking about the dangers of second-hand smoke, and how you are "swallowing" it like food in the air. Gross, but effective.

    Plastic bags aren't meant to be fossilized.  'Nuff said.

    This ad especially tugged at my heart-strings. It shows a mother and child fatally affected by an oil spill, reminding us all that the oceans aren't the only things that suffer from an oil spill.

    A French ad about the rewards of being an organ donor. Very inspiring.

    If you'd like to see some more, check out this article from Top Design Mag HERE.

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