Affordable, Eco-friendly Banners and Yard Signs

Banner4Sale Blog

  • "Thinking Greener" Banner Images

    In this day and age, it's just cool to be "green". And that's great! Even here at banner4sale, we are always striving towards greener printing methods and materials. But, here's an idea: have you thought of adding some more green to your images?

    Now, I don't mean adding text about recycling or something, but actually adding some trees to your backdrop image. Some bushes. Shrubs. Flowers!

    Pictures of nature can make all the difference in the world, especially in recent ad trends that picture streamlined vehicles, towering glass structures, and sleek new devices. Every once in awhile, it's a breath of fresh air (literally) to see a bit of nature in your advertising.  If you Google search "advertisements" or something equivalent, chances are you won't find many ads with pieces of nature in them, maybe not even on the first page. We've gone "urban" with our advertising, but it doesn't hurt to try something new. Since nature is inherently part of our lives, we do have an emotional connection with it, even if we don't want to admit it.

    "I

    Check out the one above: looks like an eye, right? It's a tree with a sawed-off branch, but the similarity is striking.

    Now, here's ad that's sort of related: it has to deal with water shortage and conservation for the summer months. But in the background is a nice green grass field, instead of a drab grey sidewalk. Kind of gives you a different feel.

    Mmmmm, yummy Watermelon. Not a tree, but same difference. It's not a picture of the farmer's market itself, but of one of the products they care about: the everlasting watermelon! It's green, it's pink, and on a blue background. It definitely leaves the feel of freshness and new beginnings.

  • Advantages of a Smart-Phone Camera

    Smart phones: curse or blessing? Some critics think the latest technology is a nuisance: people walking around and taking pictures of themselves with their iPhones or iPads, the touch phone sharing feature with the Samsung Galaxy S3, spamming Instagram... But the beauty of these devices is not as annoying as it seems. In fact, with the high resolution camera on the newest generations of the iPhone, people are being turned into amateur photographers overnight. Photographers already in the business are capturing stunning images on the smallest devices. Smart Phones are truly the all-in-one device, with the camera being one of the best features. What does this have to do with banners? Well, it has more to do with accessibility of advertising. Inspiration can be found anywhere, and that goes without saying. But now, it's much easier to capture that inspiration with a device that you always have with you already.  One can easily snap a picture, do some small editing on a handheld tablet or the phone itself, and have a digital advertisement for the web in no time. And it can be done all from a park bench (if you have 3G or so). For small time businesses looking for a great sales image, or a big business trying a new phase, this technique is great for marketers and designers. Let's take a look at some startling images taken with just a smart phone:

    Taken

    Taken

    Samsung

    Samsung

    Sony

  • Fantastic Science Fiction Fonts

    There's a plethora of awesome fonts out there in the nether-net. Some are free, some are not. But it's fun to explore different typography for your next banner ad! I love this new age in design, especially in the science fiction realm. We always see those vintage and retro fonts, but rarely do you see something that trends along the lines of science fiction. And what's cool is that people will recognize it as science fiction right away. With vintage, retro, or Western fonts, they can be used for all sorts of events. But with a science fiction font, there's almost no need for unnecessary text. There will be no mistaking your science-related event. Below are some samples of fonts that you've seen in film, television, and literature. It's the few that captured my attention, and are available for download: You can download these fonts and more, HERE. Also, Eaton Conference anyone? Now there's a science fiction convention if I've ever seen one! And what's more, Stan Lee is going to be there! If you've got a hankering for some good science fiction visuals, check it out in April.

  • Location, Location, Location

    It's that phrase you chant when you're looking to buy a home, pick a school, or even go grocery shopping! Location, location, location...

    And it's the same for Banner ad placement. So, you've printed your banners, your sale or event is ready to go, but you've got a problem: where can I put my banner where it will get the most visibility?

    Here are a few ideas for some fantastic areas for exposure:

    Freeway Overpasses

    You mostly see a lot of political or protest signs on freeway overpasses, or holiday banners during the winter season.

    Here's the deal: NOT all freeway overpasses are available for hanging signs. For big metro areas, or even towns, it's advised that you check out the city website, or ask for the department of transportation for hanging sign permits. This is to avoid having your banner torn down or harassed by police.

    Should you get a permit to hang your banner on a freeway over pass, here's why it's amazing:

    • Freeways are filled with drivers almost 24/7.
    • That's thousands of eyes seeing your sign every hour!
    • If your sign/message is short and sweet, you will get a response
    Just don't forget about that permit!

    Building Walls

    There's a variety of wall banners we can print for you:

    Side Wall Signs, OR......

    Flat Hanging banners. Either one can get your business noticed. Creating a wall-size banner, especially on your storefront and/or event location, will not only let your potential customers know what's coming up, but also where it is! Simple.

    Indoor Banners

    For indoor events, such as conventions and trade shows, we can create travel banners that you can roll up and take anywhere. It comes with a retractable stand and a bag.

    However, these portable banners are not just for conventions and trade shows. They actually make pretty amazing lobby ads as well. Take a look:

    Hanging banners can also be hung from the rafters of your location: they can be used as directions, aisle instructions, or just plain ads for things coming up in your event.

     

  • Sepia Tinted Photography for Banners

    Have you ever had to take one of those embarrassing pictures with Old West sets? Had to dress up in costume with Calamity Jane mom and Wild Bill dad and pose in front of a fake saloon?

    I have. It’s not pretty. Can be fun, but not really.

    WELL. As much as we hate these tourist-y photo ops, we can appreciate the art that it was inspired by: old style sepia tone photography.

    Nowadays, sepia is still long and strong in the making, and is used to create gorgeous faux old-fashioned photography. Remember those fake vintage ads I wrote about a while ago? Same difference! At least, in terms of an advertising technique.

    A while ago, my local bank did a campaign about bank accounts running in the family, passing from parent to child. They would have two images side by side: a father and son in sepia tone going out to surf, and a modern color photo of that previous son, now grown up and taking his own son out to surf. So, you see, many things can be implied with the use of sepia tone, especially if your goal is to leave the viewer with a  sense of nostalgia.

    Or you can do the awesome thing, and create an ad with those old style saloon family photos. That’ll get a good laugh out of your customers.

    Here’s some examples of sepia tinted custom banners as well. Inspiration for your next project, perhaps?

  • Beyond the Banner: "Too Many Choices"

    We are fickle humans. We like having a say in what we buy or don't buy, use or don't use, who we vote for, etc. We like choices, but we also believe in the saying that there can be "too much of a good thing", and this can be applied to your business as well.

    Too many choices within a single product can be "too much of a good thing". For example, with Apple products like the iPod: you only get a choice of a few colors, instead of the whole rainbow spectrum. Why? It simply makes choosing easier, and when you spend less time choosing a color, you spend more time selecting and making your purchase.

    To quote Paul Scrivens, from the Smashing Magazine article, Easier is Better Than Better:

    "... in reality humans usually choose the one that is easiest for them to understand and evaluate. Very often we do so because we don’t have the time to put in the research necessary to make an informed decision."

    You don't want this ^. Perhaps you won't mind competing products between businesses, but having too many choices among the same product wihtin your own business? Well, that might be a shot to the foot. It's all about the time. Or as the ol' businessmen with the fancy canes and monacles once said, "Time is Money!"

    So, when considering your latest and greatest product, limit the choices of color, texture, features, etc. that it comes with. Make it simple, make it smart, and it'll sell.

    For a more in-depth discussion about this topic, swing on over to Smashing Magazine and read Paul Scriven's article HERE.

  • Beyond the Banner: Design for Booklets & Brochures

    We talk a lot about banners and signs, designs, and inspiration ideas for your next ad. But let's take a step back and get a look at some other common forms of marketing, such as.....

    THE BROCHURE!

    They're everywhere. In the airport, at the universities, in the front lobbies of hospitals and businesses. Brochures are like interviews: it's the first impression of a service or place that you'll be paying for, and you want to see it's worth. But like the airport brochure racks, these little booklets have to compete for your attention! So, you may be thinking: what kind of designs are we talking about here?

    Brochure Design Ideas

    Similar to an earlier post about business card design, you are not limited by an 8 x 11 piece of paper. Just take a look at TVNZ's triangle brochure below:

    The full brochure actually unfolds about 6 times. That might be a little too much information (not to mention, kind of bulky), but the idea is still pretty stellar. So, you see, you aren't hindered by standard printing. We have the technology!

    The Front Cover

    So, what to put on the front...

    Start with your company name, your logo, perhaps a slogan. Include a title about what your  brochure is all about, and a picture would be nice.

    With comparing the two above, notice how the tone of each brochure's approach differs right away from the front cover. Fruitylicious is more fun with bright colors, and wanted their logo (which clearly states it's purpose: fruit products!) up front and center on that brochure.

    Reynolda Village has a more classy, vintage look. With dark colors like black and olive, they retain that sense of elegance, and an enviable lifestyle. In short, you want to shop there!

    The Content Pages

    Of course, this section of a brochure is going to be vastly different for everyone. Information brochures include tons of text and statistics; entertainment brochures would most likely include images of the place or service with minimal text. Image is everything.

    In recent trends, brochures are starting to mimic Infographics, with large cartoonish images that illustrate the statistics that the company is trying to convey. Consider the water company brochure above.

    The above brochure is for a spa. With the large images, and minimal text, it definitely conveys the cool and calm of a peaceful spa. There is beauty in the images and the choice of typography for the text: the fancy design has been stripped away.

    Not all brochures are created equal. They are distinct to each individual business, and should be designed in the same way. To grab a customer's attention, make your brochure stand out: the same technique that you apply to every branch of your company.

  • Banner Inspiration! Featuring Andre Muniz Gonzaga

    We have reached our 50th post! Hooray!!

    Alright, enough parties and confetti. Back to work!

    I want to introduce you to Andre Muniz Gonzaga, a Brazilian street artist who has done something truly fascinating with his world: painted the rocks. Nope, no blank brick walls for him: he's deemed unusually shaped rocks as his inspiration and canvas for his portraits. Yes, I said portraits. But it's not normal proportions that we're used to seeing. Take a look below:

    Do you see the face? Pretty gnarly, huh?

    Gonzaga has literally thought outside of the box by putting his art on objects we wouldn't expect, in addition to making them faces. It's like the feeling you get, when you the the grill and front headlight of a car are looking at you like a face. He saw the shape in these rocks, and simply brought that personification to life.

    Here's a couple more examples:

     What's this got to do with banners?

    Well, consider this: the rocks above, they're something you haven't seen before, yes? It's unexpected and draws your eye. This can applied for any form of advertising, banners and signs included. With a well-designed image, sometimes there's no need for text.

  • 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...)

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