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An Introduction To Digital Signage - Part 1

Digital signage can open a whole new world of publicity and advertisement avenues for a business, especially a small one that cannot afford to pay huge amounts for print and electronic publicity and which has its market in a well-defined geographical area. It is such an effective communication medium that digital signage has grown to become a $20 billion industry. Projections are that it will grow even more rapidly in the coming years. If you are a small or a medium business owner, digital signage is an aspect of business which you cannot afford to ignore. To be able to use it to grow a business, it is important to understand what digital signage is.

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 What is digital signage?

To put it very simply, digital signage is a screen or set of screens that display information and content to the market. The content can be repeated or varied as much as is required. If digital signs are placed at multiple locations, the content can be controlled centrally. The essence of digital signage is that, it must be flexible so that the content can be changed when required, and also catch the attention of those who see it. The content must be such that it stays in the memory, to be recalled when the need for the advertised product or service arises, and also strong and durable enough to withstand continuous outdoor use.

 How it began

Signs have been around since the first humanoids learned how to draw pictures on cave walls to convey information. Digital signs, as we know them today, have been around since the early 1990s. The first digital signs were video walls made with old CRT TVs to create a platform on which continually variable and animated content could be displayed. The advent of the flat screen a few years later meant that content could be better displayed with signage taking up less space. The next stage in the evolution of digital signs was the arrival of computer-generated media which could quickly churn out varied content at low cost and directly place the material on the digital signs. Soon content management software was developed to automate the process and make it even more efficient.

 How it is used today

Digital signage has become the way for a business to communicate directly with the market at a defined location in a dynamic and positive manner. The concept of digital signs is today moving away from the idea of huge towering signage as is seen in New York, in Times Square, to more focused smaller signs that target specific potential buyers with variations and cater to precise marketing needs. For example, a digital sign in a busy commercial area could remind those going to work in the morning that coffee and donuts are available nearby. In the evening it could remind passersby that a convenience store is around the corner where they could pick up their essential shopping.

 Part 2 of this blog will look at other things you need to know about digital signs.

How Marketing and Technology Trends are Shaping Signage

Signage has evolved rapidly since the 1990s in lockstep with advances in technology and business models. Newer business models and more companies entering the fray automatically call for more aggressive, unique and insightful marketing. Signage has evolved from a mere necessity around the premises, to an important component in the advertising story. Various influences from technology and marketing trends are shaping modern day signage..

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Marketing trends shaping signage

  • Simple designs: Clunky signage with a lot of messages crammed into it is becoming extinct. Simple and short messages in unique, elegant and modern fonts are the rage. They stand out from the clutter and scream “class” from a distance. Backgrounds and borders are also more refined to help the text and imagery stand out.

  • Vintage designs: Vintage designs from the world war era have an antique value and bring a smile on viewers’ faces. This is being exploited cleverly by advertisers in industries where the offerings are simple, and trust is important while buying. Hand-lettering, aged timber, the worn-out look and various other techniques help recreate the vintage look.

  • Newer printing techniques: Wide-format printers, flatbed printers and UV-resistant ink have all made it easy to generate attractive and long-lasting signage, that can be used for outdoor advertising such as banners, hoardings, vehicle wraps and signage at event venues.

  • 3D Printing: 3D Printing has come a long way from being merely used to create models for architects and medical institutions since the 70s. Today, it is revolutionizing signage with its ease of generating unique, odd-shaped and intricate designs that hugely differentiate advertisers from their competititors!

Technology trends shaping signage

  • LEDs for Neon lighting:  Neon lighting which so far has been using gas tubes at its core, is now being replaced by LED lights. The LED lights give Neon signs more flexibility, making it easy to generate signage that is unique in their look and feel. LEDs are also less expensive and more energy-efficient compared to Neon-gas cores, thereby reducing the overall cost to advertisers.

  • Digital signage: Digital signage maximizes the space available and capital invested in the signage space by allowing messages to change constantly. This alone is driving many advertisers to migrate to digital signage. Further, digital signage is evolving rapidly by incorporating newer technologies that makes it more effective. Some of them are interactive and self-service screens, touch screens, data analytics, 3D screens etc.

  • Programmable DOOH: Digital Out of Home (DOOH) advertising which includes digital signage, radio and TV advertising has also evolved with time. Unlike traditional DOOH which requires a lot of human intervention and management, programmatic DOOH uses advances in wireless communication, data analytics, smart software and special screens to program the content to be displayed from time to time. This helps advertisers push messages with considerable insight while reducing the overall cost and hassle.

  • Responsive and dynamic content: Interactivity is the buzzword everywhere. Touch screens which display actionable messages help consumers make bookings or download information such as brochures and data sheets. They can also choose to view more details on the screen, play a different video, or listen to a testimonial in the background. All of these help shorten the time to purchase.

Conclusion

Signage will keep evolving with time in order to stay relevant and reflect contemporary trends. This opens up a world of possibilities for advertisers and helps them maximize returns from their advertising spend. It helps achieve what marketing and advertising Guru Peter Drucker hinted at, when he said “The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous”.

Creating Signs That Attract Customers

The world we live in is increasingly dominated by technology and when it comes to marketing and advertising, people tend to look at online and mobile publicity avenues as the way to go. However, while electronic media does play a major role in business promotion, the signboard is still a key factor in attracting customers.This is something that all business people have discovered. While the type of sign may vary, its importance cannot be disputed. According to a recent survey, over 60% of small business owners in the age group of 18 to 34 place value on creativity and uniqueness whereas those of the older age group give more value to the content of the sign. Either way, the importance of creating signs that attract attention to a business cannot be argued upon. There are 3 key factors that need to be taken into account when creating signs.

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Color

Color is a critical ingredient in a sign. Think of any well-known company and there is a color associated with it – “McDonald’s yellow” is a good example. The continued use of a pattern of colors will, over a period of time, make those hues part of a business’s identity. If a hardware store uses black and gold for its signage, both outdoor and indoor, these colors will become part of its identity and customers will be reminded of it when they see this color combination – black and gold means hardware. However, choosing the colors is something that requires careful planning. It may be tempting to use “trendy” colors but trends do not last and a color scheme that is trending today could be old fashioned tomorrow.

Readability

A sign conveys information and this means that there will be text. Choosing the right font is important. A flowing, artistic style of lettering will not convey the image that a security company wants to convey. For this business, the font should be strong and clear. Color plays a role here too. The contrast between the background colors and that of the text must be such that the text is clearly visible, while at the same time not clashing with the background. A sign with a green background and light blue lettering will not be easy to read. Size is the third factor to consider. The text must be large enough to be easily read while not overwhelming the total image that the sign aims to create.

Size

Size matters, but bigger is not always better. A sign must be large enough to catch the eye of those passing by, but not so big that it stands out like a sore thumb and dominates the place in which it is located. This will create a negative impact with people thinking that the sign, irrespective of how good it is, is ugly and out of place.

Combining these elements to create signs that work, requires expertise in design and knowledge as to what type of sign should be used for which application. That is why the process of designing, fabricating and installing a sign is best left to a professional sign making companywhich will be able to strike the right balance and produce signs that work in terms of bringing in customers.

Entice customers and boost business, with Window Graphics

Businesses, establishments or spaces that offer services or products require branding in order to attract visitors or potential customers. While there are several ways to brand your services or products to capture the attention of the target audience, you can be certain that the space will have a door and a minimum of one window in it. These doors and windows provide tremendous visibility from a brand perspective and are a powerful tool for marketers to consider.

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Types of Window Graphics and Lettering

According to research by Werremeyer, an award-winning creative communications agency, over 50% of customers learn about your business or services from in-store or on-premise branding or signage. And window graphics and lettering are an integral part of such on-premise branding.Popular types of window graphics and lettering:·   Vinyl: Cut-vinyl lettering are a good low-cost option for branding and offer multiple colours with white being the predominant color. Perforated vinyls have little holes to allow people on the inside to look out.

·    Frosted Effects: These offer an extremely elegant look with film or letters. They give an etched-glass look allowing light to enter but at the same time are not see-through.

·   Cling: Cling films come in white and clear and are most commonly used by car service or car washes to stick on the back of a car window. These are ideal for short-term needs.

·    Digital Prints: Digital prints give you the freedom to use graphics or images with relative ease. Coupled with cut-vinyl, these can be very striking in terms of imagery and boldness of letters and colors.

·   Window wraps and murals: Wraps can transform any window into a billboard with high-quality displays. Use these to make a statement with intricate designs and complement your text.

How to use window graphics to enhance your premises?

Depending on the type of window graphics being used, various materials are used to affix the graphics onto windows or doors.In the signage industry, window stickers are referred to as window decals and are generally a one-time use material. Decals are more permanent and once fixed cannot be repositioned. Window decals have adhesive that is used to stick to the window or door surface. These adhesives are industrial-grade and resistant to water, heat and other elements making them long-lasting. Once you stick the decal onto the surface, you can make minor adjustments to position it immediately. However, once left for longer than 20 mins, they become extremely hard to move as the adhesive’s effect kicks in.

Clings, on the other hand, do not have adhesive to affix to the surface. They stick to a surface through a static charge between the cling film and the window. The advantage with this material is that it can be repositioned and moved as and when needed, giving room for change.

Conclusion

Window Graphics and Lettering offer a powerful way to attract visitors and customers to premises. These can be in various forms such as window decals of various types or cling films of various types. Depending on how often these need to be changed, marketers can determine their choice. While decals are more permanent, clings give you the freedom to change often, as they are stuck through static charge as opposed to an adhesive. Either way, window graphics are an essential tool for businesses to communicate and attract walk-in customers.

Getting The Right Signage for Your Business

Whether you are an established business that has been around for decades or a new business that is just in the process of establishing itself, the first thing you would need to attract customers to your office is signage. This speaks volumes about your business at first glance. Bystanders and passers by will immediately take notice if you have catchy or elegant looking signage. Your prospective customers get a sense of pride walking into an office where the signage outside spells success. 

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Types of Signs

There are several ways to brand your business. The signage industry has gone through significant innovation in materials, offering options for all budgets. Depending on the type of business you run here are a few options to keep in mind:

Window Decals

If your business has a lot of windows to the outside world, then this is a must-have. Decals make good use of your windows by applying a simple sticker material. It makes for great visuals and will ensure your premise is not missed by any customer or passerby.

Digital Signage

While you can have a traditional board and poster signage printed on acrylic to highlight the space above the doorway of your business, you can add a digital signage below it. Digital signages allow you to share easy updates or unique messages on a real-time basis. This makes it interactive for visitors and prospective customers.

Banners

These can be used all year round and can hold up larger standing banners. Their weighted bases allow them to withstand wind and extreme changes in weather and are easy to move around if you want to rush them indoors.

Vehicular Graphics

These can be all year round, as a lot of bright and eye-catching wraps on vehicles. They are easy to get done, relatively moderate on the pocket, offer mobile branding and are certain to raise a few eyebrows.

Vinyl

Given the durability and ease of use of vinyl, it is always one of the best choices. It can withstand extreme heat, rain and cold and hence is ideal all year round as well. It is relatively easy on the pocket as well.

A-Frames

A-frames or pavement signs can adorn your patio, sidewalk or be kept at your door. Depending on your ad or campaign, you have multiple shapes and sizes to choose from.

Materials used in signage

There are several options that exists in the market today. Some of the more common materials are wood, metal, acrylic and glass. Wood and metal generally are more long term and maintenance free. With an all-weather quote of polish on wood, it will last a lifetime. Metal comes in various shapes and forms and with powder coating, color options exist to liven a space up. Acrylic and glass may require a little bit more care from a cleaning standpoint to keep them looking new.

Conclusion

Several signage options exist in the market today. Depending on the budget, type of business and location, a good mix of signage can be extremely beneficial.

Interior Signage To Improve Your Brand Image

When it comes to signage, a lot of emphasis is generally given to exterior signage and branding. A key aspect in extending this brand recall memory and imagery, is the use of interior signage. Interior signs are a great extension of your brand and can do wonders to further add value to your company’s products or services.

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Interior signage options to increase brand visibility:

Floor graphics

Adding floor graphics to your stairs and hallways can do wonders to spruce up dull areas and add life and color to your space. You can use them to reinforce key messages or simply just as directional signs. The power of high-quality floor graphics and creatives is under-rated.

Wall murals

In case you like to add a famous quote, inspirational words or even wish to communicate key messages about your brand, wall murals can be extremely engaging for customers who visit your space. Transform the area with soothing images to create a warm atmosphere within the office space.

Table graphics

Every office space and storage facility has tables. These are great opportunities for you to showcase your brand and keep reinforcing your message. They also add life to otherwise dull tables and uniquely differentiate them from the others. Watch, as you start seeing Instagram posts of your tables! They also help identify specific areas of the office with tables, which can be personalized as required.

Window graphics

Window graphics can be used, to extend branding to the exterior décor and can have a practical use in blocking the sun, or areas which you do not want to be visible to outsiders. Displaying contact information and exhibiting product or service photographs in action ,can make your business look more appealing.

Glass graphics

The use of graphics on the glasses within the office offers you a lot of area to work with. Most office spaces or facilities have a lot of glass partitions which can be covered with graphics to showcase the brand or messages. They not only offer privacy but also make the space lively in the process.

Which interior signage works best for you?

So how do you go about choosing the best interior graphics for your space? Well the answer to the simple question, “What does my space mostly consist of? ” will help you . If you have more of solid walls than glass partitions, then wall graphics or wall murals might look impressive. Do you have a lot of open floor space or staircases within your facility? If yes, then floor graphics definitely should be  considered to make the space look cheerful.

Conclusion

Several options exist for interior branding and you need to understand the space available, in order to decide which form of interior branding you want. Think a bit about what makes up most of your space and then work towards filling them with engaging and lively interior branding.

Improving Brand Visibility with Signage

The most pertinent question as an owner or marketing lead for a company is whether people can find your business easily. Simply putting up one sign on top of your doorway may not be enough. There are other creative ways to improve your brand visibility and keep your company name etched in people’s minds.

Signage Options to Increase Brand Visibility

Monument Signs
These can be made from stone, metal or even wood. They look grand and will remain etched in a person’s memory once they pass it. They are built to last and can withstand the elements extremely well. They are generally stand-alone structures at the front of a building or driveway. A custom backlit graphic panel or digital display can be used to further enhance the impact of the sign and portray a brand’s personality.

Floor Graphics
The power of high-quality floor graphics and creatives is under-rated. If a business is located close to a main street or in the path of a lot of thoroughfare then floor graphics can greatly enhance brand visibility. They can grab attention very quickly and serve as a great medium to share key messages, or lead potential customers right to your front door where they could be greeted by you.

Window Graphics
Window graphics can be used to extend branding to the exterior décor and can additionally be of practical use by blocking the sun or areas that you don’t want outsiders to see. Putting contact information and showing product or service photos in action can make your business more easily discoverable.

Vehicle Graphics
Vehicle decals or graphics can serve as a great advertising mechanism and at a relatively low cost. If you have run a business that requires a fleet of cars or quite simply, makes you move around in your car a lot then this is a must-do. Take your branding on the road with vehicle graphics to spread your message and promote your business with every mile driven. When not on the road, park your wrapped vehicle in a high traffic area to get noticed.

Digital Signage
Using digital signage is a great way to get noticed because of the flexibility and creativity it offers. With digital signage, including LED screens, scrolling outdoor signs and interactive kiosks, you can customize and communicate multiple messages to people using colorful graphic, motion, and if desired, even sound.

Choosing the right option for your business
While several options exist as listed above, choosing what works for your business is key. Depending on where your business might be located coupled with the budget you may have in mind, a mix of a few options would be ideal. It is worth investing in quality branding as this lasts a long time and is generally a one-time cost if done right. Spend some time to evaluate the best mix for your business.

Conclusion
Multiple options exist to increase brand visibility. Based on location, type of business and budget, an owner or decision-maker can consider more than one option to best enhance their brand visibility.

Trade show Banner Stands: Putting your Best Foot forward

Digital economy has created various channels for marketing departments of business organizations to increase visibility and improve branding. However, creating the right metrics to measure the effectiveness of campaigns is a challenge: most businesses seek tangible numbers while digital economy is all about various intangible benefits.

In such a scenario, trade show participation continues to be a reliable mechanism to create impact and show numbers at the same time.

Tradeshow collateral

Maximizing ROI from tradeshow participation requires a well-orchestrated strategy. Marketing paraphernalia include brochures, handouts, takeaway gifts, order forms, booth graphics, banners and banner stands.

More about banner stands

Banner stands are one of the most popular tools in the hands of marketers. Unlike static booth graphics, you can move around banner stands with ease, and experiment with their placement at different locations for maximum impact. Furthermore, you can replace easily the artwork to cover a wide range of messages and offerings. For this reason, they go by the name Pop-up Displays.

Banner stands are of different types depending on the size, the location where they are used and the material used for the graphics.

Retractable banner stands

Retractable Banner stands, the most popular option, offer convenience and sophistication in a cost-effective manner. Here, the artwork is rolled into a floor-mounted base, rolled up and propped up with a pole.

  • Material: The artwork is generally made of vinyl, which is long lasting, easy to maintain, and comes with a protective carrying case.

  • Panels: These can be single or double sided with snap-open rail and tension control.

  • Base styles: These can be truss, pedestal or diagonal, in either anodized silver or black finish.

  • Artwork: Digital printing in full-bleed makes these banners stand out even from a long distance.

  • Illumination: Illumination is possible to maximize impact, as is done in retail showrooms and exhibition centers.

  • Cost: Common models feature pre-installed graphics, where the artwork retracts into the base; high-end models feature cartridges for replacing the artwork with ease.

Tabletop banner stands

Tabletops, as the name implies, are smaller and placed on a table. While the retractable banners entice visitors with catchy messages and graphics, tabletop ones make the visitor reflect on the offerings and arrive at a decision. Here again, the tabletops can be propped up horizontally or vertically and they come in different materials and sizes.

Poster stands

These are the oldest form of banners featuring a static pole and a panel for the artwork to fit in. These can be single-paneled with single or double-sided artwork or double-paneled where the panels are joined at the top and moved apart to form an ‘A’.

Backdrop stands

These are used when larger and heavier banners need to be flexibly placed at an event or commercial enterprise. The stand consists of a sturdy metallic frame made of two or three poles. The artwork is attached to the frame using custom hardware such as hems and grommets, snap rings, wire-locking rings and s-rings.

Banner stands may appear a simple and straightforward choice for marketing managers. However, for best results, you would do well to engage a reputed professional signage company who are update on innovations in this area and can maximize ROI from your expenditure.

Boost Your Sales with Large Format Digital Printing Products

Marketing departments continue to face new challenges even in the age of digital advances and automation. According to the 2017 State of Inbound Report, some of the top challenges included identifying the right technology for marketing needs. This is quite significant as technology is a great enabler in the hands of marketers. 

Consider printing for example. Offset and other types of printing technology are laborious, cumbersome and time-consuming; they slowed down the pace of campaigns, until the advent of large format digital printing in 1991.

What is large format digital printing?

Large format digital printers are much larger computer-controlled printing machines; they use much larger print rolls, the width of which can range between 18” and 100”. No plates or cylinders are involved in the printing process. The technology is generally inkjet, where nozzles fire jets of ink directly on to the large-sized print roll fed into the printer. 

Why is it so popular?

Business organizations rely hugely on large format printing today, as it’s a great combination of low-cost, quick turnaround and high quality printing.
 

  • Affordability: Other forms of printing such as lithography and offset require first templates that use film plates, photo chemicals and lots of ink; no wonder they cost more. In contrast, digital printing requires no such preparation; printing is done directly and instantly and so it is affordable.
  • Flexibility: Since the data for printing is created and stored digitally, it’s easy to make quickly design changes and enhancements in real time and with minimum effort, allowing multiple designs to be printed in every batch.
  • Consistency: Other types of printing such as screen and offset show variations between one print to another; this is due to dependency on hardware. On the other hand, digital printing software controls these parameters effectively, and hence prints are consistent throughout.
  • Variety: Digital printers use water-based inks or UV curable screen printing inks. The latter allows printing on any surface or material such as paper, glass, wood, vinyl or sintra.
  • Speed: There is no need for any preparation or prior setup and all processes are digital. Thus, large format digital printers can output 5x4 or larger prints than other print technologies, making it possible for the entire printing job to be completed the same day.
  • Eye-catching: Large format banners and posters used in billboards or hoardings are terribly eye-catching; they bring more conversions than print media content, making them ideal for advertising.
  • Long-lasting: Thanks to the quality of inks used in large format digital printing, banners, posters and billboards printed this way can last for months or even a year, braving the elements without any deterioration in quality.
  • Eco-friendly: Other forms of printing require printing to be done in bulk. This is wasteful and toxic to the environment as the unused prints are dumped as trash. In contrast, digital printing requires no preparation, and so prints can be taken as and when needed.


Large format digital print products

The following are popular large format digital print products:
 

  • Vinyl Sign Banners
  • Custom Printed Signs
  • Posters (cloth/paper/vinyl)
  • Booth Graphics
  • Printed Stickers
  • Retail Graphics
  • Hoardings and billboards
  • Backlit Signs
  • Stretched, fine art Canvas Prints
  • Floor Graphics
  • Canvas Prints
  • Wall Paper
  • Building wraps
  • Printed Table Cloths


Large format digital prints are what you may need to boost your sagging sales. It is best to engage a reputed professional agency, which will do a good job and record impressive returns from your outdoor campaigns.

Tradeshow Collateral : Getting them Right

Across industry sectors, tradeshows are the most important weapon in the arsenal of Sales and Marketing departments of small and mid-sized organizations. They provide an opportunity to study in a quick and convenient manner the level of competition, the emerging trends in the business, and the cream of prospects.

No wonder, tradeshows are big business in the US; in 2015 alone, they consumed a whopping amount of 12.6 billion USD (source: Statista.com). 

Addressing tradeshow challenges through collateral

Despite their popularity, tradeshows are not without their share of challenges, some of which are listed below:
 

  • Booth Management: The first major challenge is to arrive at the right number-and-profile mix of competent people that would operate effectively the booth.
  • Outsourcing or not: While it has become a trend to outsource booth staff, it doesn’t work well for every type of business.
  • Effective Communication for Conversion: Clearly, the most important aspect of the tradeshow is to convert warm prospects that visit the booth into hot leads for sales. This requires effective communication and meaningful interaction.


Booth graphics have emerged as a common and dependable solution to address these challenges. A judicious blend of fixed and mobile signage elements of different sizes would be handy: they can answer graphically frequently asked questions of prospects, impress them with stunning imagery, and coax them into a decision by presenting insightful data. 

Getting right tradeshow collateral elements
 

  • Logo or Header Banner: Tradeshow exhibitors today junk away the simple nameplates provided by tradeshow organizers, and replace them with custom-made, large-sized banner or panel with the company’s logo, tagline and impressive imagery. These are backlit or frontlit to stand out from a distance and attract visitors. Some companies have even gone on to replace this with an LCD screen that plays videos and animated graphics.
  • Booth Wall Graphics: Also called backdrop panels, booth wall graphics can occupy either part of or the entire wall space provided by the organizers. These are usually vinyl rolls, which can be rolled and carried in a canister. The panel banner can reflect spotlights all around and can be distracting; but rolls that have a pebble finish surface can solve this problem by deflecting part of the light.
  • Standees or Banner Stands: Since the late 1990s, collapsible standees or banners have become the rage at tradeshows. This is because they are retractable rolls that can fit neatly into a metal container. Unlike booth graphics, these are mobile enough to move around and ease human traffic, or entice visitors when kept at booth entrances. These can feature eye-catching imagery and thought-provoking copy.
  • Signage: Signage could be hanging posters and banners that carry little nuggets of information about the company, or products. These can feature attractive images and could be given away as souvenirs.
  • Tabletop Displays: In addition to brochures and printouts given to prospects, tabletop displays too could be small, foldable paper knick-knacks that contain useful information, prizes, offers or coupons. These can charm prospects and incentivize them into making a decision.


Booth Graphics can make or break your tradeshow participation by alluring or turning off prospects. Engage a competent professional agency that can develop high-quality booth graphics and other tradeshow collateral, which can make prospects spend more time in your booth. This in itself is a big victory for you and goes a long way in increasing sales.