White Space: Not Always White, but Always Good for Graphics

June 30th, 2015

White Space

One of the most common disagreements between designers and the business owners they are working with is the debate over something called white space. Someone working to get a message out about a product or service may be completely focused on communicating as many benefits as possible within a cramped space – which is easy to understand. Conversely, cramming too much information into a print or online ad can drive your designer crazy.

It may seem like your designer just wants your banner or tradeshow display to look pretty, but less really is more when it comes to communicating value to customers. Here are a few reasons why you need white space in each of your ads, on your website, and on your signs:

1) Human attention is limited.

A lack of white space makes it easier for people to ignore you. Think about sitting in a busy restaurant or circulating at a cocktail party. All around you are conversations full of interesting (and not so interesting) information. If you tried to listen to every conversation in the room, however, you’d go nuts. The same way you would want to focus on one conversation, you want your customer to focus on your most important message and ignore all other noise.

2) Cluttered ads, signs, or banners are hard to read.

Think of the advertising inserts that often come in newspapers: how photos and text boxes are crammed together one after another after another. Often these ads go straight into the trash, or else they sit neglected in your in-basket for. White space makes your most important message leap from the page and grab your customers by the shirt-collar saying, “Look at me!”

3) White space conveys elegance, authority, and sophistication.

The gray, white, and black of Apple. The sparse Google homepage. The Nike swoosh. Sure, these are all big names. All the better if your customer looks at your understated advertisements and thinks of these highly successful brands.

When you think about creating an effective advertisement such as a graphic wrap, focus on your most important message. On the highway, the customer might only have a moment to get an idea of what you’re all about. Use white space to highlight a clear, concise message, and they will remember your name.

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One Way or Another, Color Affects Your Customers

June 26th, 2015

Paint Colors

When you think of good advertising colors, do you always go bright and flashy? Do you prefer something muted and subdued? Or do you shy away from using color altogether?

Regardless of your own preference, what matters most is what will appeal to your customers. The CCI Institute for Color Research reports that between 60-90% or a person’s initial evaluation of a product is based on color alone. Based on those statistics, the colors you choose for your graphic wraps and signs are crucial to your sales.

The old-school approach to color was the idea that certain colors signify different meanings according to different cultures. For example, in the West, the color white is a symbol of purity and is used for bridal gowns; however, in East Asian cultures, white traditionally is used for funerals and brides still often don red gowns instead.

Now, though, different cultures have blended the meanings of these colors together.

Things to Consider When Choosing the Right Color for Your Brand or Product

  1. Is it appropriate for your product?

You may love bold reds and the drama of thick black lines, but if your business is selling organic baby food or puppy-sitting, you might need to go a little outside your comfort zone. Run the color combination by your audience, maybe via Facebook or Twitter, and ask what it makes them think about. If your favorite colors rub your intended customers the wrong way, try something else.

  1. Is it easy to read?

A bright yellow set against a muted red background might look fine on your computer, but your customers might have a hard time seeing your sign from the highway. You might like both the green and the blue, but do they contrast enough to convey your message?

  1. Will it look good at different sizes?

Your combination of colors may look amazing as a decal on the side of your vehicle or on your shop window. Will it still look good when you scale it down to fit on your brochures or other marketing materials? Try it at a couple of different sizes and get a second opinion from a professional on whether your chosen color combination will scale well.

With globalization complicating the way we view symbols, the traditional way of thinking about color might not be so “black and white” (wink), but feedback from professional designers as well as your audience can help you make the right choice.

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Things to Remember When Going Global with Trade Shows

June 18th, 2015

Passport

Technology and increased opportunities for affordable travel have made it easier than ever to sell products all over the world. One way to break into or expand within the international market is to display at a major international trade show. While many of the biggest shows take place in the US, there are also some influential shows in other places such as the IFA Electronics Trade Show in Berlin, Germany and the Indian International Trade Show in Dehli, India.

There are a lot of things to take into account when you are preparing to exhibit in another country. Here are a few things to remember when it comes to strutting your stuff on the world stage.

1) Make a plan while staying flexible. 

You might be a pro when it comes to trade shows stateside, but be ready for things to be different when you are in a completely new place. Check publications from the organization hosting the exhibition, and if you have questions, call their customer service number (don’t forget about differences in time zones). If possible, talk to someone from your home country that has displayed at the same show before about what they found to be different. And remember, even if you have done your homework, there will always be a few surprises along the way.

2) Be prepared for technological differences. 

Don’t forget that other countries have different outlets than what you are used to, requiring different plugs. To protect your equipment (and to be able to use it in the first place), check on the type of plugs and electrical currents that exist where you are going. You can usually buy adapters in airports, but if you give yourself enough advanced-shopping time (or ask around your network), you can often save a bundle.

3) Invest in easy-to-transport displays.

You can get a quality trade show display that’s relatively lightweight to save on shipping costs. If you do decide to use your own displays, it’s a good idea to ship your equipment ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about the airline company losing your displays. Be aware that shipping out of the country can take up to 30 days, and check on any holidays or political conditions (strikes, for example) that will be occurring around the time that you will be shipping your materials.

Going beyond your comfort zone can be uncomfortable but also extremely exciting and great for business. Bon voyage!

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5 Tricks of the Trade Show with Interactive Tablets

June 11th, 2015

iPad

Tablets do wonders for consumer engagement within many different scenarios. You could show a client sketches or projected profits while pitching an idea or display your product inventory to potential buyers.

Using these tech tools at a trade show is no exception to the rule. If you can’t quite see the difference yet, consider these five advantages of using tablets in your trade show booth.

  1. Remember these three letters: “E-C-O”. These letters stand first for “economy” of space. That means you can skip lugging the boxes of contact forms to the show and leave room for more impressive displays. Eco also stands for “eco-friendly”…as in think of all the paper you’ll save!
  2. Don’t rely on the convention hall’s Wi-Fi. We’ve all been there: halfway through a promising conversation with a potential client, you decide to provide visual aids from your website. Then it happens…you get an error message. The Wi-Fi has quit. Tablets have the capability to make their own Wi-Fi hotspots, meaning you don’t have to rely on the venue to provide access to the Internet for you.
  3. Provide vivid, up-to-date visual aids to potential customers. With tablets, whether Android or Apple, you are able to quickly illustrate your pitches and use multimedia methods to show your clients what you are made of. You can update the information on your tablet even while you’re in the airport on your way to the show. It definitely beats having to correct out of date information by hand the way you would have to with printed materials.
  4. Pique their curiosity. Interactive technology and colorful gadgets can awaken the fun-loving kid inside of a room full of professional adults. Inquisitive businesspeople will be drawn in by the interactive experience, and will learn about what your business has to offer them in the process.
  5. Take names. Having already snared the interest of your potential clients, it’s easy to offer them a contact form to fill out. Using the tablet reduces friction, meaning since you’ve removed the hassle of having to take out a form and fill it out with a pen or pencil, they are more likely to grant you their contact information.

It’s always good to have paper on hand, but tablets can only enhance your trade show display and create a positive experience for visitors.

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Even Low-Lying Details Can Raise Your Bottom Line

May 28th, 2015

Rollable Bamboo Flooring

When visitors step into your tradeshow display, are you truly inviting them into the world of your company and products?

Within your trade show space, you have the opportunity not only to demonstrate how irresistible your products are, but also to really show what your company culture is all about. That effect doesn’t have to just be reserved for the messages declared in banners and eye-level tradeshow displays. You can also show who you are as a company in the more low-level detail.

And that’s “low-level” in the most literal sense of the word. The right flooring can crank up the personality displayed in your space and communicate what you value to potential customers.

Bamboo flooring, in particular, says some very specifically positive things about you and your business:

You’re practical. Bamboo flooring has more tensile strength than steel, so it’s durable enough to bear the weight of thousands of conference attendees throughout the day. It’s also flexible and lightweight, making it easier to pack and transport.

You care about the environment. Compared to most trees used for wood products, bamboo grows back and matures much more quickly. That means it’s a more renewable, sustainable resource than wood. Bamboo also soaks up more carbon and produces more oxygen than many other trees.

You pay attention to what customers want. As mentioned in an earlier blog touting the benefits of bamboo, an increasing number of consumers worldwide seek out companies that demonstrate environmental responsibility. Your bamboo floor sends a message that says you get what today’s consumer wants and you are ready to meet them at their level.

When you invite a customer into the world of your company, you want them to drink in their surroundings and stay awhile. If nothing unique jumps out at them, though, they might just take a brochure and move on to another booth.

Things that you might think are no big deal have the power to capture show-goers’ interests.  

Most salespeople know that psychology is always at play when it comes to buying and selling. Someone could be captivated by a color, a word, or even a silent message they get from your display materials. Something as basic as the sustainable flooring they’re standing on can be the tipping point that turns a window-shopper into a paying customer.

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Roll-Up Banners: Small Space, Big ROI

May 18th, 2015

When you have a good mind for marketing, you know that you need a variety of different sales-weapons in your arsenal in order to make the most of opportunities. Some situations call for large, impressive displays that tower overhead and draw eyes from all over a large room. Some events, however, call for something simpler.

Expand Media Quickscreen

Retractable banner stands by Expand Media

A roll-up banner stand, or retractable banner stand, is a versatile tool that makes the most of a small amount of space. That means it’s easy to bring on trips, presentations to other businesses, small conferences, open houses, and more. The fact that these banners expand to impact a larger space once you have reached your destination makes them a go-to for any active salesperson or event coordinator. Most of these pop-up stands are not only easy to transport, but they only take about 30 seconds to set up.

Different banner stands have their individual perks, according to what your message calls for. For example, you might be in charge of organizing parties or exhibitions for your business and require new banners to reflect a changing calendar of events. In that case, you would need a retractable banner stand where the banner can be easily exchanged, like the Expand Media Quickscreen 3, which has a removable cassette system for that very purpose.

We don’t skimp on quality or legibility just because pop-up and retractable stands are so convenient. Some of these stands have extra features that will help draw the eye to your message. And all of them include the high-resolution graphics that eGenoa is known for on the banners themselves. You can also elect to get a two-sided stand that speaks to people passing from either side like the Expand MediaScreen 2 Double Sided Retractable Banner Stand. Many of these banner stands also include lamps that literally shine a spotlight on the graphic and message that you want to feature.

Call eGenoa today to get one of these convenient yet compelling pieces for your marketing toolbox.

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Even with Signage, It’s What’s on the Inside that Matters Most

May 6th, 2015

It’s easy to become fixated on getting the sign over your door to look absolutely perfect. After all, it’s the first thing people see when they pass by, or when they’ve read your glowing reviews online and are trying to find your storefront or office. An outdoor sign is the face of your business and one of your strongest marketing tools. This we know.

All the same, if a customer sees your glowingly professional outdoor sign, and then walks into a store full of mismatched and underdeveloped directions and promotions, your outdoor sign suddenly loses a lot of its allure. Good branding calls for continuity, and that means any signage that communicates a message to your customers needs to look the part.

To paraphrase Jeffrey Lebowski, good indoor signs really tie the room together.

The Dude

Indoor signs have the power to improve the way your customers see you as a professional. They can also help you meet your customers’ routine needs more smoothly and automatically. Having clearly visible, well-constructed directional signs, for example, can give your employees more time to make sales instead of having to explain where customers can find the deli counter or the bathroom. Good point of sale signs can draw customers into the right place to buy your products, and they won’t even have to worry about whether they’re standing in the right line.

Another upside of indoor signs is there is a lot more freedom to explore unique materials, colors, and fonts, and less need to protect against the elements. You can express your business’ personality using acrylic, wood, vinyl graphics, or whatever else strikes you as an enticing idea for department markers or promotional displays. Any sign maker worth his or her salt will be happy to help guide your creative vision and create indoor ambiance that will impress whoever walks through your door.

So don’t splurge on a high-quality outdoor sign only to skimp on what’s inside. Like our moms used to say, “It’s what’s on the inside that counts.”

Funny Laundromat Sign

Our designers and graphic installation pros at eGenoa have ample experience designing compelling indoor graphics and signs for businesses all over San Luis Obispo and the Central Coast and even beyond…thanks to our belonging to the nationwide 3M network. Check out our portfolio for ideas about how indoor signs can amp up the authority of your business.

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