Monday, April 27, 2015

It's All About The Color...

Well, That Depends

Did you ever go to a car dealer in search of a new vehicle and find the right model, but the wrong color? Or maybe the dealer offered you a great deal on the funky colored edition that no one will buy..yes, many of us have been there done that.

But Vital Signs has a solution for you. Car wraps are no longer just for displaying graphics and marketing text. One of the newest vehicle crazes in the signage industry, is what we in the industry call, a " Color Wrap ", or more simply, Vehicle Color Change.

In some markets, this new product offering is called 'automotive restyling '. Whether you wish to wrap your 'old faithful ' set of wheels to make it look new or you simply want to protect the paint job on your new vehicle, color change wraps are exploding in popularity.

Like It's Been Dipped In Vinyl

The time and attention that is given to a color change wrap is much more detailed than a commercial wrap. Care is given to wrap each and every surface of the vehicle. The car is broken down by removing side mirrors, lights, and handles. Each and every panel is wrapped.

Because of the rapid growth in the vehicle restyling arena, vinyl manufacturers are quickly being driven to produce a variety of new vinyl colors with unique finishes. Equally, the vinyls have strict performance criteria that must allow them to perform on the car in a way that makes them appear and function as if they are a beautiful paint job.


Not To Worry..

If you didn't get the car color that you really wanted or your old set of wheels is demanding new life, Vital Signs can help! Our certified wrap installers can wrap and re-new your car's exterior surface just like new!

Why Paint When You Can Wrap!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Vital Signs Offers Residential Products!

RE-SI-DEN-TIAL Products??

Yes! Bet you didn’t know that Vital Signs offers products that have to do with decorating someone’s living space? Think Again.
One of the things that I particularly enjoy about the sign and graphics business that we are in, is our ability to design & produce many creative applications.
When Steve (my husband & Vital Signs Co-Owner) & I sprinted into ‘ Empty Nesterhood ‘, we decided to sell our big house & buy a condo. One of the things that I thought might be fun is to infuse various art applications that we have the ability to design and produce in our business, into our home decorating space.

What Kind Of Design Applications?

We began this process by finding decorative artwork that we would like to display in our home. There are many stock art sites online which allow individuals or businesses to purchase a digital art file(s) at a very affordable price. Even taking one’s personal photographs or sketches can become custom art, like we did below. There are various printing media choices that Vital Signs offers in which to print the designs on. For instance, we could have chosen a poster paper-type media to print on, put the print in a frame & hung it on the wall.
A Touch of Pittsburgh!
Or we might have chosen one of our newer self-adhesive fabric medias, which is an easy re-positional, peel & stick type. This media can be moved, re-used and is a wonderful choice for apartment dwellers and those who do not wish to make nail-holes in their walls.
However, what we chose for a few different art pieces in our home, was to print on canvas. Canvas now comes in multiple textures and finishes which allows for interesting effects. We simply stretched the canvas across a frame & then installed the art piece .
Glass Art ~ Picture taken at Phipps Conservatory

Forever Blowing Bubbles!

Custom Wallpaper, Too?

One of the popular trends with wallpaper, is to create a “focal wall”. That is, to apply wallpaper to one wall within a room to highlight it for effect. With this in mind, we chose a downstairs bathroom to apply our dramatic birch tree design to one wall. For a mural, wall wrap or custom wallpaper, Vital Signs has a few materials to choose from. We can use traditional wallpaper (which does require wallpaper glue & some type of lamination or over-protection). We can also use the above-mentioned peel & stick fabric media or even a low-tack removable vinyl, which is what we chose for our bathroom. If we get tired of it or want to try a different design, we simply peel it off the wall. So easy and no raw fingertips, broken nails or bad language involved.
Our Bathroom Birch Trees

What Else Can You Make?

I had always wanted to create a wall collage paying tribute to Steve’s alma-mater, West Point. So I chose the perfect living room wall space in which to do this. I started with his very large, framed college diploma. I surrounded the diploma with a lovely West Point plate on one side and an artist-commissioned irreverent metal donkey bust (the Army Mascot) wearing a ” Go Army “ scarf on the other side. I then added the Vital Signs-produced coup de grace design element to the top of the grouping, a room-matching engraved sign with the humorous, yet serious message, ” Eat, Drink and Beat Navy “!
Every room should be so fun!
Our most recent Vital Signs-generated design contribution is a frosted vinyl window application that we (Steve) applied. Our condo design includes a tall, slender window which lives above a stairway landing. It has always looked rather lonely. Off to the stock art sites I went in search of the perfect design. I was able to find a very simple, meandering bamboo tree design. Frosted vinyl is a neat application. It can give any window or glass door an expensive and custom etched glass look. There are two types of frosted vinyl that we use. One is a matte type, while the other includes very subtle sparkles which delicately twinkle when the sun shines through them.
A Touch of Bamboo
Steve may have just thought that the remodeling & ” honey-do ” list would shrink because our living space did. Au contraire..  not with all of the many custom design capabilities at Vital Signs.

Got It..

So the message here is that Vital Signs can do this for you too! We pride ourselves on our creativity and ‘ thinking outside of the box ‘ (or architectural space) ideas. But those creative ideas are not limited to use in only commercial spaces. One-of-a-kind art pieces and design applications don’t have to break the bank!
The next time you are thinking about the design prospects for your work or home living space, keep Vital Signs in mind. We are happy to brainstorm all of your creative and one-of-a-kind design possibilities!

Vital Signs Gives New Meaning to the ” Wall Flower ” Concept

Most people think that a sign company just manufactures signs. For some sign companies, that may be true. But for Vital Signs, it is not.
As the digital printing industry continues to explode with new printers, inks, medias, and methods for printing, the design possibilities have exploded along with it.
Never before has it been so easy to apply brilliant images to a wall with a variety of media textures with various finishes. Not only that, customers can create their own custom wall covering with a variety of textures to choose from.

Custom Wallpaper with NO GLUE!

Smooth, custom printed wall designs.
Looking for a design to cover the entire wall without using wallpaper glue? Vital Signs has the perfect peel and stick adhesive polyester fabric that does not peel, rip, wrinkle, or curl. The media can be used indoors or outdoors and does not even require a protective clear coat.
Of course we still provide the more familiar & traditional smooth media when creating custom wallpaper (which requires the use of wallpaper glue & a clear coat to protect it).
And for those eco-conscious designers and architects, we have non-PVC films as a sustainable alternative.
Whether you are looking for a simple focus wall, a total wall mural or a custom designed wallpaper, Vital Signs can help you brainstorm the possibilities.
It has never been easier to create a spectacular, one-of-a-kind wall…  We promise!

We Thank You For Your Service

When a Salute is not enough…
In honor of our Veterans
Not long ago, I stopped at a fast food establishment for lunch with my husband. As I mindlessly headed toward the door, I was stopped in my tracks. There at the head of a parking space was a sign which was reserved for Military Purple Heart Recipients.
It wasn’t the simple purple and white design of the sign that touched me. It was the thought behind the sign. Someone cared enough to honor our veterans in this simple way. I know that there are other similar signs which pay tribute to combat wounded veterans also.
In some of the townships near where I work & live, some communities are starting to pay recognition to their Vets by installing small banners with pictures of past and current military service men and women upon their telephone poles.
I don’t know about you, but I love this idea. It is a simple idea with a big sentiment behind it. We all know someone in our family or a friend who have served our country in the military.
In fact, our son is currently serving as a U.S. Marine Embassy Guard in Rome. In this day and age of Isis and terrorism, I find comfort in knowing that there are selfless men and women who risk their lives to protect mine.
Though a dedicated parking spot is only a small gesture to honor those who have sacrificed so much for all of us, at least it is an unexpected nod of thanks. I only hope that the public at large will not dishonor those veterans who are truly deserving of that spot, by parking in it.

Need Sign..Permit Required

Oh, the hassles you’ll see..

It’s Official. You’ve completed all of the paperwork to start your new business, secured a great location and are ready to start the build-out process.
One of the things you may not have considered, is the sign permit that is required to install your exterior business identification sign(s).
A sign permit includes very specific information about the proposed sign(s) to be installed. While all sign permits contain similarly required information, the necessary information may vary from township to township. For instance, in Pittsburgh, PA. (Allegheny County), there are 130 municipalities, each with their own set of specific sign permit criteria. Some of the criteria for a sign permit includes: Type of sign; Purpose of sign; Electrical sign work; Size of sign; Property setback; Linear frontage; Sign artwork/diagrams; Square Footage Calculation; Landlord Occupancy Permit, etc.

Because They Said So..

Relatively straightforward, most of the information required for a sign permit is easily supplied. However, obtaining Pittsburgh exterior sign permits became a bit more complicated in 2005.
A seven foot, 300 lb.,  letter“B” fell to the  ground when a cable  lifting the letter broke.  Fortunately, no one was  hurt, but a new,  mandated  requirement was  enacted. The  requirement dictates  that all exterior wall  signs are required to have a professional engineer to review and sign off on them, for all sign permits. An engineer will assess the proposed installation method to ensure that the proposed sign(s)can withstand specified wind loads.
In general, larger cities have more complex sign permit requirements. These sign permit requirements are regulated by specific townships and municipalities. Equally, there are also sign guidelines, criteria and permissions imposed by the landlords/owners of the individual buildings in which business owners wish to install a sign(s). On occasions, customers wish to put up a sign in a historically significant community. It then becomes necessary to create documentation that is presented to a review board for consideration of a sign variance.
Needed approval from additional authorities may include, an Architectural Planning Committee or a Historical Review Commission. Oh, and did I mention that more often, than not.. there is an annual fee for the privilege of displaying that business sign.

Permit us to help..

The best strategy to follow when obtaining occupancy/sign permit(s), is to take a detailed diagram of the type of proposed sign with details; colors, and sign specifications to the building owner/landlord first for their approval. With written landlord/owner approval in hand, then move on to the city for a signage permit.
Vital Signs is well acquainted with the sign permitting process in many communities of Southwest, PA. Some business owners will not mind the paperwork, process, time and travel involved in obtaining the occupancy permit/sign permit. But for the rest, Vital Signs is happy eliminate one less thing off of the very long ‘New Business’ punch list.
Please permit Vital Signs to help with ALL of your signage needs!!

Robocalls Ring Roadside Sign Code Violators

I like to blog about interesting sign topics and here’s one that I recently read caught my attention.
Apparently, several municipalities in Florida have adopted a new Robocall sign code enforcement system.  The system has been put into place to address the ever-   growing problems of roadside signs that have been illegally placed on public land. The system, considered a success by various Florida municipalities, repeatedly calls the numbers listed on the signs, pestering their owners into following county sign code. Once the sign owners notify the county that the signs are gone, code enforcement verifies it and their telephone numbers are removed from the system. In the Florida municipalities where the system is in use, some business owners have been upset at the robo-calls, calling them harassing. While a number of residents have been eager to help, by supplying telephone numbers.
Obviously, as a sign manufacturer, I see both sides of the sign, as it were. I understand that the effectiveness of these signs can dramatically effect the bottom lines of certain   businesses that rely on this type of roadside marketing. But as a law abiding Sign Manufacturer, we believe in following sign codes as they are written. These types of signs however, are typically purchased and picked up from a sign company who has no knowledge of where the signs will be placed.  We can certainly understand the frustration of code enforcement officials in certain cities that are being overrun with these types of signs. Obviously, if multiple municipalities are using the system, it must be acting as a successful deterrent.
I suppose that only time will tell whether there is a measurable difference in illegally placed roadside signage based on the Robocall Code Enforcer.
May the force be with those who need it.

New Gender-Inclusive Signs Help Transgender People


No matter what city you find yourself in, there are always a myriad of signs. Most people are universally familiar with ADA/Braille Signs. There are few people who wouldn’t recognize and look for the the very familiar stick man, stick woman or stick family pictorial symbols when attempting to identify a man’s, woman’s, family or unisex bathroom.
But what does a transgender citizen do? The issue of restroom access for transgender people is a growing and hotly debated issue. There are an estimated 700,000 or more Americans who identify themselves as transgender. When a transgender person is faced with an either male or female bathroom decision, it can be a difficult choice, with safety as the priority.
There are now new ADA/Braille gender-inclusive bathroom signs to ensure that people of all identities can access restrooms. The new signs help to alleviate the distress that transgender citizens may endure while choosing the public facility best for them. Along with female and male symbols, the signs feature different symbolic representations to show inclusivity. They may also feature text such as: Anyone can use this restroom, regardless of your gender identity or expression.
Everyone has a right to be included and to be safe.

QR Codes for Marketing

I’m talking QR Codes for use in your marketing.  QR Codes have been around since the early 90’s, but only with the widespread adoption of smartphones and barcode  scanning apps have      customers been able to easily  access QR codes in significant numbers.
QR code is short for Quick Response. A QR code is a two dimensional barcode that is an optically machine-readable label. They are used to take a piece of information from a media source and   put it into your cell phone or other electronic device. The reason that they are more useful than a standard barcode is that they can store (and digitally present) much more data, including links, geo-coordinates, and text. The best QR code uses and campaigns are those which offer real benefit, or do a good job of enticing people to want to take out their smartphone and spend a moment to scan the QR code and see what it’s offering.
How can a QR code be used?
  • Product Details
  • Offer Details
  • Competition Details
  • Coupon Offers
  • Personal Profiles
  • Social Media ID’s (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace)
  • YouTube Videos
  • Locations/Maps
  • Email address
  • Business contact information
So where can a QR code be placed?
  • Business Card
  • Brochure
  • Poster
  • Banner
  • Sign (All types)
  • Vehicle Graphics
  • Magnetic Signs
  • Storefront Graphics
Vital Signs is  happy to scan all of the possibilities of how and where we can add QR Codes to your Vital Signs’ projects!

Nailing the perfect Tagline..

Business taglines (slogans) are branding tools which contain just a few words that have been carefully chosen for maximum impact.  A tagline should complement a business’s name/logo, and can be a business asset if it is crafted in the right way.

Taglines should be short, crisp and to-the-point. They should reflect the company’s vision and convey the right message to prospects, customers, as well as the business community at large.  Taglines should give an insight into your company’s philosophy, services and offerings.  The most memorable and effective taglines are often comprised of clever sayings and use catchwords to make them more attractive.
Try to keep it simple. If your tagline has too many words, your audience can easily forget it. Don’t use slang or puns. Do not make your tagline vague. Check your tagline with folks who have little or no knowledge about your business. This way you can make sure that the story you are trying to sell is well understood by a new prospect or customer.
Ultimately, your company’s tagline should be completely unique to your business and it should express your company’s brand in a memorable way.
Call Vital Signs Today (412) 494-3308 

Signs Made From E-Waste

As a company who is committed to learning how we can be better stewards of the materials that we routinely use and  discard in our work day, I love it when I come across a great idea. A trade magazine that we subscribe to (SignCraft) recently featured the work of a talented designer from an article that was featured in the blog of Make The Istanbul designer, Yasemin Artut created a very unique sign with the creative use of recycled materials. 2 Words – Too Cool!

Built for an e-waste competition, Istanbul-based designer Yasemin Artut made these “E-letter” signs for Kadir Has University. The sign is made from one piece of aluminum with circuit paths etched on the surface. The circuit boards come from former PC motherboards, mice, and remote controls, and have been cut to fit the respective lab letter. The letter is then backed with LED lighting.
To see the short video on how this unique sign was made, please visit: