Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Holiday Shopping...at Vital Signs!

Bet You Didn't Know..

Holiday Shopping Fun

Vital Signs has a variety of custom products suitable for gifts! It's holiday time and we have all been launched into the annual shopping frenzy. Many folks will do their shopping online and avoid the crowds of people & those annoying "can't find a space" parking lots. There is a lot to be said for that. But there is also a lot to be said for a creative, from-the-heart gift and that's where Vital Signs comes in! We can design and produce a variety of personalized gifts for your favorite friends & family. Take a look: 
"Coming Home" - A Vital Signs Original Design

Custom Art & Canvas 

Cuteness On Canvas

You can bring in your digital artfile (or we can find one for you) for us to produce in a variety of ways. Prefer a poster? Or perhaps you would like a print stretched on canvas? Need a picture or image that can be placed on the wall without hardware? We have the perfect media for you.

How About A Mural or Focal Wall?

Unique And Cool Family Tree

Yes, we can create your one-of-a-kind wall. Looking to update a room or utilize a beautiful picture you took on vacation? We can take care of it for you. 

A Touch of Paris

Got A Hard-To-Buy-For Teenager?

Very COOL...But REMOVABLE Graffiti!

We have the perfect solution. Why not let your kid(s) customize his or her room with a teen-driven (parent approved) room design sure to calm the savage teenager. 

Holiday Stand-Up

A Desk Top Stand-Up For Your Favorite Person

Desk top or life-sized, we can create your specific standee to your design specifications. Want to knock Grandma's socks off, surprise her with a desktop trio of the grandkids. Definitely a unique & appreciated gift which is sure to please.

Marquee Sign 

Marquee Signs And Letters Customized To Your Specifications!

Let Us Know What You Want On Your Marquee Sign

Funky and fun, or the perfect compliment to a room theme, marquee signs are more popular than ever. Some generic marquee signs can be purchased in stores, but for the one-of-a-kind marquee, Vital Signs can design whatever you need...just give us the "word"!

Vehicle/Motorcycle Graphics

One-Of-A-Kind Helmet Wrap

Want to surprise your partner with some unique vehicle graphics or maybe even a cool helmet wrap? We have it covered (or can have it covered) with your design.

Wall Art

Cool, One-Of-A-Kind Art Decor

Clothes and tech items are popular, but creative and personalized will win every time.  We make creative gifts look easy! Let Vital Signs help design and produce some of your hard-to-shop-for folks! There's still plenty of time for us to create your custom gift(s)!

Call Us TODAY...We're Waiting For You!

(412) 494-3308 Or come visit our gallery to see some of the products we can make for you! www.vitalsignspgh.com

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Ghost Signs..What Are They?

A Stroll Down Memory Lane

A Ghost Sign From My Hometown: Chattanooga, Tennessee

As a sign manufacturer we hear signs referred to in various ways. Typically, we have a customer who is trying to tell us what type of sign they need, but refer to the sign type by a wrong name. Eventually, we arrive on the same page and are able to help the customer(s).

Today, however, I came across a term (a couple in fact) that I have never heard before which referred to a "Ghost Sign". Having just highlighted some Halloween signs, I thought it might have had to do with the holiday. I was mistaken.

A Ghost Sign as defined online, was/is a sign that was/is hand-painted on the side of a building. Ghost signs were typically painted from the 1880's through the 1950's before ads could be inexpensively mass produced, installed and replaced.

If you're a baby boomer or before, then you may remember growing up around some of these bigger-than-life signs. Their quaint remnants offer us a lens into a neighborhood's past, reminding viewers about elements of commerce and life at certain points in history.

Classic Coca Cola Most Of Us Remember

Nostalgic Appeal

Gold Medal Flour

Ghost signs were never intended to be charming or picturesque, they were only intended to advertise products and services in a very conspicuous location. Some wall signs are well preserved decades after their painting. That is especially true if the wall has been protected from the elements. 

Many ghost signs were painted with lead-based paint which may also have been a factor in the slow rate of decline. Some old signs have been repainted in attempts to match the color and charm of the original sign, while others continue to fade away, one flake at a time.

What? Wall Dogs?

Back When People Could Afford A Movie At A Theater

The sign painters who painted these impressive building signs were actually referred to as: "Wall Dogs". They typically worked for one of the major sign companies in a town. It was not unusual for wall dogs to travel from town to town painting the signs on the walls. Also, it was not uncommon for a sign painter to come from a family with generations of painters who had passed down the sign painting skills. Back in those days one sign painter explained that he learned how to make paint colors by mixing the white lead, linseed oil, dryers an pigment to attain various colors. 

Yes, Please

Things change..

There are still talented sign craftsmen who paint signs, but for the most part, we only see their beautiful work on the ghost signs that still exist. When you see one of those large buildings, consider that those signs were painted by a person whether six or twenty stories off of the ground. Layout, lettering skills, font types and art skill were just a few of the factors that made a good sign person. In fact, there is an artistry to designing for signs and that creative eye is still a necessary skill for we sign folk. 

The good news is that our current day hardware and design software (with the right person(s) behind the keyboard) can replicate the comfortable nostalgia of ghost signs past. The bad news...well every township has signage ordinances which may limit a bigger-than-life message.

Eat Mush Ya'll

Vital Signs Can Capture Your Message

My Personal Favorite

On your next trip to a small town, take a look around to see if you can spot any of these memorable signs. Want to recreate a blast from the past sign for your business? It just so happens that we have some very talented sign designers on our staff who can help to execute your vision (modern or not). We may not be able to use the entire side of a building as the canvas, but we can give your sign an updated message with the design touch of an era gone by.

No Wonder We Remember These Brands

We're waiting for your call on our modern-day phone!

   (412) 494-3308

Monday, October 30, 2017

Buy The Candy

It's Halloween Time

Once a year kids everywhere will excitedly put on their spooky or fun Halloween costumes to visit all of their neighbors with their sing-song chorus of " Trick or Treat ".  They will eagerly fill their bags with all of the goodies they can hold. Of course they will ingest enough sugar to cause a pseudo ADHD effect that may last for as long as the candy does. 

No Doubt About This Message

Almost as fun as watching the kids in their creative costumes are the fun and sometimes spooky over-the-top Halloween decorations. Back in the day when our kids were small, Halloween decorations were a bit more simple than they are today. I don't know if decorations have become more competitive (the way neighbors sometime compete at Christmas) or if there is just a whole lot of Halloween enthusiasm for ghoulish graphics and such. They have entire stores dedicated to just Halloween decorations and costumes.

Love This!

We Have Not Been Asked To Make These CREEPY  Restroom Signs
My Husband Already Knew This

Smile or Fear Producing?

And This..

In any event, I thought it might be fun to take a look at some Halloween signs I found online. If you need any custom Halloween signs for your home, office or party, just give us S-C-R-E-A-M!

Fun Idea

Let Trick Or Treaters See This Sign At Your Own Risk!

If Vital Signs can help with any of your special occasion signs, please give us a HOLLA! (412) 494-3308 or you can visit us here: www.vitalsignspgh.com


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Google Brand

Let's Get Googley

Google Ann Arbor, Michigan

Some of you may remember a blog post that I wrote in September 2015 about Sign ROI  in which I used Google as an example of a company that does branding well. Most, if not all of us have had an opportunity (or 50) to smile at the variety of Google Logo iterations when doing our Google searches online.

Few companies can boast that their logo has universal appeal and memorability, but Google is one of those companies who can make that claim and it's true. Even folks in (do I dare say it), my "empty nester" and beyond age range who may qualify as tech-challenged, can identify the typically brightly colored Google logo online.

In my original post, I wanted to point out how expertly Google has used signage both on the exteriors and interiors of their Google spaces. I did borrow some images that my Google search found for me of their unique Google facilities, since I had never had the opportunity to visit a Google space in person... until this past weekend!

Google "G" Dimensional Letter


Google Familia Banner

Can I tell you that I am still trying to wrap my mind around the absolutely coolest work place I have ever had the pleasure to visit!

Fun Google Factoid Sign

It's Halloween Time At Google
As a Native-American/Woman-Owned business, I was invited to be part of a very unique class on Digital Marketing Strategy that Google and the Tuck Center For Digital Strategies developed to assist small minority companies. The majority of the class was held at one of Google's newest facilities in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Google graciously shared their space, their employees (fondly known as Googlers) and their time to host our entrepreneurial class. One of the optional offerings was to take a tour of their facility.

As we toured the various spaces and rooms, it was apparent to all of us that the Googley, fun personality of the brand is displayed wherever one looks. As a sign and graphics manufacturer, I was literally like a kid in a candy store. Wall/Window & Door Wraps; Murals; Colorful Artwork/Graphics; Branded Games in the game rooms; The Google Familia Banner; Dimensional Letters; Informational Signs and more. I was, as they say across the pond, 'Gob-smacked' and still am.

Fun Google Graphics

Taking A Google "Break"

Living The Brand

ADA Gender Inclusive Restroom Sign

Graphic Door Wrap

We work with many businesses of various sizes, though I have never seen a company so completely embrace their brand in such a big, colorful and penetrating way. Even the directory sign (which lists room locations) had the edges customized with the Google primary colors. And though I did not see a plaque, I would bet that this Google location has a strong LEED rating based on the variety of eco materials that were used in it's fabrication. In short, there was no detail missed and the entire facility is a reflection of a company that knows who they are and how to keep their employees happy. I would be lying if I didn't tell you that one cannot take the Google Tour without secretly wishing that they too, could become a Newgler (new Google Employee). But since my digital marketing skill sets are not up to par yet, I will just stick to the signs and graphics manufacturing we do here at Vital Signs.

Interior Directory Sign With Custom Colored Edging

In fact, many of the crazy cool graphic products that I saw at Google, can be designed and produced in our facility right here in Pittsburgh. As I have said in the past, there are very credentialed folks who have done studies and determined that when employees are happy in their work environment, they are more positive and productive. It's true. Think about how many hours we spend in our jobs. Being surrounded by fun, infectious design and big color makes people feel happy, and that translates into productivity!


If you need help to Googlify your space (work or home), the Vital Signs design team is waiting for your call! You can find us here: www.vitalsignspgh.com

(412) 494-3308

A special thank you to Google and TheTuck Business School for helping to expand my knowledge and blow my mind...all at the same time!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

When Sign Code Enforcement Goes Too Far


I just returned from a trip to Florida this past weekend. When watching the news one night, one of the nightly stories caught my attention. The story was about the local municipality's code enforcement officer not allowing a resident to place a sign outside. The sign was a simple "Thank You" to the local power company for their hardworking efforts at restoring power after Hurricane Irma.

Now I don't know about you, but I think a public thank you sign placed outside for a few days should not be a problem. I mean afterall, most public utilities don't receive a lot of thanks, particularly in the aftermath of such catastrophic power outages as Irma produced. The power company staff was forced to put in many overtime hours to restore power to many communities.

Kindness Begets Kindness

The sign thank you to the power company was a nice gesture on the resident's part. But the bigger message, in my opinion, was modeling a kind gesture to those residents around the community. Our society is constantly plagued with horrible news stories, terrorist attacks, oppression and more. Yet, one man's thank you had to be removed because rules are rules. So instead of sharing the message of kindness and good will, the resident was forced to remove the sign.

The Value Of The Message

How nice it would have been to see the township embrace the sign and it's sentiment and capitalize on the PR it could have brought in a positive way, instead of turning the whole event into a negative. Sometimes the message is bigger than what is written on the sign.

If you need help with your message, please call Vital Signs today. We can assist you from concept to creation and installation (at the proper site). (412) 494-3308

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

When Disaster Strikes

Signs Of Destruction

Hurricane Irma...A Picture We Will Not Forget

As the whole world watched with disbelief, first Hurricane Harvey and then Hurricane Irma gave a punishing display of wind, rain, flooding and damage that will long be felt by all of those states impacted. The huge number of homes and businesses without power is almost incomprehensible.

Sadly, some people lost their lives, while many lost their possessions. Many will ask why this catastrophic event happened to them and they will probably never have a good answer to that question. Because the answer is that our life events are often unpredictable. The best that we can do is to try to have a plan to deal with whatever circumstance we find ourselves in after a disaster has struck.

Many Lives Were Touched

Widespread Flooding

There is probably not one of us who doesn't have a friend or family member who was touched by Hurricane Harvey or Irma. As sad as it is to look at the aftermath pictures of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, there are also pictures of kindness and humanity.

Hurricane Harvey and Irma managed to make many Americans stop their political rants and remember who they are at their core. Instead of a refusal to reach across the political isle as it were, folks are reaching across flood waters and destruction to help each other. This is humbling to see no matter what the circumstances that created it.

I have read and even thought to myself about how interesting it is that so many worldwide natural disasters are happening so close together. I don't think that it is a biblical warning or punishment. I do, however think that it is a reminder to show kindness and care for one another. When we strip away our egos, our attitudes and opinions, we are all from the same human family, and as such, should do what we can to lift each other up every day, not just in the face of a disaster.

Shock and Awe


No Words Necessary

Now is the time to not only re-build structures and repair damage, it is a time to fortify our relationships with mankind. The one unwavering commonality between disasters (whether natural or man-made) like 9-11 and Hurricane Irma, are that we never forget them! We do not forget the shock, pain and loss of how they forever changed our lives. When we are tempted to fall back into our egocentric and judgemental ways, we need only to remind ourselves of what we witnessed with 9-11 or Irma. It certainly makes the political nastiness that permeates our world seem rather insignificant in the big scheme of things.

For all of you who have been touched by Hurricane Harvey or Irma, our Vital Signs family's thoughts and prayers are with you. We are hopeful that you are still able to enjoy the wonderful blessings of family, friends, pets and the kindness of others.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Never Underestimate The Power Of A Yard Sign

Do They Really Help?

New Business

The answer is yes. We see them everywhere when we are driving. They are the small corrugated plastic (typically 18" X 24") signs that are perched upon an H-Shaped wire stand which is buried in the ground. They might exhibit a For Sale message or perhaps the name of a contractor who is working at someone's residence. Sometimes they are the political signs in a cluster which encourage you to vote for a certain candidate. Perhaps they are a colorful invitation to attend the local town's annual celebration. Regardless of their purpose, yard signs are used everywhere.

What Our Customers Tell Us

Event or Business Advertising

Not long after starting our business many years ago, we had a contractor who came to us to have graphics put on his truck & trailer and also ordered a handful of yard signs. This contractor had just begun his business. The project was completed and the contractor was happy with his signs. A few weeks later he stopped in to buy something else. We asked about whether his "on-the-job" signage was working? With a resounding yes, he said that he had gotten so many calls from his signs that he was booked through the remainder of the year with projects and had done no other type of advertising.

A recent customer who owns a tree-trimming company told us that he has gotten many leads from the yard signs that he places at each project where he works. 

Small Investment..Big Dividends

Service Companies
In another example, the Vital Signs owners asked one of our paint subcontractors to paint our personal residence. We reminded them to put their yard sign in the yard while they were working on the project. The contractors worked fast and did a great job on the painting. Within a day or so after the project, we received a call from one of the neighbors affiliated with the Homeowner's Association asking for the contact info of our paint contractor. The painting company, Edge Painting, received a project from that call which has resulted in yearly work from the same customer.

Residential Projects

There are various forms of advertising, most of which have a price tag (some larger than others). Some types of advertising lend themselves more towards certain types of businesses. This is true when using yard signs. Contractors and many service type businesses are able to capitalize on the use of yard signs very effectively. For a small investment of approximately $20.00 a sign and less for larger quantities, the payoff can be several times the cost of the sign(s) and may garner repeat business and other referrals from the customer(s).

Advertise Your Event

Wedding Reception Event

New Family Member

Birthday party; home party; new baby...you name it, you can use a yard sign for any event. A yard sign is one of the most economical ways to get the word out quickly about your event. Depending upon the location in which you place your sign, the traffic count can reach hundreds to thousands of people daily, which means a big bang for your buck. So if you found yourself thinking that a small yard sign can't have real impact and bring results...think again, they work!

How Can We Help You?

Okay..It's A Little Corny..But We Do Corny

Have a golf outing coming up? Or just a family celebration (Lordy Lordy, Look Who's 40), give us a call. Corny or cool, we don't care..we're happy to make any yard sign (or other signs) you need. Just give us a holla, we're waiting for your call!!

(412) 494-3308 or www.vitalsignspgh.com