Monday, September 29, 2014

Pier View Chiropractic
Congratulations to Dr. Genie Markwell on a beautiful new location for your Chiropractic practice!
We helped Dr. Genie with taking her logo and translating it into a beautiful, dimensional, and illuminated display for her new location.  Some of the challenges were a tight budget, a particular set of design standards from the landlord, and tight time-frame.
This is is her original logo:

Dr. Genie came to us as one of a few vendors, and we were able to translate her logo into a design presentaiton that showed a good representation of what the final product would look like.  This is important, because a sign is viewed from many angles in many lighting conditions, and must be beautiful, legible, and portray the brand.

I'll post again once I get a view of it at night lit up!

Wall to Wall Stone Corporation

Thank you to Wall to Wall Stone Corporation for allowing us to help you with your Kent showroom.  Also, congratulations to Mark Lauzon on a great logo design.  We were happy to turn this into a beautiful wall display.  Also, thanks to our great production and manufacturing managers for coming up with a way to fabricate the smaller arrow and ring components.

Call me at 360-259-2178 if you are interested in a beautiful wall display, monument sign, message center, or any other signage needs. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

How I Lost the Sale

A good friend of mine suggested I write a book called 'How I Lost the Sale'.  Maybe when I have a few decades of successfully serving my customers, I will.  It sure seems like a book that people would buy. So, here is a short blog version:

1) I knew more then the customer.
       Well, I thought I was the expert the customer called for answers!  What an idiotic idea.  The customer is the expert; that is how they earned the money to buy my product.

2) I interrupted with what I wanted to say.
       We all know listening is the secret of sales.  Knowing and actually listening are what separates great salespeople from people like me...

3) I only cared about my commission.
        Thinking short-term both in relationship to the client, and in relation to your own company is dumb.  Getting your fellow employees and boss unhappy with your projects is a sure fire way to lose sales.

4) I was late.
        There is no quicker way to discredit your integrity then to be slow to an appointment.

5) I didn't do what I said I would do when I said I would do it.

6) I didn't get help.
         Customers don't trust lone rangers.  They want a team.  A team approach gives customers assurance that your company will deliver, because it ain't just you being a hero.  They don't want a Hollywood star, because there is no such thing.  In the real world, it is amazing what can get accomplished when you don't care who gets the credit, at least Ronald Reagan thought so.

7) I wasn't an order-taker.
         I've heard some disparage order-taker salespeople.  That's exactly how to lose the sale.  When. I don't listen to a customer, I end up not having the opportunity to take their order.

8) I was trying to make a sale, instead of brining value to the customer.

9) I didn't want money.
          It's amazing that when I'm not really, really greedy, I end up being really selfish with my customers.  They would rather I want a lot.  They know that if I really want a lot of good things, it requires me to give a lot more of myself.

                 If you can help with any other ways I lost the sale, please comment below.  Thanks!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Can you Trademark a Building?

Can you trademark a building?

       Unfortunately, the answer is yes.

Part of the advantage of the sign business is that any idea that someone has is publicly available.  You can't copyright the combination of purple and gold.  You can't trademark a sans serif font heading with Times New Roman font copy.

Signs don't do much good hidden, so learning how to design signs is an unfair advantage over other industries.  However, trademarks and branding are important and sometimes overlooked concerns when designing a sign.  Most logo designers have a moderate amount of care to not copy a brand.  However, there are cases where mistakes can be made.

The Space Needle is trademarked.  When I first heard this, I was amazed.  You can't copyright a building!  Unfortunately, you can.  There is even a category in the US Patent and Trademark Office design manual called '07.09.25--Other monuments, including Tombstones, totem poles, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Space Needle'

So much for being able to use 'public' buildings as designs!  Even an iconic landmark that is (in all Seattle-ites minds) directly linked with the city is off-limits.  It happens to be a private building on private land, built with private funds, and it is a privately held trademark. 

The moral of the story:  Before investing in a sign or brand, make sure the logo designer does due diligence on any logos which might already be trademarked.  Most of this is common-sense, but please let everyone you know that the Space Needle is trademarked.  This is an over 300' tall exception to the rule!

Unfortunately, the small business shown here was broadsided on this issue, without any warning.  After investing in signage, web-site, window graphics, interior d├ęcor, etc.  You would think the Space Needle would do more to let the design community know that they have a trademarked building, but alas, big corporations aren't always that community-friendly...

Friday, March 14, 2014

Facilities Budget or Marketing Budget? Why not both?

I've been asked by one of my clients for some preliminary budget numbers for signage on a facility remodel.  There are huge expenditures in demolition, expansion, and construction, but the signage requirements are relatively minimal.

In a situation like this, it is sometimes best to ask, "Why go through all this trouble of a remodel, and try to save on signage?"  Isn't the purpose of a remodel ultimately to improve the customer experience or increase capacity, both of which are means to an end of more profit?  Isn't that what signage is aimed at?  It is the equivalent of producing a really great radio ad, with no phone number, website, or business name.  Great ad, but it's not going to profit you...

Of course, this client understands all this, and is open to suggestions on signage.  One of the first things we discovered in our investigation was an exposure to a high-density freeway.  There was a sign there, but it was half the size that the city's code allowed.  This will require quite an expenditure, as a new excavation, foundation, and support pole will be required.  However, in the scheme of building a huge expansion to grow the business, a freeway visible sign is worth 10 times it's expense.  It is the most valuable long-term marketing expense.

What makes the property so valuable?  Exposure to traffic.  What is the traffic exposed to?  A brand new facility.  What is this beautiful new facility?  I don't know.  Isn't there a sign there?  Oh, I can't read it.  It was too small.  It was hard to tell because of the color.  I didn't even notice it, because I was looking at the catchy sign next door.

Signs are not just the necessary evil of a construction project.  They are there for the same reason the project is getting done in the first place: to attract attention to that facility.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

New company - Heath Northwest

my final project with National Sign Corporation...

First of all, I'd like to say thank you to Tim and Steve Zamberlin, and the entire team at National Sign Corporation in Seattle, WA for 4 years of a great experience.  I am proud of the time we spent together and the beautiful projects we were able to help our customers with.  National Sign Corporation is in its 99th year of operation, and I wish them the best of success as they approach their centennial.

I am excited to announce that I will be joining the team at Heath Northwest in Seattle, WA starting March 3rd, 2014.  Heath is a customer first organization which has been helping companies with distinctive electrical advertising in the Pacific Northwest since 1967.  At one time in its history, it was the powerhouse signs company in the region with the largest manufacturing plant in the area.

Currently, we have a great sales, design, support staff, as well as a full fleet of service and installation vehicles, with a top-notch crew of service techs and sign journeymen.  The current owner of Heath Northwest is Ramsay Signs in Portland, OR.  Ramsay is the oldest sign company on the west coast, having been in continuous operation since 1911.  Because of a large footprint and multiple sign companies in the region (including 3 additional companies in Oregon), we are able to offer the highest level of design, service, and overall experience to our customers.  We are also able to design, permit, and manufacture signs and ship across the country at large quantities for corporations and national franchisers.

I look forward to continuing to serve my customers, and hope to help more companies in the Pacific Northwest attract more attention to their locations with distinctive and beautiful signage.  If you have any questions or needs, or if you would just like to comment, feel free to call me at 360-259-2178 or leave a comment below.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Culinaire - high-end retail, locally owned

When you walk through SouthCenter Mall in Tukwila, WA, you don't think mom and pop shops.  This is the largest shopping destination in Washington state, including some of the trendiest and high-end retail storefronts in the entire Pacific Northwest.  Westfield's strict and comprehensive design guidlines insure that every tenant has a high-end look to keep the entire shopping experience enjoyable and truly worthwhile, as many of the consumers travel up to 2 hours to come here.

Culinaire - front view
Culinaire - quality cookware and kitchen supplies

When a sole proprietor wants to open a shop inside the mall, the challenges can be overwhelming.  Patricia Washington, President of Culinaire, Inc, was up to the task.  With vision for her business, and dedication to the hard work required for the difficult path ahead, she has opened a store in the mall that looks and feels better than most of the national 'anchor' and 'name-brand' tenants within.  National Sign was able to help with her marketing efforts by providing her with sizeable displays within a cost-effective budget.  Culinaire may not have commercials on the radio, mail-outs to the entire region, or TV spots, but they are a growing and profitable business, partly due to the marketing benefits of well-designed signage.

Storefront display with push-thru letters and halo background, coupled with a double-sided blade sign
Though Culinaire has been open almost 9 months(and years and years before that with a different owner), look for their grand opening sometime this fall.  For help with signage like this, call me at 360-259-2178 or email me.  Also, please help a local business by visting Culinaire in Southcenter Mall or liking their facebook page -