Life After COVID- 5 Signage Tips For A Post-Pandemic World

Life After COVID – 5 Signage Tips For A Post-Pandemic World

By: Signs Now

As businesses re-open, many will do so with strict hygiene measures in place. Travel, logistics and transportation will operate under strict monitoring and staggered timetables. Face masks may become an everyday accessory, and large-scale events may not even take place until 2021 or even later.

All of this will significantly affect the way we communicate with customers, employees and visitors as we help each other navigate this new world. Signs and graphics will play an essential role in such communications, and planning your signage strategy early will prevent you from scrambling as your local economy re-opens for business. Here are some essential tips to help you get started.

1. Create a Social Distancing Floor Plan

The curve may have been flattened, but some studies have suggested that social distancing efforts will continue into 2022 to keep the coronavirus in check. Whether for temporary events or your permanent space, a social distancing signage plan will be necessary to ensure the ongoing safety of your employees and visitors. Floor decals can help people maintain a six feet perimeter from others, while arrow graphics and wayfinding signs can ensure the safe flow of foot traffic to mitigate the risk of cross-contamination.

2. Tell The World You’re Open For Business


While the timing of the economy’s reopening is uncertain, one thing is clear: lockdowns will be lifted in a gradual, week-by-week manner, with certain industries and neighborhoods re-opening sooner than others. Customers may be unclear which camp your business falls into, which makes it doubly essential to announce your operating status loud and clear.

Exterior banners and flags are one of the most eye-catching and economical ways to announce your opening from the roadside. Yard signs can be positioned throughout the neighborhood to spread awareness among drivers and pedestrians. Healthcare facilities, salons and other personal care spaces may benefit from announcing walk in availability with banners, a-frames and other temporary signs.

3. Show Your Commitment to Safe Hygiene

Even after quarantine is over, businesses will be expected to practice much stricter sanitation practices than in the past. Germ prevention signage promoting hand washing and other best practices will be a ubiquitous site in many buildings. Hand sanitizer stations will need to be readily available and clearly marked. At counters and customer service stations, acrylic safety screens will act as barriers to coughing, sneezing and other airborne hazards, further reducing risk of contamination.

Businesses that experience large crowding – such as schools, airports, entertainment spots and more – may be obligated to carry out regular temperature checks, which will require extensive signage such as a-frames, banners and banner stands to spread the word.

4. Be Prepared to Adjust Your Promotion Strategies

Everyone has had to adapt their marketing and communication strategies in the wake of the healthcare crisis, launching new messages to their customers on a weekly if not daily basis. The aftereffects of the pandemic will continue to shake our economy, leaving a ripple effect of constantly changing business and consumer needs.

As a result, you’ll need to develop a communication strategy that is structured yet flexible, allowing you to switch out promotions and other communications regularly. Start by establishing the needs of your target audiences, determining the key messages and stories you need to tell them, and identifying the materials you’ll need. Make sure someone on your team is monitoring the flow of information and the public response, so you can make more informed decisions with your visual communication strategy.

5. Show Appreciation and Support for Other Businesses

If there is one positive that has come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the solidarity it has inspired among ordinary people and organizations. Many have expressed heartfelt gratitude and support for healthcare workers, delivery drivers and other essential workers on the front lines of the crisis.

You, too, can show your support and connect with your community by using banners, yard signs or even vehicle graphics. After all, signs are much more than just communication tools. They’re beacons of hope, opportunity and celebration.




Three Steps To Boost Critical Thinking

Three Steps To Boost Critical Thinking

By Audrey Sellers | PPAI Magazine

Leaders know the importance of critical thinking, especially during times of crisis. The pandemic requires that leaders provide thoughtful and informed direction, helping guide their team forward even when the way ahead looks uncertain.

Although you know your team looks to you for leadership, you may be struggling to think clearly during these tumultuous times. Some experts call it a “brain fog,” as your attention becomes limited and you look for threats.

Fortunately, you can emerge from the fog and lead your team well. You can start by following three steps to improve your critical thinking, as outlined by leadership writer and TEDx speaker, Tanveer Naseer. We share Naseer’s guidance in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

Plan for thinking time. As your work schedule and location shifted over the past few months, you may have gotten sidetracked. You can get back on track by scheduling time specifically for thinking. Working from home gives you more control over your day, but you also must contend with many more distractions. Naseer encourages leaders to block off thinking time in their calendars. And he advises professionals schedule time for exercise as well, so they are not stationed in front of a laptop all day.

Take a walk for quiet time. Sometimes, all you need to clear your mind is to get outside for a walk. Naseer says getting out of your office for a walk is an important way to boost your critical thinking skills during the pandemic. When you take a walk, you give yourself a quiet space to think and reflect. You also give yourself a change of scenery, which does wonders for your mental health. At the very least, he says it gives you a break from reading the latest news around the coronavirus. See if you can schedule just 10 minutes a day to get some fresh air and walk around your block or office building.

Breathe deeply. There is truth behind the phrase “take a deep breath” when you are upset about something. Naseer says breathing deeply really does make a difference in how you feel and think, both of which can impact your critical thinking skills. He notes that researchers at Northwestern University conducted a series of experiments that demonstrated that inhaling through the nose stimulates brain areas associated with memory processing and decision-making more than inhaling through the mouth. When you inhale through your nose when absorbing new information, you can actually better retain that information.

Critical thinking is necessary to be the best leader for your sales team. While no one knows when the global pandemic will end, you can take steps now to guide your team through the weeks and months ahead. Be sure to give yourself time every day to think. Do not let a busy schedule get in the way of your planned thinking time. It’s also a good idea to step away from your laptop occasionally to take a walk. And always remember to breathe deeply. It can help you reset and retain information.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Tanveer Naseer is an internationally acclaimed leadership and TEDx speaker, award-winning leadership writer, and principal and founder of Tanveer Naseer Leadership.

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Dealing with a bad customer-provided design


By SignCraft Magazine

SignCraft turned to a veteran sign designer Gary Anderson [Bloomington Design, Bloomington, Indiana], who has been creating custom signs for over five decades, for advice. Gary’s work and his articles have been published in SignCraft since 1983, and he has published two books on sign design with SignCraft: Signs, Graphics & Other Neat Stuff and More Signs, Graphics & Other Neat Stuff.

We’ll let Gary explain the straightforward, practical solution he developed over the years, and share a few examples of his outstanding work:

I’ve been talking about this scenario for years. Customers bringing homemade designs to sign makers was always a tough issue—even before computers and the Internet came along. Then it got worse.

One option is to make the sign, turn it around and lean it against the wall until they come to get it so you don’t have to see it. When they arrive, take it quickly out to their car and put it in the trunk. But that only solves part of the problem. The bigger issue is that other potential customers will see it, and you don’t want to be held responsible for that bad design.

My favorite way of dealing with this issue was pretty simple. I would look thoughtfully at their design for a minute or so, then say, “You deserve something better than this.” Most of the time, they would look a little surprised and maybe a bit uncomfortable.

I would go on to explain that it isn’t about my ego. It’s simply that they deserve a more functional sign design than this. Usually, they don’t understand what you’re talking about, so I would go on to point out a few of the key weaknesses in their design in a professional and respectful way. There’s no point in being rude or arrogant about it. It’s just the facts.

The font choice is almost always wrong. It’s often some flowery script that no one can read. The sign may be for their gun shop, but the script makes it look like they sell lingerie.

Is the copy on their design properly prioritized, and are there strong contrasts to add interest? Are the colors appropriate? Is negative space used to make it more readable? Probably not. Is some piece of irrelevant clip art eating up space needed for their main message?

By telling the customer that they deserve something better, it’s pretty hard for them to argue that they don’t deserve a better sign. It often opens the door to moving away from their homemade design. The bad news is that their design probably won’t be very effective for them. The good news is that you know how to get them what they deserve.

You have to be ready with a list of how a better design will benefit them: More people will notice your sign. It will be easier to read, and faster for readers to understand your most important message. IT WILL MAKE YOU MORE MONEY. It will get more people in the door. It will get your phone ringing or send more people to your website. What business owner is going to argue with that?

As you explain this, it helps to be standing in your display area surrounded by cool examples of what you can do, and to have a portfolio of great-looking signs that you have done for them to look through.

I would go on to explain that it’s not going to cost any more for them to have a more effective sign. They are going to spend the same either way, whether they get an attractive sign or not. I don’t want to just take their money. I want their sign to be a success. That was another point that was hard for them to dispute.

I believe even a basic sign deserves some design attention. You want to make sure that it has adequate contrast, appropriate font and color choice, well-prioritized copy and proper use of line value and color to make it appealing. Even on a parking sign, you have to make those design decisions.

On rare occasions, though, I would finally have to just say, “I’m sorry, I can’t help you with the sign. You may want to check with a few other shops.”

About the time I retired, the problem was getting even more pervasive. People were playing around with designs on their computer at home and bringing those to me. Or they would bring a two-page list of fonts and say, “These are the fonts I like…” Usually, none of them were appropriate, and I had to explain that to them.

It got harder with the Internet. Now people get online and fall in love with things they see, whether they are relevant for their business or not. I used to have to talk people into something cool that I knew would be good for their business by building a picture in their mind. Then it got to where I had to first talk them out of whatever they had seen online—and erase the image they had in their head first. That takes more time, and that’s not a good thing.

As a designer, I was pretty dictatorial. Because if you’re not, you’ll be stuck doing signs you know won’t be effective and that you don’t enjoy making. If you let customers steamroll you, you’ll never do anything you’re proud of. Your life will be boring and you’ll be frustrated. It’s a bad situation to put yourself in. –Gary Anderson

If your business is relatively new and you don’t have much work, you may feel forced to produce their ineffective design. If so, you can still get to work on producing some great-looking samples that you can use to sell the type of work you want to do. Keep improving your design skills so that your work is obviously more effective than the generic signs that dominate the marketplace. You’ll be able in time, and you’ll be more successful when you say, “You deserve better than this…” —Editors


Source: SignCraft Magazine

Smart Strategies To Go After (And Achieve) Your Goals

Smart Strategies To Go After (And Achieve) Your Goals

By Audrey Sellers |PC Today|

Smart Strategies To Go After (And Achieve) Your Goals

Sales professionals know all about setting goals. They know that the best ones come together at the intersection of achievable and challenging. When you meet sales goals, you are often rewarded with a bigger paycheck or a more impressive title.

It’s not an easy road, though. Most people don’t end up accomplishing what they set out to achieve because they are afraid or lack the motivation to make their goals a reality. The Statistic Brain Research Institute reports that 92 percent of people fall short of their goals.

Janet McKee, a speaker, bestselling author and wellness expert, says that if we want to achieve our goals and get the successful life we envision, we must start by feeling joy in our careers now.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share McKee’s six ways to find joy in the pursuit of your goals and make them happen.

1. Establish goals you can get behind. According to McKee, make sure you set goals you believe in. You can dream big, but just make sure you step up the rungs of the ladder slowly with thoughts that feel more achievable. Tell yourself, “I know I can do great work” or “I’m on the right track and excited to keep going.”

2. Know why you have established your goals. You can set lofty goals for yourself, but to make sure you achieve them, you must know your “why.” McKee recommends peeling back the layers on your goals and writing down what you find. When you get to the feeling you are after, consider how your life will change when you achieve your goal.

3. Go for goals that energize you. Do your goals constrict you or make you feel energized? McKee notes that when you feel expansive, you are more open to allowing all the possibilities and opportunities to flow to you.

4. Envision that you have already achieved your goals. McKee says it’s a powerful exercise to imagine the life you want as already a reality. This triggers thoughts and feelings in your mind that prepare you for having those goals be your current reality. For example, instead of saying, “I want to be the top salesperson on my team,” say “I am my team’s top salesperson.”

5. Stay flexible. When setting goals that you can achieve, plan for daily action steps but give yourself room to adapt and adjust as situations change. McKee advises professionals to be open to any ideas for positive, forward-moving action that may lead to even better ideas.

6. Appreciate the setbacks. They might not seem like it in the moment, but setbacks can make you stronger. Think about how Oprah was told early in her career that she wasn’t right for TV. Don’t give up when you come to a hurdle. Trust the big picture and learn to flow through the ups and downs as they come.

Whatever goals you may have in mind for the next half of the year, know that you have what it takes to achieve them. Let your goals energize you and remember to stay fluid as things change. When you stay focused on your goals and envision your life as though you have achieved them, anything is possible.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Janet McKee is a speaker, bestselling author, wellness expert and CEO of SanaView. She is one of only 200 elite Certified High Performance Coaches™ in the world and has been inducted as a member of the National Association of Experts, Writers and Speakers.

Read time: 2 min
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May 4, 2020|Informational

 By Grant Freking | SIGNS OF THE TIMES


At press time, there are over 2 million cases of the highly contagious coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) around the globe, with nearly 700,000 in the US . COVID-19 has placed a massive strain on the American economy, with stay-at-home orders and other restrictions intended to curtail the virus’ spread sending the unemployment rate to its highest mark (13%) since the Great Depression, per The Washington Post . The federal government has responded, chiefly by passing the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, creating $2.2 trillion in support for individuals and businesses. Despite the uncertainty brought on by the virus, signs are still being designed, fabricated and installed across the country, albeit under unique and trying circumstances.

The following is a collection of sudden new realities for sign, graphics and visual communications businesses, as well as stories of manufacturers fighting back with their production lines. We also asked industry experts, among other things, “Where does the industry go from here?”


Right Way Signs (Chicago) regularly churned out 80 projects per month when its CEO, Alex Perry, was named one of Signs of the Times’ 2019 Makers of Tomorrow. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Right Way had 12 employees. Since, Perry has furloughed 80% of his staff, and he and two other Right Way employees are running the company as best they can on staggered shifts. According to Perry – who worked with the Illinois Chamber of Commerce before forming Right Way in 2014 – the Illinois Sign Association indicated that Right Way “fit within an essential category,” but Perry’s health and safety concerns for his staff prompted him to minimize exposure to his workforce. Perry and his team considered pivoting Right Way’s production to virus-related projects, but “decided that scaling back and waiting this out is the best way to go,” he said.

Sign companies have been deemed an essential business in Colorado, too, so RiNo Sign Works (Lakewood, CO) can operate in a “very limited capacity,” per RiNo partner Willis Wood. Front office employees are working from home, and staggered schedules were implemented for fabricators and installers, along with “robust” shop cleaning protocols. “So far, we have chosen to not lay anybody off and to keep our employees paid for as long as possible, while also maintaining their health insurance coverage,” Wood said. “Even though this will cost us thousands of dollars, we felt it was the right thing to do for our employees.”


RiverWorks Printing (Greenland, NH) , with a client list including several hospitals, healthcare facilities and IT companies, is also considered an essential business by its state. “Other orders are still coming in for our construction and real estate customers,” said Print Manager Danis Chamberlin. “We are not doing the numbers we normally do this time of year, but it is just enough to keep us going.” Chamberlin noted that all employees who can work remotely are doing do, and that on-site employees are sanitizing workstations, materials and equipment, and are following social-distancing guidelines.

Pre-COVID-19, Right Way had been expecting a recession within the next 12-24 months. “And while we have always weathered those storms well, nothing could have prepared us for this,” Perry said, “and I think the majority of businesses large and small agree. This is a ‘wake-up call’ to plan better for these ‘black swan’ situations that no one can see coming.”


The first wave of reactions from sign industry manufacturers was mostly press releases and social media posts issued to announce that said company was A) authorized to stay open, or had to close, or B) if the company were open, that it would be in compliance with new health regulations (i.e., social distancing and sanitation) to certify that the employees and equipment, as well as the client’s order(s), would remain safe. Not long thereafter, many manufacturers began modifying their operations in varying degrees, shapes and forms to assist the world’s depleted healthcare system.

On March 22, 3M CEO Mike Roman announced that his company had sent 500,000 respirators to Seattle and New York City, two areas of early COVID-19 infiltration. Days later, the company said it would not increase prices for the respirators it was manufacturing. Per Bloomberg , by late March, 3M doubled its global production of N95 masks – a form of protective equipment that is used to shield the wearer from about 95% of airborne particles and liquid that can contaminate the face – to 100 million a month.

Another company, Provis Graphic, has converted its 3D-printing capacity– typically meant for illuminated signage – to produce face shields for frontline healthcare and law enforcement officials. With its present injection-molding process, Provis can generate 1,000 face shields per day. Provis initially focused distribution in the regions around Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the company’s production is based. (The US branch is located in Minneapolis.) Provis expected to export face shields to the US by mid-April, and has made its 3D-printed face shield production files free to anyone.


It’s also possible to affect positive change on a smaller scale, and that’s what JDS Sign Supply employees have done, led by call center director Patti Moberly. They’ve sewn masks for hospital staff, as well as for JDS employees with friends and family who work front-line positions at nursing homes, clinics and other medical facilities. Summa has cut masks for first-line caregivers with the help of volunteer seamstresses, and the company has also used its flatbed cutters and laser cutters to cut surgical aprons.


International Sign Association President/CEO Lori Anderson stressed the importance of sign companies’ continuing to provide products and services to areas such as healthcare and food markets. “Mandates and guidelines regarding which businesses are deemed ‘essential’ are rapidly changing and often confusing as cities and states have issued stay-at-home orders,” Anderson said, “[but] our industry has been agile enough to offer products or adapt their equipment use to assist hospitals, restaurants and to meet other communication needs.”

Specialty Graphic Imaging Association President and CEO Ford Bowers noted that most states have recognized print as an essential business. “This has helped stave off forced shutdowns in many areas,” he said. “There are also numerous government programs that, although a work in progress, also aid to preserve staff and continue operations long enough for businesses to return to a normal level of activity.”

Both Anderson and Bowers encouraged businesses to use government programs for help, with each highlighting the Families First Coronavirus Response Act , and the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance program. Implementation of these new “life-preserver” type of initiatives has reportedly been at a measured pace, though. So much money has been made available over a very brief period of time that banks and the SBA are struggling to keep pace, while other banks are hesitant to get involved at all.

As for long-term damage to the industry, Bowers said that the economic ripple effects of COVID-19 may take another year or more to resolve, even if the spread of the virus is soon contained and curve flattened. “If you look at the equipment supply chain, for example, think of the number of tradeshows that have been cancelled or postponed,” Bowers said. “This means fewer leads for OEMs and less capital investment by printer companies. Less capital investment means less R&D by OEMs, slowing down the development of new products and capabilities.” Anderson observed that the industry and economy are in a constant state of flux, though she admitted that the present is “just faster, and, yes, scarier.” “While [most of us alive today have] never encountered a global pandemic quite like this one, we as a country and industry have seen tough times before,” Anderson said. “Our creativity and ingenuity are unsurpassed and definitely will be needed. I believe that signs help communities thrive, and there will be no better time than [now] to prove that to each and every community we serve.”

Source: Grant Freking | Signs Of The Times