Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Step and Repeat Banner Solutions

Pictured here is another one of our Step and Repeat backdrop banners.  What you don't see is the portable frame system that we also provided. 

This system is really pretty cool.  The banner frame system works on tension to expand the frame up to 10 wide and 8' tall, yet it all collapses into a nice carrying bag.  The banner is a light weight material that is specially designed and manufactured to work with this type of support.  Heavy vinyl banners are destine for failure under this particular display application.

This particular project was completed for our friends at Brewer Sports International.  The step and repeat banner and frame show here was used at the Wellness 10k™ Launch Party Hosted by E.J. Henderson & Sidney Rice.

More info on banner possibilities at: http://www.bigideasign.com/banners.html

Friday, November 12, 2010

Our Latest Website Client

Paula Elert Photography.

Pictured here is a screen shot of her new website home page.

We began working with Paul this past spring developing a logo and working on an outline for her online marketing plans, much of which focuses on her website and online social networking.

Her new website consists of several custom designed link pages that her clients can easily navigate.  It also also includes the "behind the screen" effective keywords and website data critical to search engine discovery.   Today we will be submitting her website to all theh quality search engines and online directories to further improve her online search ranking.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Honoring a Veteran

I hope you found time in your busy day to reflect on the importance of this honorable day.  We sure did and we are thankful for all who have served this blessed country of ours.

Over the years I have meet many who have not known anyone who has served this country through one of our military branches.  I have also meet many who have never walked up to thank a solder or veteran for the service they gave or our giving.

With so many great heroes out there I thought it would be appropriate to share with you one Medal of Honor recipients citation, this one from a not so popular war.  His name is Ed Freeman. 

Not only has Captain Freeman received a Medal of Honor for his valiant acts of heroism in Vietnam but he also lived to receive it.  Captain Freeman also fought in WWII and in Korea, most notably at the horrific battle of Porkchop Hill where he was 1 of  the 14 of 256 soldiers who survived the first stage of that battle.

Here is how Captain Ed Freeman's official Medal of  Honor Citation reads:. 

"Captain Ed W. Freeman, United States Army, distinguished himself by numerous acts of conspicuous gallantry and extraordinary intrepidity on 14 November 1965 while serving with Company A, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). As a flight leader and second in command of a 16-helicopter lift unit, he supported a heavily engaged American infantry battalion at Landing Zone X-Ray in the Ia Drang Valley, Republic of Vietnam. The unit was almost out of ammunition after taking some of the heaviest casualties of the war, fighting off a relentless attack from a highly motivated, heavily armed enemy force. When the infantry commander closed the helicopter landing zone due to intense direct enemy fire, Captain Freeman risked his own life by flying his unarmed helicopter through a gauntlet of enemy fire time after time, delivering critically needed ammunition, water and medical supplies to the besieged battalion. His flights had a direct impact on the battle's outcome by providing the engaged units with timely supplies of ammunition critical to their survival, without which they would almost surely have gone down, with much greater loss of life. After medical evacuation helicopters refused to fly into the area due to intense enemy fire, Captain Freeman flew 14 separate rescue missions, providing life-saving evacuation of an estimated 30 seriously wounded soldiers -- some of whom would not have survived had he not acted. All flights were made into a small emergency landing zone within 100 to 200 meters of the defensive perimeter where heavily committed units were perilously holding off the attacking elements. Captain Freeman's selfless acts of great valor, extraordinary perseverance and intrepidity were far above and beyond the call of duty or mission and set a superb example of leadership and courage for all of his peers. Captain Freeman's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army."

May Captain Freeman and all who have served this great country be eternally blessed.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Large format Banners

This picture gives you a bit of reference to the size of banners we are capable of. Yes, that guy breathing fire in the background is printed on our indoor smooth banner material
This particular banner was one of two produced for the Eye Believe fundraising Production held in Florida.  The fire and ice (not shown) were a whopping 8'wide x 10'tall.  They were installed using banner poles at the top and bottom of the banner, allowing each to freely suspend.
What we are particularly proud of is the continued quality of the detail in our printing capabilities.  Note too that it always helps when you start off with a good high-resolution photograph.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Retail Counter Wraps

Retailers have generally overlooked one of the key locations for marketing - the counter face.

Sure we have all seen the easel-backed signs and acrylic displays that accompany most retail checkout counters,  but what about the counter face?

Displayed in this picture are great examples of counter-face marketing pieces.  These graphic displays are at each checkout and are clearly visible to every customer that walks in the door.

The nuts and bolts behind this project are pretty basic.  We utilized an adhesive-backed 3M comply vinyl that has been digitally printed on a high resolution printer.  Upon printing, we applied a clear laminate to the printed image.  This added laminate not only helps in the installation process, but also acts as a protective coating, giving this marketing piece a few extra years of life if needed.

You are welcomed to visit our friends at Great Harvest Bread to get an up close view of this project.  Warning:  it smells pretty darn good in this bakery.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Step and Repeat backdrop Banner

Here is a picture from the Minnesota Monthly Annual BEST of the Twin Cities Celebration Party held at the W in Minneapolis a couple weeks ago.

 What you see is another example of our popular step and repeat backdrop banners being displayed behind some lovely ladies.  This particular project came complete with the designed display banner, custom hem work and an elegant display frame system.  Models not included...

we invite you to check back in Mid October as we are working on a really cool large Backdrop banner campaign for the EYE Believe Benefit being held Oct. 15th in Dania Beach, FL.

This will be a great representation of the quality of our photo reproduction capabilities on a grand format scale.

More info on all our banners can be found at: http://www.bigideasign.com/banners.html

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Light the Town Pink Posters

Here is a picture of a poster project we recently completed.  The posters were printed on both a photographic poster paper, single and double sided, as well  as 12pt card stock (pictured here).  The quality on the print process is really something else.... you really have to see the poster to appreciate.

The posters are being used at retail point of purchase (POP) displays to help Promote the "Light the town Pink", a campaign to remind of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

You can find our handy print work at your local ACE hardware stores as Superman did today.

You can find more information on this campaign from our friends at WCCO Radio

Friday, September 10, 2010

Backlit Signage

Pictured here is a project in the works, somewhat of a before and after I guess you could call it.  To be more specific, I am referring to the white space on the lower half of the sign.  The top half is a project completed several years ago for a long time client, Greater Frogtown CDC.

What you are looking at in this picture is a translucent white pan style sign face that is secured in a cabinet frame.  What you do not see are the ballasts and fluorescent tube lighting that will illuminate this sign during the low light and evening hours.

Back in the day these graphics would have been either screen printed or painted on the sign surface.  Today, or I should say 6 years ago in the case of the graphics shown, we use a specialty translucent vinyl film to create the graphics and lettering.  Most of the films we use are made by 3M but there are a few other manufactures that produce a similar product.   As you can see from the photo, the colors are rich and vibrant.  In this case the colors are also spot on with logo color matching.

We are currently working with a new client that will be using the white space for their business logo.  We will help our client develop a layout that obviously fits the space but also displays their corporate identity in a clear easy to read format.  Stay tuned to see how we go about adding the new graphics to this sign.

If the current sign has you curious about what Greater Frogtown is all about you can find more on our client and their Gala in the Garden event on Sept. 16 in St. Paul, MN by clicking the links.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Window Identity - part 2

Here is another interesting piece of window identity we produced.  This was an interior display project at the KARE 11 studio.  The overall size of this glass structure is approx. 4' x 8'

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Window Identity - part 1

Illustrated here is some of our custom interior window identity.  We have created everything from simple company logo awareness to elaborate designs and imagery.

Stay tuned as we bring you more pictures of some of the creative solutions we have produced.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Photo of the Week

an interesting picture from a client photo shoot this spring.
© copyright ~ Big Idea

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Banners that workout!

Here is a shot of a banner that works for two.

With the never ending need to watch spending, a business owner and building owner combined their efforts to cover up a sore spot, advertise a summer special, and market some available office space.

The old Boulevard Theater recently had a need to remove some prior tenant signage. This signage involved back lit channel lettering that had been place on the marquee face. removing these will most likely leave a real eye sore to the surface. Our goal hear was not only to provide an effective advertisements and marketing solution but to also cover up some unsightly sign wounds.

After determining what the individuals needed to display we put our heads together and came up with the clever solution to combine the two messages into one banner. The trick though was not to confuse people into thinking that Anytime fitness was leasing space. This might alarm people into thinking Anytime was going away.

As you can see from the picture we came up with a simple solution involving two contrasting color fields, giving the illusion that there are two separate banners on the marquee. Combining these two message on one banner not only saved on print cost it also saved on the installation time and expense.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Sand blasted signs

With more an more people turning to digitally produced signage these days it is no surprise that the uniqueness factor of this technology may soon start to fade.

One such sign process is still going strong and has not lost its classic and elegant look. Pictured here is a sand-blasted sign we recently produced. Notice how nice it looks compared to a steel sign with red text and outline. This not only is a very effective sign but it looks good with the landscaped architecture as well.

We have all see our share of vehicle wraps, full color parade banners, and large banner murals at stadiums. Though there is a place for the digital, there is also a place for the sand-blasted look.

Sand-blasted, or sometimes referred to as routered signs, fit several identity needs.

• First - they flat out will out-live a digitally printed sign. the paint with fade in time, as does the finish on your car, but the sign can easily be repainted. Digital cannot.

• Second - the cedar, redwood or foam we use is ideal for exterior use - all weather.

• Third - We call it elegant dimension. It is the only sign type that can give you a natural single or double sided dimensional sign. With the raised or recessed letters and graphics, sand-blasted signs give you an eye catching effect that the standard 2D signs cannot.

We have all seen these signs around. Next time you see one take a close look at the detail and if you get a chance, ask the owner how effective it has been in presenting a positive identity. I bet you will be replied with a smile.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Full print now available for Drum Heads!

Here is a shot of a recent printed Drum head we produced. No that is not a sticker.

What is unique about our printing method is our ability to print directly on the head itself. This is a tricky process due to the dimensional shape and the flexibility of the actual head material not to mention the cut-out and raised gasket.

Though the majority of the graphics we do for drum heads are still in vinyl, we are pleased we can provide cutting edge band logo reproduction without having the look of a decal. With our state of the art print process and a bag of print process tricks, we are proud to be the first that we know of to offer this reproduction process - a direct print to head process. What added bonus to this process is the translucent effect you also get. A cool option on a dark stage - only thing seen is the rear illuminated drum head.....

This process may not be for everyone but it sure adds a professional image second to no other. Whether you are looking for a simple logo or the full flood option, we are here to help you and your band get noticed!

Friday, June 11, 2010

A thanks from team J walkers

Here is a thank you picture we received from team J.Walkers at the recent American Heart Association Heart Walk event held at the MN Twin's Target Field.

It was reported that the J. walkers had the best T shirts out of all that were seen. Some of the praise came from other teams, some from corporate representatives and most noted, from the target field staff.

We were honored and happy to have created such a well received logo for the team and look forward to be apart of the team in the future.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Window Lettering

Pictured here is a project we recently completed to an interior office space at the International Market Square Building, Downtown Minneapolis, MN.

This was a fun and challenging project for us. The client was looking to make a bold branding impact yet not get obnoxious. She also needed to have the colored vinyl to be able to let light and color pass through.

After working close with our client's designer we came up with what you see pictured here. We incorporated 3M translucent, opaque and the dusted crystal (etched looking) vinyls. The results turned out beautifully and have been well received. Look close at the left side windows and you will see the subtle "swan" produced in the dusted crystal vinyl - really cool and contemporary impression.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

From concept to final product

Do you ever wonder what is involved in the process of getting a banner made?

Actually, it is quite simple. We typically meet with our client's via phone or in person, sometimes simply just my email. Upon reviewing the needs, including how the banner will be installed, we incorporate all the design elements into a proof - see sample proof above. A color proof is then emailed for approval, returned back with any revisions or an approval, then off to production.

Banner options today are not what they use to be. We have well over a dozen available fabrics alone. Most recently added to our line is our Eco-banner stock. Click here for more information on this cool product. We also have a relatively new direct full color process of printing our banners. This method of printing is illustrated in the above picture.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Concert VIP Passes

Pictured here is a unique project we recently completed - VIP concert badges for a corporate event.

We were approached to produce a hanging VIP badge that would be comfortable yet classy to wear. The result was this nice lightweight VIP badge accompanied with an all black lanyard. The badges were printed on both sides.

As you can see from the picture the VIP Passes turned out perfect!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ranger 620 Boat Wrap

Here is a series of images shot from a Ranger 620 boat and trailer wrap we completed today for a tournament walleye angler. The picture at top (green surface) is the original painted boat surface, the following images display our digitally printed 3M comply printed graphics during and after installation.

The graphics we designed here incorporated the clients request of a clean looking diamond plate theme along with the sponsors name boldly represented. Design-wise this was a fairly standard type of graphic. Having said that, this is a Ranger tournament series walleye fishing boat. Ranger's are tougher to wrap than most other fishing boats because the manufacture requires that the 3 Comanche stripes are incorporated into the boat wrap graphic. This gets extremely tricky if you do not know how to design these elements into a printable graphics. As you can see though the several hours of design & prep work produced some eye catching results.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Heart Walk 2010 - Team Logo

We were approached early this week to produce a Heart Walk 2010 team logo for Larson • King, LLP. They have created this team in memory of an Attorney they recently lost, Jennifer DeKarske. The team will be raising money during the American Heart Association Heart Walk in June.

After meeting to discuss the logo T-shirt idea with Larson • King staff, our designer produced the images you see here. We took into account Jennifer's personality, and created this fun logo in honor of her memory. We will be printing the two color graphics on some nice white T-shirts in hopes to really stand out in the crowd. Check back in June to see the final results of this wonderful project.

If any of you wish to learn more about helping with the battle of heart disease through the Heart Walk 2010 click here.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Drum Head Follow up

Pictured here is the same drum head being worked on in the previous post only now it is installed on the drum and ready for action.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Business Identity - not just for the corporate world

Some of the business identity we produce here may not be consider "business" to some but for our clients it sure is.

Pictured here is a great example of a not so mainstream identity project yet a niche we have been known for in the music world- drum head logos. What you see here is a 24" clear bass drum head. We were contacted by it's owner and band member of: we became actors. With a big show coming up there was a need to get the band name noticed. Time was critical on this project. We developed a quick solid logo that would be easy to read yet fit the style of the band and drum kit. What you see here is the final product, a matte finished black vinyl, being applied to the drum head. The whole project took about 48 hours from logo design to final application and just in time for last nights gig.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Just what is Business Identity anyway?

Providing business identity is really the foundation of our business. Most people think that Identity is just coming up with a good logo. Though that is a key component, it is not the only aspect of a company's identity.

I will Use Paula • Elert Photography as an example of what Business Identity entails through Big Idea.

Paula contacted us in need of some business identity for her new Photography business. After some one-on-one consulting we outlined a plan to approach what she felt was an overwhelming task. We started first with creating her image - A logo. The logo, pictured here, displays an elegant professionalism along with a bit of Paula's colorful personality. With a solid logo we were off to a great start. next on the agenda is putting this logo to good use, getting it in front of potential clients. We have developed a business card, envelope & letterhead layout as well as the beginnings of her website for starters.

It doesn't stop here. We have plans to create some vehicle graphics that will add to her visual presence 24/7/365. We also have plans ready for postcard mailers and a brochure. When the time is right and Paula takes part in trade events we will move forward with our booth design complete with back drop banner, easel signs and large format prints of her work.

As you can see, business identity is not really just about a logo, it is a process of creating and producing your professional image in a way that will create curiosity and intrigue in the eye of potential clients. Sometimes it is a logo other times it might be a simple directional sign, office directory or maybe even a product lable. Whatever it may be you can bet we have a Big idea ready to be seen.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Small Business Rewards

Most of our clients here at Big Idea are small businesses. Some of who have been at it for decades and some just starting out. What they all share in common, unlike Washington, is working with tight budgets and keeping expenses under control.

Pictured here is a store front of Forte Drums. The guys at forte are just opening up shop. They came to us in need of some exterior sign face replacement - one of our specialties. Since these guys are handy with tools and ladders they were willing to do a bit of work to help keep the sign project within their budget. They decided to supply their own sign grade polycarbonate sign face and install it themselves, something we had no problem with. What we provided was some design consulting, translucent vinyl lettering and on-sight vinyl application.

After getting to forte, and moving some of their hand made drums, our installer laid the sign face right there on the floor and carefully worked around the shops inventory. Upon completion of the vinyl application and packing up the truck, our installer turned to snap this shot...the guys at Forte Drum had their sign up and working in no time.

By the way this sign came in at less than 50% off the original estimated project cost. This was done simply by being creative and having a Big Idea.

As you can see the end result turned out great!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fishing with MN Twins #14

Update for the fishing fans out there. Our owner, Davin Brandt, can bee seen fishing on Kent Hrbek Outdoors this week. In fact it airs tonight on the FSNorth network at 7PM.

The show is about fishing the rivers of Minnesota's North Shore of Lake Superior for the elusive Steelhead, a migratory Rainbow trout. Learn more about the fishery at minnesotasteelheader.com

This picture was shot while scouting a few rivers a few days before the filming.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Shop Time

Today we have a picture of a custom sign we recently finished for Heartland Animal Hospital.

This sign is a great illustration of our ability to produce custom shapes to our signs. This particular sign is 13' long and just under 4' in height. The material used is a 4mm Dibond® material. Click here for more info on DiBond®

What is unique about this sign is the combination of print and graphic applications. It would have been real easy to have just printed this sign, cut to shape and send off to our client, but that is not how we work. After conversing with our client we determined that the best fit would combine a digital printed background of beige and a light navy border. The graphic and text was produced utilizing 3M high performance opaque and metallic vinyl films.

The reason we went this route was to improve on the sign life, retain an eye catching appeal with the metallic highlights, and to reduce costs. Doing all this required several mock ups and conversations with our client. In the end we were able to produce an outstanding sign while saving our client a few hundred bucks.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Banners can be a nice alternative...

In today's world businesses are really tightening their marketing budgets, often looking for alternative sign and print options that can produce similar results to the higher-end desired products.

Pictured here are some #signs from the Minnesota State Fair. At a glance the large blue overhead sign appears to be a nice hard sign panel. However, it is not. It is actually a custom sized large format digitally printed banner. With accurate dimensions and our precise printing and finishing, custom banners like this can often substitute a hard sign under light duty exterior situations.

This particular banner has been in use now for approx. 5 years. What keeps this huge banner working so well is that fact that it is only up for 2-3 weeks out of the year thus minimizing the amount of wind stress and harsh elements mother nature dishes out to us here in the Twin Cities.

Another key factor here is proper installation. I will say it again - proper installation. You can produce signs and banners using the finest materials but without a good installation you are sure to witness sign failure. This banner has been screwed directly to the building face. No ropes. No fancy adhesives tapes. With screws you can see just how tight and flat a banner can be installed.

Next time you are in need of some economical exterior signage, consult with a sign professional and ask if a banner can fulfill your needs.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dimesional Signs

Dimensional signs are really any sign that has a 3D appearance. This could be the individual raised letters that you see above a retail store. The logo on a wall at an office reception area, or even blade signs hanging in front of a boutique.

Dimensional signs come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and materials. We have produced signs in everything from sandblasted cedar wood to etched brass and just about everything in between.

Pictured here is a portion of an exterior building sign we produced late this past fall. It incorporated a custom painted aluminum panface with 1/4" thick custom cut and painted aluminum letters and tenant suite signs. The advantage producing this sign with the raised suite signs is twofold: it adds a bit more visual appeal and allows the building owner to easily replace a sign should a tenant move out or need to update there information.

Not only does this sign look great but it functions creatively well and will allow the building owner, and tenants, to save hundreds of $$$ on future sign replacements.

At Big Idea, you get what you pay for.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Window lettering in the winter

Working in the State with the Northern most point in the lower 48 requires us to deal with winter. In the sign world this can pose some real problems, not so much with hanging signs but more specifically with applying adhesive backed vinyl graphics and lettering outside.

Pictured here is some exterior window lettering we did before Christmas. With the single digit temperatures we had some cold weather obstacles to overcome. The main issue was with the adhesive-back vinyl that we use, it requires temperatures well above freezing before application is recommended. This is obviously a non issue several months out of the year. However, in God's country waiting for warmth in the winter is not always possible. The business shown here needed to have hours and they needed them now.

We have been working with cold weather graphics for nearly 20 years and have developed some tricks to help get graphics like these applied even during the below freezing days of winter. Though we always recommend waiting for the warmth, you can get vinyl like this to stick but there are some steps that the end user must follow in order for the lettering to stay in place. Note too, there is a degree point were the graphics just won't stick, usually around 0° and below.

Feel free to contact us for more information on getting graphics to stick during the winter months.