Monday, December 31, 2012

The Vision

The Vision as seen from the photographer in the Dec. 19 post.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Straight truck graphics

Did you know you can even put new graphics on an older, used truck? You can! But, before you do you need to know a couple things.

If there were prior graphics on the vehicle it is very important to make sure all old vinyl adhesive has been removed from the surface. Have you ever seen those old trucks rolling down the highway with what looks like a dirty ghost image of a logo? What you are looking at was a nice clean transparent adhesive that was left behind upon removing the vinyl graphics. Give that some time in the rain and the dirt in the air and that is what you get, a nasty looking truck, with the old owners nasty looking logo.

Another issue that needs to be addressed is the surface quality. I have yet to see an aluminum sided truck with a paint job as nice as a clear-coat vehicle. The surfaces paint on most of these types of trucks will break down over time leaving the surface oxidized. To see if your truck sides are as such simply run your finger tips down the surface and look if they turn the same color as the paint. With a white sided truck your fingers will look like you just ran them down a chalkboard. This "chalk" must be completely removed prior to any graphics application. Failure to do so is a sure fire way to failure and a lot of wasted money.

Both of the above issues are just part of dealing with older, previously decaled vehicles. How you decide to deal with it is up to you. Know too that experienced sign and graphics companies should tell you about your situation as soon as they spot your vehicle. If they don't, you may be working with the less experienced. Remember, you get , and sometimes don't get, what you pay for.

Graphics everywhere

Another interesting drumhead band logo.

These types of graphics can be a bit tricky as the surface is not rigid and the sides have a radius making traditional vinyl decals a challenge.

As you can see, this graphic is virtually flawless. We use two print methods to achieve this type of quality. One uses a special material designed specifically for non traditional surfaces and irregular shapes or curves. The other methods uses a specific printer that is designed to print directly onto product surfaces. Either option has superb quality and is an ideal option when you need you image displayed in a not so traditional way.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Hoping the joys and blessings of Christmas
fill your halls, homes and hearts this holiday season.

From all at Big Idea,
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Another Before Shot

Here is another "before shot" photo taken of a Big Idea photographer while on a recent wintery photo shoot. Stay tuned to our blog for a post of the vision he saw.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Simple Sign Face

Here is a store front shot of one of our clients, Great Harvest. The neat sidewalk sign is the focus of this project we completed yesterday. We printed and installed new sidewalk sign faces.

What our client recognized years back is the value in investing in a quality sign frame. This unit is one of the premium models on the market. It allows for easy sign face changing without any tools and the unique base and spring system keeps your sign from ever tipping in bad weather.

The updated sign is already getting new attention and is sure to help capture interested eyes during the client's holiday schedule.

Friday, December 14, 2012

A cool Image

Frosty Morn
©Davin Brandt
Another cool pic we just had to share

As with all our pictures, they are copyrighted and not for public use.  Feel free to share the link to our blog post, just don't take the picture, no pun intended.

The Vision

The Middle of Somewhere
©Davin Brandt
This is the vision our lead photographer, Davin Brandt, saw on a recent photo shoot.  In our previous post you can see him shooting the landscape scene as view from his associate.
The photo shoot is part of a fine art project shot in conjunction with fellow Photographer, Todd Murphy, of MurphShot Photography.  The two have been the foundation of several projects for Big idea.  This particular shoot produced some outstanding images that show us the beauty often overlooked while traveling the Plains of North America.  
We enjoy your comments, please feel free to comment on this or any image!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Creative photography

One of our photographers on location Saturday, working on a pretty interesting project.

Stay tuned for a view of what his vision was.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Are your business hours on your window?

Updating business hours is a snap when using custom cut vinyl lettering.  Did you know that we can provide lettering with the adhesive on the front or back of the lettering?  This is a big deal when you live in cold weather areas such as our great state of Minnesota. 

When the outside temps get below 40°f pressure sensitive vinyls can be tricky to apply, not to mention most manufacture quit standing behind their products under the sub 40°f mark at installation.  The problem is that the adhesive just does not get a good bond.

This effects window lettering a great deal in the winter time. To remedy this issue, we recommend installing lettering on the inside of windows, with a front adhesive, as oposed to installing on the outside of your glass door or window.  Most of the times this will work.  Where we run into issues is with strong window tinting.  If that is the case then we need to look at a few other tricks up our sleeves that can remedy the situation.

All-in-all store hours are are a simply solution to inform your customers 24/7/365 when you will be open, or not, for business.  Updating for seasonal hours is super simple too!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Commissioned photography

Today we completed a large commissioned fine art photography project. Pictured here we are hanging the last of 13 framed pictures that complete a rather large conference room.

Not only did we conceptualize the project theme, we took the pictured, processed, printed, framed and installed all the work.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ranger 620 boat wrap

Here is a great shot of our installer working on a ranger 620 for one of our professional Walleye angler clients this past week.

Boat like this get a bit tricky and are not your standard run of the mill wrap.  On this particular make and model, the manufacture requires that the built in Comanche stripping is illustrated on the wrap surface.  Given the strips and the angle of the boat hull, producing these stripes accurately requires some thinking.

Wrapping the Ranger 620 the right way involves getting a scaled computer template of the boat. The key is to get all those curves and shapes converted to 2 dimensional shapes. If you plan to try this, don't bother asking a manufacture for there proprietary designs.  The only way to really do this type of wrap right is to pattern it out yourself.

We won't bore you with the process of how we template out a boat like this.  Let's just say that after about 8-10 hours of work we finally have a pretty darn good system for wrapping a Ranger 620 - the right way.

Pictured below is a Ranger 620 wrap from a few years ago.  We did not do the wrap.  Our team only produced the design, a pretty cool one too!  The client was all of a sudden in a predicament and needed his wrap done ASAP and for a revised budget that we just could not compete with.  The client made a decision to have his boat wrapped ASAP at another shop.  As you can see from the picture, the wrap is starting to bubble.  These are only a few of the bubbles.  Not only were there more bubbles, but wrinkles, poor seams, and even graphic images that look one way on the port side and another on the starboard.

At the end of the season, the client decided to remove his wrap, to his horror he notice cut marks all across his boat.  Some cuts so deep they penetrated the gel-coating.  The boat required several thousands in  repairs to get  fixed. 

Sure he saved a few bucks and time on the front end, but as you can see it was not worth it.  We wrap boats the right way.  We are not the cheapest and don't feel we are the most expensive either.  What you get from Big Idea is what you pay for, a quality wrap.

If you follow Professional Walleye Fishing you will most likely have no problem spotting Mr Preissner and team (Quality Flow) on the water during the 2013 season.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Back on track

Well we have been a bit off on our Blog posts this fall but are now happy to say we are back on track.

Pictured here is a cool shot of one of our photographer's on location during a shoot this past week.  The assignment is for a fine art photography project we are working on.  Though much of our work centers around some sort of sign or printed products, it is always exciting to get out of the shop and venture afield on creative photo shoots.

Our photography projects vary a bit including fine art, product, and corporate portrait as the front runners.  Fine art  photography includes our commissioned work, some of our company retail & stock photo work and our photographer's personal stock work.

Our product photography is just that, projects of client products.  The images are usually used in web applications such as websites, social media, blogs, etc.  The images are also used in client brochures, literature and on promotional or display signage. The subject matter we have shot ranges from a beer bottle to aluminum siding and a bunch of other interesting stuff in between.

The corporate portrait aspect of our work encompasses all the angles used to help "show" a business or event. To better illustrate this kind of work it is almost easier to list the types of projects we have done.  Below is a list from this past year of some of the project we have been a part of:

1. A few Non-Profit fundraising and project events
2. Corporate party/event with over 800 attendees
3. Commissioned fine art conference room pictures
4. Corporate Holiday card
6. Musician shoot for CD cover
7. stock photo shoot for a brewery
8. ground breaking ceremony
9. trucking fleet documentation
10. Trial exhibit photos

As you can see, our photography services cut a pretty wide swath in the picture taking category.  This, along with our unique design, makes Big Idea a pretty well rounded creative choice. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Picture of the week

Birch Lake
©Davin Brandt
Some of the best subject matter for a photographer is often stumbled upon.  This particular shot was taken after a day of shooting some corporate work.  The scene was spotted after glancing to my left while driving along a winding road not far from the office.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Event Banners

Event banners, Like the one pictured here from the Stillwater marathon, are a great way to promote your supporters and sponsors.

This particular banner was produced by Big Idea for a St. Paul, MN firm that was promoting this event.  As you can see it conforms nicely to the temporary barricade as well as to a host of other installation options.

We offer over 8 different types of banner materials, from our standard run of the mill 13oz. vinyl to our higher end sheer silk materials.  On larger exterior projects, where wind is a factor, we also have an exterior mesh material that allows for air to flow through the banner, relieving some of the stress that plagues the grommets and tie-downs and elliminating those ugly looking half-moon wind holes.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012

Picture of the Week

Here is a great shot of one of our clients in action, Art Kistler, AKA, Elvis.  If you have not been fortunate enough to here one of his authentic shows you are missing out. Art performs several tribute type shows throughout the year, most of them private events.  However he did perform to the crowd this past weekend at a local festival. Great Elvis voice too!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Picture of the Week

Ground Zero
copyright - Big Idea

#groundzero, #9/11memorial, 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Beer Labels - Bank Brewing Co

Here is a sneak peek at a Logo/Label we just completed for the bank Brewing company out of Hendrick, MN.

If you live in the upper Midwest you just might see this Rye Ale on tap or at your local Liquor Store.  Accompanying the bottle label you see here is also a colorful 6 back carrier.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Resort and Outfitter photography & signs

Pictured here is one of a large portfolio of images create for a new client of ours, Island View Resort.

We were approached to provide some help with not only their branding but to improve upon there visual image.  Our first step was pictures, and lots of them, for a new website as well as social media, stock image and fine art enlargements to display on site.

The photo portion of this project is still in the works as we will be shooting this fall during the beautiful fall color transition as well as the cozy season of winter, but for now Island View Resort is off to a great new look.  You can find Island View in the North woods of Orr, Minnesota.

Though Island View is not technically in our "backyard", in fact they are about 250 miles north, we cover resorts and outfitters throughout the entire state of Minnesota and Wisconsin and even a few in the greater US.  Our services range from general photography to signs, trade show displays, boat and equipment identification and license numbers, and print collateral (bus. cards, letterhead, envelopes, etc).  

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pictures of the week

We have had some inquiry as to the source of the images we use for the Picture of the week.  All the images displayed on our Picture of the week posts are photos taken by Big Idea staff.  Occasionally we may post some interesting photos of funny signs or other odds-n-ends, but they will not appear as a photo of the week.

Moving forward we welcome any comments you have on the photos and encourage you to share the links to the images.  We also ask when sharing any image outside of our blog or facebook page, that you include the accompanying ©copyright that is listed with the image.

Picture of the week

Can't take the skyway
part of a subway series
© Davin Brandt

Monday, July 16, 2012

Picture of the Week

How can you not like a good baby picture.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Picture of the week

"Class 5 to Paradise"
© copyright Davin Brandt

Monday, July 2, 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012

Reflective vehicle graphics

Here is a great illustration of how reflective vehicle graphics look in both daylight and while illuminated with directional lighting such as vehicle headlights.

Note here that the red and white portions are much brighter while illuminated. This is due to the reflective glass particles within the vinyl film.  The darker the vinyl color the more that color will change while reflecting light. This brings us to the question we often get about reflective black. While there is a 3M reflective black vinyl available, we rarely use it.

Is black actually a color? Well, this is debatable depending on who you talk to. It sure is a color in a paint, ink or vinyl selection. However, color as light is not a color. With reflective vinyl we are dealing with both color and light.

Since black, as light, is not a color, it cannot reflect any color. So,  getting black to reflect really cannot happen. What you will see when black reflective vinyl gets hit with light is various shades of gray all the way to white. This happens because what is reflecting is actually the glass partials within the film.

Back to our picture. The black you see is simply black. As you can see it works just fine as is. Having it brighter, as with reflecting, would decrease the contrast it gives the white against the red. By the way, both the white and the red are reflecting.

Next time you are have a reflective sign or decal need, run it by a professional. They will be able to assist not only with color options but also with the variety of reflective quality films available.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Event badges

Pictured here is a pile of #eventbadges  / cards / tags or whatever you wish to call them.... we like badges.  This fun project was just completed for the Long Island Bulldog Rescue organization out of New York.

The badges size up at 3" x 4" and are a full color (photographic quality) print on our tough 30mil white PVC.  The black lanyards are made of a nice woven nylon cord, super flexible and comfortable around your neck. What is great about these event badges is that they are affordable even at the small quantities often needed by event producers.

Note too that we offer a huge line of lanyards from the simple to the full color logo imprints and everything in between.  The cards are pretty standard in size, but others sizes are available with the option of printing on just one or both sides.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Here is a neat video featuring one of our clients, Larson • King,  produced by KARE 11.

 This segment was featured on the KARE Sunrise morning show as part of the "Top of the Twin Cities" series. Though we were hoping to see a bit more of our photography work on the conference room walls,  you can see a few of them at the 4.05min mark.

A bit on the photos...

Larson • King  hired us to produce a truly unique creative photography project that involves customized images specific to each of their 8 conference rooms.  Each conference room is uniquely named after a street in St. Paul.  The images within each room have all been taken from interesting perspectives from the street in which they were named - I know, cool idea.  Not only did we take some pretty interesting shots, but the way they are being displayed are pretty interesting too, some framed, others not, and some being produce on large format canvas.

By far this one one of the most creative photo projects we have worked on to date.  Stay tuned for a sneak peek into the L•K Street book.  Yup, we are publishing a coffee table book of  the images on the walls as well of the several other images that did not make the cut for wall space, but are worthy of being displayed.  Oh, and one can be seen below in the previous post from May, 3rd.

On a side note, we also are the guys who produced and installed the 3D logo you see on the front of the KARE Sunrise studio desk.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Creative fine art photography - from Big Idea

The real niche that set Big Idea apart from other creative companies is our photography service... and yes, it is done In-House.

Pictured here is a custom photo (from an Iphone) we installed today.  Iphones do a pretty good job in low light by the way.  Anyway, This is part of a conceptual fine art work in progress that involves a very specific theme designed to decorate a corporate workspace.  Though the subject may seem average the unique perspectives, direction and style are creative and inspiring.

 Sure signs are a big part of what we do as it should be since it is a big part of a company's visual identity, but it shouldn't stop there.  This particular client took the time to listen, not only to the offer of adding refreshing accents to drab wall space, but to the value added idea of customizing there display art to help further convey their foundation, ideals and direction.

What you see is a black and white photo we shot, printed, matted, framed and installed, 1 of over 40  pieces in this collecton that beat out the thousands of runner ups. Yes we do it all. From project conceptualizing to final product, this is what makes Big Idea a truly creative company.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Inexpensive Store Front Identity

Pictured here is a before and after display of a recent store front project we completed.  The client was looking for a simple, inexpensive way to market there business to street traffic.

The space under the current can lights is an obvious location for a sign.  Though the space is small for the proportions of the logo, it looks great illuminated under the lights.  Our alternate, more horizontal, version of the logo had bold and large impact, but was not an option as the client wished to keep logo identity identical in all locations.  We get that.

The added accent color bands on the windows brings a bit of life to the brick building.  It also helps define the space this business holds, giving them notice that they fill this building.  The added bullet points are a key element here in answering the public question of what this business does. This is huge for drive by marketing.  How many times have you driven by a business with some unique name, but had no idea who or what they did?

No question what this business does here.  And, they were able to have this produced and installed for a rate that was a fraction of what that black awning cost.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

Photo of the week

Mississippi Reflections
©DavinBrandt - Big Idea

The uniqueness of this image is that it was shot on January, 10th  2012.  In Downtown Saint Paul, MN

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Photo of the week

"Busy Evening in Saint Paul"
©copyright - Big Idea

Monday, January 9, 2012

Display Signs - a neat trick for seamless displays

Have you ever had a need for a display sign that exceeds a substrate dimension?

Most sign sheet materials come in 8' or 10' lenghts. The exception of which is rolled lexan. When working with signs that need to be seamless, and over the 10' there are few options. Now, add in that the sign needs to be rigid and you just about ruled out all your senseable options. Sure lexan seams to be the first bet here, but it is not rigid and can bow or flex if not supported on all sides evenly.

Here is a solution we created for the project pictured here. First, produce a rigid sign base substrate. In this case we are using a dibond product.  It is super smooth, rigid, easy to fabricate, and lightweight. We then mount the dibond to the wall surface. In this case we used 3M VHB double sided tape - super strong.

Second, we produced our graphic image onto a vinyl film with a special over laminate designed to keep the vinyl rigid. This vinyl is then applied to the dibond surface. The laminate used is the key that holds this project together. Without the special laminate, you would be able to see the seam between the two dibond pieces. Using this special laminate makes our seam virtually invisible, giving us the illusion of a continuous sign header spanning over 16'!