Archive for December, 2013

Pantone’s Color of the Year: “Radiant Orchid” to Brighten Commercial Signage?

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

radiant orchid 2014 pantone color of the yearThere’s a jaunty and rambling line delivered by the actress Meryl Streep, portraying a character “loosely” based on the infamously acerbic Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue.  In that line, she launches into a rant that connects an incredulously broad range of social-political events with the emergence of a particular color in the fashion palette.  While it may seem far-fetched, it did make for an intriguing proposition: if social-political events shape commercial color, might color also shape social-political landscapes?

While, we cannot authoritatively say they do, one thing that we can say is that the color company Pantone, which produces a “Color of the Year”, takes that color and the selection of it very seriously.  Each year, Pantone meets secretly in a European capital with representatives from various nations’ color standards groups, and after days of deliberation, presentation and debate, the color for the following year is chosen.  Previous examples include, 2011’s Honeysuckle, chosen as a balm to sooth the stress of (then) current events.  According to one representative, “Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going – perfect to ward off the blues.”

For this year, the color emerald was chosen for its boldness, believed to “symbolize growth, renewal and prosperity”.   Each secret meeting’s results are published in Pantone View and are, reportedly, gobbled up by fashion designers, florists, and many other consumer-oriented companies. Though believed to be highly drawn upon by the fashion world, the Pantone selection is also a source of inspiration for other industries that work with color, such as commercial signage, graphic, web design and digital illustration.

Facebook in Radiant Orchid?

Facebook in Radiant Orchid?

Companies like Blue Pond Signs also use the Pantone system in providing the freshest and brightest colors in creating one-of-a-kind custom signage for their customers, who recognize the benefit of color forecasting to draw from a palette that can engage new customers.  For 2014, Pantone’s color of the year is “Radiant Orchid”, based on their analysis of media, socio-political events, technological advances and other factors worldwide.  Pantone describes the color as “an invitation to innovation” and as companies across industries can attest this is always an in demand commodity.

Memorial Stadium’s Bomb Scare: Signage Controversy

Friday, December 27th, 2013

cal-kabamThe prestige of sponsoring UC Berkeley’s famous Memorial Stadium may be overshadowed by a simple faux pas.  The internet video game maker Kabam has closed a nearly $18 million deal with UC Berkeley, giving Kabam naming rights to the field.  (Source: http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/10084901/california-golden-bears-sign-18m-stadium-naming-rights-deal-kabam)

Sounds innocent enough, except that the logo for Kabam is – you guessed it – a bomb.  The 15-year deal would change the name of the campus’ home field to “Kabam Field at California Memorial Stadium” and include large, impossible –to-overlook, graphic representations of the company’s name and logo (a 50-yard-line signage above the Cal bench and additional directional signage at the stadium).

The deal has already sparked a backlash from the local community, who are taken aback by the tastelessness of the signage in light of the field’s heritage.  The stadium was created through public contributions intended to pay tribute to Californians who served and died in the First World War (1917–18), hence the name “Memorial Stadium”.  The chairman of the architectural committee was the university’s chief architect, and his influence is evidenced by the stadium’s neoclassical motif, lending a grandeur to what was meant as an enduring testament to the savagery of war and the hope for peace.  From the base of the Berkeley hills, top row spectators enjoy panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay and west side viewers can take in views of the Berkeley Hills and Strawberry Canyon, making for an elevated experience.  Consequently, the stadium has earned its reputation as one of the most picturesque venues for collegiate sports.Kabam_Logo

Though the company surely does not mean to offend or disregard the historical context of the stadium, the placement of a glaring orange bomb at such an august site does little to respect the sentiments that lay beneath the turf and which were instrumental in bringing the stadium to life.

The Timeless Appeal of Vintage and Retro Signs

Sunday, December 15th, 2013
This rare vintage sign is double sided and flanged and measures 18″ x 13.75″. It is believed to have been made in the 1950s.

This rare vintage sign is double sided and flanged and measures 18″ x 13.75″. It is believed to have been made in the 1950s.

They don’t make things like they used to, so they say.  There was a heyday, of sorts, from 1890 to 1950, in sign making.  During this period, the majority of outdoor signs made in the U.S. were constructed in a fashion that has become their unmistakable trademark: heavy rolled iron, die-cut into a shape, coated with multiple layers of powdered glass, and finished by kiln firing.  The icons of Route 66 and many other highways and byways – a la 7up!, Dairy Queen, and Doggy Diner – were usually made this way, because the process made them highly durable and water resistant.   These signs were often called porcelain enamel signs or just plain “enamel signs”.  (Source: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/06/13/60-rare-and-unusual-vintage-signs/)

Originally a German invention, enamel signs began showing up in the U.S. and rapidly became the outdoor advertising sign maker’s standard.  At the turn of the 20th century, designers began to expand the pallet, bringing in bold colors and striking graphic elements.   From Chevrolet’s latest sedan, to Cadbury’s Chocolates, to Chesterfield Cigarettes (“They Satisfy”), vivid enamel signs spanned the continent.   Stenciled designs of earlier enamel signs were replaced by silkscreens and steel bases instead of iron ones.  Eventually, around the time of WWII, when porcelain enamel became too pricey, tin bases were substituted for steel.  Decades later, porcelain enamel signs in top condition are a coveted rarity among vintage sign collectors, a sign of not only their novelty, but also a testament to the appeal of their excellent workmanship and enduring aesthetic appeal.  The rarity of well-maintained antique porcelain signs makes them highly valued, in the commercial sense.  Collectors are willing to pay hundreds and even thousands of dollars to obtain such an example.

It is this kind of durability of craft and timelessness of design that informs the work of Blue Pond Signs.  Blue Pond Signs works to create one-of-a-kind signs that take the logo or aesthetic vision of each client and craft into a sign that will, likewise, last far into the future, carrying with it the mark of quality and trustworthiness that a well-made and designed can do.

Let There Be Signage!

Thursday, December 12th, 2013
The Downtown East five-block area will include 1.1 million square feet of office space in two buildings, expected to house 5,000 Wells Fargo employees. The plan also includes a park, residential and commercial space, and a city-built parking ramp that will be owned by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority.

The Downtown East five-block area will include 1.1 million square feet of office space in two buildings, expected to house 5,000 Wells Fargo employees. The plan also includes a park, residential and commercial space, and a city-built parking ramp that will be owned by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority.

In a meeting this week, the Minneapolis City Council Zoning and Planning Committees approved wall signage for the Downtown East office towers planned to house Wells Fargo next to the new Vikings stadium.  (Source: http://www.minnpost.com/political-agenda/2013/12/signs-wells-fargo-buildings-advance)  Given the pedestrian nature of business signs, you might well wonder what prompted something so innocuous to make it onto the City Council’s agenda.  Two things: roof signs (which were part of the proposal) are illegal in the city of Minneapolis and secondly, there are restrictions on the dimension of exterior signs that Wells Fargo hoped (and succeeded in) circumventing.   For now, the roof signs have been declined, but wall signs (on the east and west ends, with additional wall signs on the south, facing the proposed park) have been permitted to exceed the current city code limit of 120 square feet (they will be 300 feet).

Prior to the City Council Zoning and Planning Committees approval of the external wall signs Wells Fargo planned for its Downtown East offices, the company had expressed concerns about potential building sign limits, so much so that there was even talk of scrapping their planned establishment there, had those limitations been upheld.   This story amply demonstrates the importance businesses place on proper exterior wall signage – and – the importance city’s place on working with them to keep their business.

Signage ordinances vary from state to state, county to county, and in some cases from city to city.  For companies wishing to commission external signage, it is in their best interest to work with a business signage partner that can adeptly incorporate the proper ordinances and regulations governing the design elements of their particular location.

Get your FREE exterior sign quote today!  Or, if you would prefer to speak with a signage expert, call today, and one of our consultants will be happy to assist you with all your signage needs.