August 30th is National College Colors Day. Perhaps you’re ready to show your support for your alma mater. But just how do you do that? Well, while there are many ways to support the school you’re attending (or graduated from), one way sticks out to us—signs. Plus, if you have a school event you need to promote, we also recommend signs as a way to get the message out.
As a sign company, of course, we might be biased toward this great communication medium. But let us introduce you to ways you can use signs to spread school spirit and to alert people about your school events.
Use the school colors in signage when it makes sense to do so
As you design your signage, think about how you can incorporate the school’s colors. Naturally, some signs will have the school colors prominently displayed by their very nature—like a banner with the school’s logo or mascot. Other signs may or may not use the school’s colors depending on whether it’s a good move.
Choosing the best sign for your school event
As you’re evaluating your sign options, use questions like these to stimulate your thought process.
- How many entrances are there to your school campus? Will you need a sign at every entrance?
- Should you advertise the event off-campus in addition to on-campus?
- Is the event’s location easy to find or will you need wayfinding signs to help guests find their destination?
- Do you have a small budget for signs, or are you free to choose as many signs as you need/want, regardless of cost?
- Is there a sign specialist that the school has worked well with in the past?
Put yourself in the attendee’s shoes and imagine what they might need or want to know. Now let’s examine some sign options for the big day.
Banners are a great option for on-campus events. They can be displayed on buildings or even temporarily placed on the front of existing monument signs. (For instance, you could put a banner over the front of the school’s welcome sign on a hillside retaining wall.)
Tap into this sign’s spirit of celebration by giving it eye-catching colors and a festive design (if appropriate). And remember that you don’t have to place a banner against an existing structure. Actually, you can install one between stakes in an open yard space. Or you can even hang one over a roadway to get the attention of drivers and pedestrians.
LED signs or electronic digital signs
Use electronic digital signs or LED signs to get the word out about your upcoming event (or simply to celebrate with your school’s colors and a message of support). If you already have a digital sign set up by a major roadway, then you’ll be able to alert passing drivers about your event. LED displays can also help with traffic control, by pointing sporting event attendees toward the right exit or parking garage, for instance.
And you can even use an electronic display to promote multiple events at once. Simply create a visual for each event and display them as a slideshow. But do leave each event’s slide visible long enough for viewers to get the necessary details before the slide changes.
When you need to reach the community off-campus, a billboard could be your friend. Check with a local billboard company for statistics about how many people their billboards reach. And search for input from them about the best locations to help target the groups you want to reach for your particular event.
For a once-in-a-lifetime event—like your school’s centennial—floor graphics could leave a smashing impression on attendees. People often ignore the ground they’re walking on, but you can use it to get their attention. Perhaps your university’s logo could be spread across the floor in your welcome center’s lobby. Or maybe you could show your school mascot’s image alongside the centennial date to liven up the floor of the entry to your main sports arena.
Wall murals and wraps
Wall murals and wraps are other options for eye-catching signage to promote the school or celebrate a milestone. Spreading what you have to say across a whole wall makes your message hard to miss. Likely you won’t want to use wall graphics for an event that will come and go soon, because changing your wall graphics frequently could get expensive. But finding a way to blend a permanent wall graphic with another temporary sign—perhaps a section of the graphic could be a whiteboard wall or blackboard wall—could be a fun and creative signage solution.
If you want to mobilize your base of supporters to do some of your event advertising for you, create yard signs. Then, you can give them to students and faculty who can place them in their own yards. Neighbors and passersby will learn about your school without you having to advertise to them specifically.
For longer-term ways to let people show their support for your school, consider investing in window decals or flags. That way, students, graduates, and even family members can post a visible message of support whether they’re near the school or far away.
Changeable message signs
If a spot on campus already has a changeable message sign, make it display your event information alongside (or instead of) it’s usual wording. A great example of this could be a dining hall. If there’s a message sign outside that displays the day’s special, why not make it announce something else that’s special—your upcoming event.
Collect and share ideas for your school event signs
When planning your signage, get input from others if possible. See if any current students recall particular signs that convinced them to attend a previous event. What about school administrators or professors—do any of them remember seeing particularly effective signs in the past? And if your event is a fundraiser, check out How To Advertise Fundraisers For Your School Or Nonprofit Event to get you planning.
Signs are a way to attract attention to your company, item, or idea. You have something you want to share with others, and putting it out there for them to see it is one way to do that. Today, we want to share some sign inspiration. Seeing what others have done might get your own creative juices flowing to harness the power of signs to reach your audience. Here are three signs that merit taking a look at.
Sign #1 – Irish Hills Fireworks billboard
Why we like it: You can call this billboard (5th in slideshow) by Adams Outdoor explosive advertising. When your client is a fireworks company, what makes more sense than capturing the eye-catching aftermath of a detonation? Plus, if you want to crack up passersby as they catch sight of your ad, this could be a great way. It’s unexpected—yet apropos.
Sign #2 – Go! Sy Thai logo
Why we like it: This logo may be small but it packs a powerful punch. What’s not to love about the upbeat “go!” on a simple circle? We really love the white type on a green circle as seen on their Go! Sy Thai food truck. But the on-wall logo captured by Eater Detroit is also striking.
Sign #3 – Townhouse restaurant entrance sign
Why we like it: Here’s a sign that’s striking, but not overblown. It has a vintage feel, almost reminiscent of an old movie theater. Plus, it incorporates warmth and light, but it’s not so glitzy that it totally undermines the urban classiness.
Even though this one wasn’t in Detroit, but rather in Grand Rapids, it deserves a mention. VizCom Media’s banner for ArtPrize.org was a great one. The white text on a blue field is simple, yet provides good contrast. Plus, the splashes of color on a white field are delightfully whimsical.
It’s more than just what you say
When you have something important to say, there’s more than one way to get the point across. Actually, this is similar to the way it is with spoken language. When you say something, you’re communication with more than just your words. There’s also your tone of voice and your facial expressions.
For example, think of how many different ways there are to say the simple phrase, “I know.” Without adding or deleting words, you can communicate, excitement, disappointment, frustration, and other emotions. How? By using your face and your voice.
Do it with design
Similarly, the words you use in your signs aren’t the only things that “speak” to your audience. You can also use the design of your sign. There are several elements of design that can help you communicate your message. You can use colors, fonts, shapes, and size to name some possible elements.
For instance, one of the things we liked about the Go! Sy Thai logo is the circle. As we said above, it’s striking. Plus, when you combine it with the white and green, the effect is energetic and punchy.
Then, there’s the fireworks billboard. Remember how that billboard looked like it was blown away? That’s a great example of how you don’t need text to get your point across. Ironically, it was the absence of text that drove the advertising home.
And the illumination of the Townhouse restaurant sign is part of what makes it stand out. Yes, it had letters. But it also had lights—proof that words aren’t the only element of design that “speaks.”
Note what not to do
The signs we’ve been looking at have been instructive in a good way. But, keep in mind you can actually learn from poor signage too. Even an ill-conceived sign may have a thing or two to teach you—about what to avoid and why. If a sign is memorable to viewers for the wrong reasons, learn from it what not to do yourself when it comes to your signs.
Location and size
And remember to think about how well people will be able to take in your sign. If your sign is a billboard that motorists will be passing quickly, keep that in mind during the design phase. Make sure people will be able to see what you want them to see in the amount of time they have while driving by.
Moreover, if your restaurant entrance sign is so small that customers can’t find it, you might be doing yourself a disservice. Make it visible so that your customers won’t have trouble finding you, and give up in favor of another nearby restaurant with more prominent signage.
Learn from everybody else
Even if you already know what you want a sign to do—share a certain message—you still may not know exactly how you want to do it. Looking at the signs others have deployed can help you get a better feel for what you should do. And for more help creating good signs, check out Tips And Tricks To Creating The Most Effective Signs For Marketing.
From anniversary party to vendor appreciation dinner to annual conference, you may need to look outside your company’s own space and select a separate event location. When you don’t have enough room at the office, or you can’t fathom hosting a party on the manufacturing floor, no need to worry. There are plenty of event locations to choose from in the Detroit area. You can select whatever best fits your budget, capacity needs, and ambiance desires.
When it comes to planning your event, start by identifying clearly what it is you plan to do. Are you looking for a banquet to commemorate your company’s 50th anniversary? Or is it a conference where you’ll need space for speakers and vendors? Will you need audio/visual capabilities for presentations? Or perhaps it’s more of a social event, so your main concern is room for attendees to mingle comfortably.
Next, consider your budget for the event. This will help you rule in and rule out possible event spaces. Also, keep in mind that renting the event space is only a part of your overall budget. You may still need to have funds available for other things, too (from gifts to catering services to speaker fees to educational materials).
Selecting with size and ambiance in mind
Don’t forget that not all event centers are created equal when it comes to the size of the group they can accommodate. Determine approximately how many people you hope to host.
Additionally, try to identify what kind of “feel” you’d like your ideal location to have. Should it be glamorous or rustic? Open or cozy? Fresh and modern or historic?
Locations to choose from
Detroit is home to many options when it comes to selecting a location for your company’s next event.
1 – When lots of space is significant
Let’s say you’re looking for space for your industry convention. Not only do you need a vendor area, but you’ll also need space for lectures and small meetings. Plus, you’d like to be able to host a banquet as one of the focal events of the weekend convention. Enter The Cobo Center.
2 – When you need an “outside the box” option
When it’s time to put asphalt street and towering buildings behind you, consider the Detroit Princess Riverboat as your next event space.
3 – When you don’t need a lot of space
While having enough space is certainly a consideration when hosting an event, there are times when you simply don’t need much of it. If you’re planning for a small group, take a look at My Great Room in Royal Oak.
4 – When you need a lovely space
For a touch of class and relaxation, consider the Foundry Room or Birdy Room at Shinola Hotel. And if your event calls for stateliness, the hotel also offers Bixby Hall.
5 – When you’re looking for a pleasant environment, but not luxury
Whether it’s a company dinner in the Ballroom or a panel discussion that calls for plenty of audience chairs, Ann Arbor Holiday Inn stands ready to help you make it happen.
6 – When you need something different
If you’re looking for “a refreshing alternative to traditional hotel meeting spaces,” perhaps the Benson & Edith Ford Conference Center at the College for Creative Studies will fit your bill.
7 – When you need a place “on the links”
Maybe you’d like to use their indoor event space. Or perhaps you’ll be brainstorming business ideas over 9 or 18 holes. Either way, check out the Dearborn Hills Golf Course for your company’s needs.
Beyond the venue
Of course, planning where your event will take place is only one step in actually bringing it to fruition. There will be plenty of other things you need to do. Use our event planning checklist to get you started on everything that needs to be done.
Event planning checklist
- Solidify/define what type of event you’re planning. This could include what you’re trying to accomplish, who you’d like to attend, and what kind of environment you’d like to create.
- Select and secure speakers. Remember that you may want to do this as far in advance as possible, in case your preferred speakers have packed schedules.
- Select an appropriate venue. Don’t forget the considerations mentioned at the beginning of this article.
- Collect vital contact information. This could include your contact person at the event space, any company personnel with decision-making power about the event, a caterer, etc. If you need to contact these people quickly, you won’t lose precious time hunting for phone numbers or emails.
- Assign responsibility for tasks to specific individuals. Note that this can apply to tasks listed below if they’re items that can be delegated. For example, a member of your company’s marketing team could be in charge of event invitations.
- Secure caterer & determine menu if food is being served.
- Pay deposits (as necessary for the venue, caterer, speaker etc.)
- Create & send invitations.
- Order signs (table wraps, trade show displays, etc. — more on this below).
- Plan & order decor (unless venue provides this).
- Order promotional or education material that will be used at the event.
- Meet with event coordinator/contact person from venue to discuss setup.
- Determine when the venue will allow you to begin setup.
Put signs to work for you & your guests
As you plan, try to put yourself in attendees’ shoes—imagining what they might want or need. This could include using signs to help them discover where they need to be.
For instance, you may choose to use an A-frame sidewalk sign to help with parking, or crowd control/directional signs for things like registration and check-in. Then there’s the fun stuff. Like adding some pizzazz to your event with a photo standup of the guest of honor. Or a full-color banner welcoming guests to your company’s anniversary party or new product launch.
Practical & pleasing
For your event to truly be a success, take time to consider all the angles. Walk through the event as an attendee, the caterer, a guest speaker and see if you’ve missed anything. By planning ahead, you’ll be able to make your event both practical and pleasing. It’ll be an event your guests won’t forget!