With the announcement of a $1 million dollar grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub needed a polished and attractive backdrop for the press conference stage. Not only would it be in the spotlight of the media, but also be host a number of important local, state and federal leaders. SignsXM provided them with a 9’ x 7’ step and repeat backdrop, as well as two 3’ x 6’ foot retractable banner stands.
“In addition to helping us prepare for a major news announcement, we looked to the creativity of CustomXM to give our new location a sense of permanence. The interior and exterior signage and graphics they produced accomplished both with great success.” – Warwick Sabin
SignsXM also provided The Hub with window decals to add additional exterior branding to an exterior that is still a work in progress. A large acrylic contour cut Launch Pad sign greets the guest from the entrance facing Broadway.
“The banners and backdrops created by CustomXM not only allow us to brand internally, we also use them for events and activities outside of the Innovation Hub.” – Warwick Sabin
The $1 million dollar grant will allow the Hub to complete building renovations, including establishing the Silver Mine co-working space.
If you are familiar with any visual or graphic design related topics, you probably have heard or even used the phrase, “white space is our friend.” White space, or negative space, is simply that: an unmarked portion of a related graphic, print, canvas or other medium where images or text do not appear. I’ve recently come across an interesting use of negative space that is more literal in nature. It is space so negative, that it doesn’t exist. In theory and in reality, it is full of holes.
Vinyl banners have been a mainstay for outdoor announcements and signage. You see them everywhere – grand openings, auto dealerships, community and sporting events. Banners and signs like these are affordable and effective sales tools. They begin working the moment you put them up, and don’t stop until you take them down. And when the need arises for these to be outdoors for an extended amount of time, or depending upon the height at which these banners will be displayed, you may notice banners with half-moon slits cut into them. This is done to allow the wind to pass through the banners. After all, most advertisers would prefer that they remain banners, and not 6’x10’ sails.
But this may not be the most attractive answer to this problem.
Fortunately, an esthetic and functional solution exists, and it’s a wholly pleasant improvement to the situation that involves negative space. Or it’s a holey improvement. Mesh Banner material, a digital media that is 60% material and 40% air (give or take) provides a solution that has some rather eye-catching benefits. This material holds full color images in a stunning fashion, and actually blends into the environment with a near translucent effect depending upon where the direct light hits it.
Until recently, I was under the impression that this material was best suited for outdoor environments only. But a visit to JCPenney in North Little Rock showed me how effective this material can be indoors too, especially in the retail environment. In the photos below, you can see how this mesh banner provides an artistic product backdrop when the primary light source is in front of it. Yet, it can appear nearly translucent allowing for product display behind it when the stronger light is behind it.
It becomes a very affordable, yet highly effective piece of interior display design.
So if you are looking for an effective way to get your message across, don’t make your audience read between the lines. Instead, let them look through the holes.
Seal Energy Solutions is an energy assessment group providing commercial and residential spaces with energy audits and the retrofits needed to maximize energy efficiency. Finding themselves in a period of evolution and rapid growth, Seal approached CustomXM with task of polishing up their look. Their existing visual branding didn’t clearly communicate the services they provided, identify with their target audiences, nor did it reflect the new and innovative sense of their relatively young industry segment. The structure in the existing logo looked like a house, however they also provide commercial services and even offer consulting services for builders and architects.
Borrowing from the seasonal tree in the existing logo, CustomXM’s designers created an icon of four simplified leaf shapes that overlap to ultimately reveal the healing symbol of a cross in the center. The transparent leaf forms create a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors that reinforce the concept of of being in a modern and evolving industry, as well as borrow from our traditional color concepts of the four seasons. In conjunction with the leaf forms, colors also reference their eco-friendly initiative.
During the rebranding process CustomXM also assisted Seal with updating their name so that it included Energy Solutions. (which we initially intended to be the tagline). We also structured the name so to ensure that it would no longer be displayed in all caps as though it were an acronym, a frequent assumption of their audience due to the former all-caps type treatment.
We have had so much positive feedback from the new branding… they love the look and colors and they understand better who Seal is and what we do. The fact that the brand [look] still accurately represents who we are today gives us confidence that the decisions made with its direction were correct… As a penny-pinching entrepreneur, that gives us further assurance that the money invested in the re-branding was well spent and truly an investment in our firm. Heather Nelson, President and COO, Seal Energy Solutions
Very pleased with their new look, Seal has also commissioned CustomXM not only to create updated printed materials, but we also provide branding within their new office creatively displaying their logo in an oversized wall decal, supporting window graphics and plans for an outdoor sign. As well as shirts, hats and water bottles, CustomXM has also provided license plates and van decals, and looks forward to providing more Seal swag.