Is The Message Being Buried by Technology?

Karen Griffin - Friday, October 21, 2016

Back in the day . . .when sign writers actually hand painted signs . . . wording was kept to a minimum in order to keep costs down.

Then came computer cut vinyl graphics.  Much quicker than hand painted in the labour front and the materials were not excessively expensive.  And over the years there has been a move to the inclusion of ever more complicated logos and higher density of wording on signage that needs to be easily read.  Which adds to the cost again.

But now we have a new technological advancement in the flat bed printer. The printer doesn't mind how many words it prints to a sheet, so the incentive of clearly crafted copy on cost grounds is negated.

The general rules for making an effective drive-by layout haven't changed through all these technological changes.  

It used to be easy to move clients away from over cluttering their vehicle or banner simply because of the cost of all the extra lettering.  It really is an art to produce an effective design, that is concise and easy to read from a distance without diverting too much of a driver's attention.  Especially when that attention is distracted from dashboard screens, sat navs, wider roads, faster traffic etc.

So our challenge here at Griffin Designs is to ask ourselves not 'Can We?' but 'Should We?' use the new technology to the full without regard for product effectiveness. 


Offering Solutions

Karen Griffin - Friday, October 14, 2016

When a customer rings to ask for a banner or a vehicle decal, they are often ringing because everyone else uses banners or sign written vehicles in their line, so they want one too.

They rarely have considered what they want to achieve.

Take vehicle decals.  Yes, they really are a very economical way of advertising your service.  But only if your potential customers are going to see the vehicle.  If, for instance, you only drive around local to yourself but you only subcontract through one or two larger companies, then maybe it is time to think again.  But if you need decals to meet requirements for that contractor, then you might need to look for magnetics instead.

Or banners.  No point putting a banner up outside a remote venue that no-one passes.  Just having a banner doesn't guarantee results.  So often we end up suggesting a potential client go look for a different site and then get back to us.  Very uncool for certain, but we would rather supply products that work and meet expectations than just supply any old product.

In Search of the Missing Type

Karen Griffin - Friday, October 07, 2016

Something strange has been happening on your high street - and even in your lunch box!

Missing Type chocolateImagine our surprise one lunch time when Wendy produced her chocolate treat - had the 'a' dropped off somewhere?  Then we noticed that Waterstones also had a case of a missing 'A'.  And horror!  Downing Street was missing its 'O'.

Yet it seems that few outside of those who work with letters have noticed this most subtle of advertising campaigns.  So was it a success?

Can you guess who funded this?

Yes, the cash strapped NHS chose this very low key 'missing type' campaign to highlight the shortage of blood donors.  That's the NHS - the same one that is cash strapped with striking doctors.

Seems they should have gone for something a whole lot more direct.  What do you think?


Building Wrap Insurance Yawn

Karen Griffin - Friday, September 30, 2016

It was only a matter of time before the insurance kill-joys stepped in.

Dulwich College Scaffold WrapPersonally, we thought the idea of scaffold wraps were a good one.  Lets face it, scaffolding is never pretty.  Not only can a wrap totally disguise the ugliness - this picture is a straight image of the lovely facade below at Dulwich College, but it also offers a good advertising opportunity.

These types of wraps have always been a specialism of the 'big boys' in the sign industry, as working out the wind loading on scaffold is a very complicated job.  These companies tend to be compliant to all the BS, EN and ISO industry standards but it seems this is not enough to appease insurance companies, who are now warning that building insurance might be void if full submissions of compliance to the guidelines are not approved in advance.

The Association of British Insurers are pushing for a new insurance-driven standard covering all wraps and banners.  This would have a devastating effect on any charity, event or business who uses banners as part of their marketing strategy and would make this form of advertising uncompetitive.

We are joining many other small businesses who supply relatively small banners to individual clients (rather than corporates) to be exempt from this additional level of red tape.  One suggestion is that the new code only applies to wraps or banners above a certain square meterage.

Lets hope that common sense prevails.

The Hardest Thing About My Job

Karen Griffin - Thursday, September 22, 2016

Is communicating the level of skill required as a sign writer.

Lots of crafty people have stuck lettering onto varying things in their lives.  It doesn't mean they can sign write a whole van. A customer today had ordered some cheap etch vinyl on the internet - just a small piece to see how it would look before she had a whole window etched - and then rang to say she couldn't understand how we would do it without leaving bubbles. (We can, and we do!)

And just because we use machine cut vinyl these days, rather than brush and paint, doesn't mean we are any less skilled.

Our market is saturated with inept business owners and poor designers who turn out low quality vinyl that is impossible, at first glance, to be distinguished from the marine grade uv protected vinyl we use on external jobs - until a year or so down the line when it starts to shrink, crack or fade.  These businesses do poor quality work on inappropriate substrates (materials) and then charge either exorbitant prices or unrealistically low ones.

So it leaves me, as a responsible business owner, trying to overcome the obstacle of educating customers on quality design, work and materials whilst quoting a fair price that will ensure we will be in business when they return for more work, and that they see the happy faces of the same staff.

How good is that guarantee?

Karen Griffin - Wednesday, July 27, 2016

All of our customers have the security of knowing that their sign written vehicle has a 3 year guarantee (1 year on bonnets), but how do we know what we are underwriting?

We have always felt confident in that we buy only 'marine-grade' 8-10 year vinyl, so three years shouldn't be a problem.

But imagine our surprise when one of the UK's biggest suppliers, Hexis UK Ltd, found themselves defending allegations that their 8-10 year range cracked and faded in less than two years.  And it seems only a couple of colours in their range are affected.  I ought to add that Hexis are not one of our preferred suppliers (for other reasons) but they are one of the 'big boys' in the industry and so perhaps we are right to be worried.

Re-Usable Full Colour banners

Karen Griffin - Friday, June 17, 2016

This year the re-usable banners have really taken off.  Not just existing customers wanting new lettering for this year's events.

But brand new customers who have found us either by word of mouth or by google search.

They all have something in common.  An event that is held once or more times per year.  An event that they end up buying new roadside advertising for year after year which they display for 30 days or so.

And then they throw it away after. Into landfill.  Before shelling out for a new banner the following year.

Is this you?  Doesn't make sense really, does it?

We are most frequently asked, how does it work?

It does take a little more time on the planning front, as we need to produce two pieces of artwork for each banner.  One has the permanent details on it. The other is the whole banner, with the first set of details, and is exactly as it will arrive with the client.  But don't worry, we help you with this, sending you artwork for approval each step of the way.

So when you receive your banner, you simply unroll it and hang it straight up as your package will even include cable ties.  And our banners are hung just about everywhere, from the school fence to Horse Guards Parade!

Beating The Retreat reusable banner

And to change the information on your banner, it is really easy.  Just get in touch.  We keep back up files of everything we make.  We send you out the new lettering and you do the replacement yourself.  It really is very easy (and slightly addictive).  All you need is a hairdryer, some nail polish remover and an old credit card.  We even have a handy 'how to' video which you can see by clicking here.

So skip on over to the Re-Usable Banners page on our website or email me, Karen, direct on karen@griffindesigns.co.uk and we would be happy to quote you.  Make sure you have an idea of the size you want as this determines the price, but a rough idea would be 200x50cm banner for £54.


What do 13 industry experts in Vehicle Graphics Disagree on?

Karen Griffin - Tuesday, November 03, 2015
10 Biggest Sign Writing Mistakes (Van Graphics)

You Are Never Too Old To Learn

Karen Griffin - Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The one thing you must do in business is to continue learning.  I doesn't matter how old you are, there is always something new to learn, especially in the world of technology.


Learning to do these email newsletters, for example, has been a big thing over the ten years since I started Griffin Designs.  Today is the first time I have tried to include your name it - and I do hope that worked and my inbox isn't going to be deluged with complaints or remonstrations.


Nearly three years ago I realised I was sinking under the volume of work coming my way - a fortunate position to be sure, but one that was taking the pleasure out of working for myself.  Then I joined a mentoring group and realised that Griffin Designs was NOT a business.  It was just a job for me.  And I was introduced to learning and funding that helped the business grow.  You might have even met or spoken to my colleagues Lissie, Wendy and Paris.  Having regular help meant I could get on with the business of learning more about business.


So for the second year, I have signed onto a training programme, and thought I would share the information with you.  Click here if you want to learn more as it would be great to see you enjoy the type of accelerated growth that Griffin Designs has. Feel free to mention my name as I think you might get a discount.

Manufacturing & Engineering Mag


Chichester Observer Griffin Designs

And the BIGGIE for me was developing FabriStick®, which sells on Amazon and is just gaining interest not only from large high street stores, but also from other businesses who want to collaborate - and I scarcely knew what this word even meant just two years ago, but now it really is the only word I use when thinking about business development.


You are one of our core customers and I will be forever grateful to you because, without customers there is no business. But without innovation, any business can become stagnant and credit for giving that learning has to lie with The Entrepreneurs Circle.


Recognition (to the right) by Manufacturing & Engineering Magazine of our product, taking the Small Business Manufacturing South of England feature in the September issue was a real buzz.   So thank you for sticking with us!




Why NOT to have your van signwritten

Karen Griffin - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Yes, I know.  Why would a sign writer implore you NOT to have your van sign written?


When you are a completely inconsiderate tradesman, that is when!


If you go to the trouble and expense of having your van sign written and carefully installing a builders board outside your customers' premises, then you are in the 25% of tradesmen actively trying to market your business.  You understand that nosey neighbours will take note of who is working at Mrs Brown's and may see it as an unsaid testimonial should they be in the market for your trade in the future.


But DON'T ruin all that hard work by parking inconsiderately outside your customer's house.  I am sure you won't be that person that drops litter every where out of your van.  You certainly wouldn't be inconsiderate enough to block the kerb for pushchairs and mobility scooters.  And I am sure you wouldn't  shout and be generally discourteous to all the traffic that is beeping trying to get passed you on a busy A road . . . .


I know this because we only have nice customers . . . and our nice customers grow their business, not ruin it.

Oak Constructions Chichester


I got the vinyls on time and they were great! 
Thank you for your quick work, that was really appreciated!

LC, on receipt of her bespoke vinyl stickers

Thanks Karen, and thanks for organising this for me – I don’t know what I would do without you!


Fontwell Park Racecourse, EN
My order arrived safely today and I love it!

Thank you so much for providing such a fantastic service, I will definitely be back for more.


JP, on receipt of banner
Just thought I would drop you a line to say how impressed I am with your Cambridge Weight Plan car decals, when I went to development day earlier this year the car park in the hotel was taken over with the car decals and again at our convention 2 weekends ago at the Sofitel in Heathrow, the car park had loads of your decals.  

CL, Cambridge Weight Plan Consultant
The vinyl looks great Karen! Thanks so much!
Julia 
JG, on Christmas Pop Up Shop Lettering

I can’t remember if I ever got back to you to say thank you for all the hard work you went to, to ensure my car decal was right?  I’ve now got it on my rear window; it looks great, and I’m extremely pleased with it – so a big thank you!


JR, Cambridge Car Decal

Thank you so much for the artwork, I love it! Wow if only all companies operated as efficiently as Griffin Designs!


JP, Cambridge Consultant
Excellent service - thank you so much.

LN, Church Administrator on her new stamp

Karen – They look fantastic!!! Thank you so so so much !! J xxxx


Sussex Pet Sitters on new signage
Hello, Decal received today, Fabulous, Thankyou. If only the rain would stop to apply it, Ha!Ha! Many Many Thanks
DS, on receipt of self-apply Car Decals
We have received the banner safe and sound, thank you. It looks fantastic! Thank you for all your effort in assuring it reached us in time.
MC, Arun District Council
Just letting you know i received the car sticker yesterday.   It more than met my expectations and i'm really pleased with it.

JW, on receipt of her Cambridge WP Car Decals
Thanks so much for the banner, it looked great at the Last night of the Proms on Saturday!

TJ, JC Solicitors
I LOVE the car decals!!! Thank you. The video online was very helpful and well worth watching.  You're right, it's addictive. I want them everywhere!!!!!


LC, on receipt of rear window car decal
Just seen the A29 Banner up for Ladies Evening.It looks fantastic!
EN, Fontwell Park Racecourse
Decals arrived thank you what a great service you provide.
JT, on receipt of car decal
Just received the banner and just a quick note to say how pleased I am with it …stunning. So thank you very much for your quick turnover and if any of the other branches need anything like this in the future you will be top of the list.
MH, Bath on receipt of Royal Marines Assoc banner

Brilliant … thank you so much!


RW, Henry Adams on sponsored boat decal
Many thanks for your service. Now I have my order I feel free to tell you that you were not the first company that I was in touch with. However, you proved twice as efficient, twice the the quality and half the price. 
Sandy, Caithness Cheese Co on his vinyl lettering
Thankyou for such a great job, I agree with you that it looks fab
Adrian Hunt, on his applied car decals
It has arrived & it's blue & I love it !! Thank you so much !
Earth Seed To Bloom, on receipt of rubber stamp
We’ve got the stamp, which is exactly what we wanted
KL, Heritage Investments, rubber stamps
Hello Karen. Thank you very much for my vinyl lettering which arrived last week and is perfect!
KM, Romsey
WOO HOO!! Marvelous news. They just arrived. They look great! Thank you very much, we are very happy.
LB, Artificial Eye, London
 . .to thank you for your generous contribution towards the live music event at the Spotted Cow. The evening was an overwhelming success and raised the outstanding sum of £1200.
North Mundham Primary School, on their event banner
Thank you for the promptness of attending to our order for a stamp, the quality is quite amazing!
Paul, Ice Band
Yup, the A board is looking great !   Thank you for taking the time to create such an eye catching, elegant & informative board, & completing the branding image.
SF Arundel Acupuncture, on arrival of her new A board
I just wanted to say I had my first enquiry from someone that had seen our car last week. Lots of people comment on 'seeing it about' but this has been the first enquiry (which I am sure will be more than just that) from someone genuinely excited about the services we offer, and already recommending us to friends.
CB, Task Angels, on success of car decals
Did four of the banners yesterday and they really were quite painless and easy as you say.  Thanks for the instructions and encouragement, etc.
JH, on replacement of banner lettering
The lettering was perfect.  Thank you very much for helping me out over the Bank Holiday weekend.
SJ, Maritime Acoustics
Just wanted to say THANK YOU SO MUCH for getting the sign done for me so quickly.
Weight Loss & Beauty Centre, on window decals

I just wanted to email you quickly to say that the stamp came today - it is perfect! I'm so pleased with the end result, it really has surpassed my expectations. Thank you so much for your extremely swift service, and care and attention to the design.


RP on arrival of her rubber stamp
the rubber stamp is perfect
KC, Chappell Sports Cars
"Thanks for such prompt delivery of my address stamp.  Despite the snow & ice, my lovely postie delivered it today.  It's just the job :)
LB-J, Hayling Island
Fantastic Karen – I think it looks great Thank you for your excellent help and service.
MB, Cambridge Consultant
I love it I really do, its fantastic! Thank you so much for everything you have done for me.
Peek-A-Boo-Events, on receipt of banner
Just to thank you for my order.  The decal looks great on the car
CD, on her Cambridge Car Decal
"Received the stamp today and we are thrilled with it. The quality is fantastic and we will definitely recommend you."
IJ, Dog Togz on receipt of a logo'd rubber stamp
Thank you very much, the signs arrived this morning, and have already been put up. They match very well, and I was impressed how easy they went up. Thank you for all your help.
NM, Environment Agency, Wales on vinyl lettering
I would just like to know that I'm soooo happy with my stamp  A very big thankyou

Kaiser, Boxer Dog
Its fab!!!  Thanks sooooo much.
SF, CWP Consultant on her car decals

Hi Karen just to let you know decals arrived safe today and look bloody marvellous thanks have recommended you to another consultant .... Thanks for a great service and great decal will shout if I ever need any more thanks again from Alli


AG, Scotland on her Cambridge Weight Plan car decals
'WOW, it looks fab. I'm already noticing people checking it out as I drive around.  Well done, a brilliant service, fantastic customer service, and a fabulous price. You tick all the boxes.'

TM, Middlesex on her Cambridge Weight Plan car decals
'Stamps received, very pleased with them and your services.  Thank you'
LW, JJD Skips
'Thank you for your work on the banner I saw it this morning and it looks great. '
TW, Lancastrian Infants' School, banner sponsored by Peugeot
received this morning, very pleased with purchase. Thank you
AH, Subaru Dealer, Loughborough
Just wanted to drop you an email to say thank you so much for doing the stamp for me. Its just as accurate and professional as I need it to be. Again, many thanks and I will be sending more business you way soon
AP, Purley
Fab job! Many thanks
AS, West Sussex NHS Primary Care Trust
Thank you for getting in touch, the banners were excellent, and I really appreciated you turning them around so quickly.
CC, West Sussex County Council, London 2012 Ahead of the Game
I absolutely love it, as does everyone else, thanks so much
CF, Foresters Lodge
Thanks for the banner. It's up and looks ok
CP, Chichester District Council
Many thanks for your help again

DB, TD Facilities, on repeat order of vinyl stencils
Many thanks for making these amendments. It now looks fantastic.
DL, Help for Heroes about a sponsored banner
We are writing to thank you so much for your donation of a replacement banner for our music Festival. It restores ones faith in human kindness. . . . we raised a staggering ��20,000.
Fundraising Office for 4SIGHT, West Sussex Association For the Blind, on their banner
I just wanted to thank you again for the banner, he loved it! Actually it is still hanging up two weeks later!
GC, Birdham on 60th birthday celebration banner
. . . thank you very much, it looks great
GJ, Great Dane Developments Ltd on advertising board
The logos have arrived safely. They are exactly the right size and just what I wanted.
JB, Internet order for Boat Decals
On this bleak and rather depressing Monday morning your concise and great info is like a breath of fresh air . . .
LC, Phoenix Rose, London
Definitely put me down as a very satisfied customer. I found you on a Google search. It was important to me to get a reasonable replication of the Jaguar logo.
MB, Kent
Thanks very much for the stamps, and for doing them so quickly
SM, sfmconsulting.co.uk
Cheers again for your excellent service. You will certainly be getting more of our work in the future
TH, Flexile Ltd
Order process was really smooth and the product was brilliant
TM, Lets Go Operate
Hi Karen. Received the stamp this morning, Bern is one very happy bunny, thanks so much.
VH, Liverpool
Stamps received today, these are great so much cleaner than the old fashioned way!
VP Vanila DPS
Just a quick thanks for another great stamper
ZH, Dynamic Osteopathy
A very belated thank you for the new banners. I put the first one up and everyone commented on how fabulous it looked. It is so much more noticeable than our old canvas ones and in the summer I will endeavour to get a sponsor sorted as you suggested.
MA, North Mundham School
We had lots of very positive comments on the wonderful design of the banners and they looked fantastic outside the school . . . this year we raised £2500 which we were absolutely delighted with.
MA, Treasurer, PTA North Mundham Primary School

Just received my replacement letters.  Thank you so much for sorting this so quickly


Kate, on receipt of Cambridge Car Decals
Thank you for the prompt service all arrived today!!
ACG Accounting on receipt of their vinyl bumper strip
I have received my print thank you so much for such fast delivery.

Fantastic 


AB, on receipt of car decal

Just to let u know that I received the vinyls this morning ok, and they all look really good many thanks.


DE, Perth on his vinyl lettering for a Burger van
Two words :
 
Banner = fabulous.
 
Again, thanks for the quick turnaround - very much appreciated.

JT from www.theolivejar.com
Brill thank you so much i love it and thanks for taking the time to get it right for me so cant wait for it to arrive =]  thanks so much Karen
KC, on her new car decal
Thanks so much for the banners - the team were very impressed today!

MA, Whyke United Under 11's
 just wanted to write to say thank you very much for my wheel cover and lettering.  It looks fab!  I am hoping that people will see it around and that I’ll get lots of new customers.
SL, Cambridge Weight Plan
I have it!

That was extremely fast!!  I'm very impressed.

Thank you very much!



TS, Marwicks Brasserie, Bosham on receipt of banner

My dad has put the decal on and it looks great!  Too dark to take a picture now but will send one on soon. Thanks for your great customer service.


WF, on receipt of Hypnoslimmer Car Decal
Goodness knows what your workshop smells like, because these banners have rather an orange-y whiff to them now!
Wilderness Development, on receipt of re-stripped banners
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