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  • UK signage versus the rest…

  • Hugh Potter

    Member
    October 25, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Something mentioned on another thread just now got me thinking.

    As signmakers, we find it impossible to go anywhere without looking at the signage, approving or disapproving of each on it’s merits… don’t we?

    Anyway, I can’t help but notice when I walk around UK towns and cities that there is a huge amount of cheap and (quite honestly) ghastly signage up where there should be something inviting – or at least smart. I see banners stretched over old facias – rarely fitting correctly, nasty foamboard wavering across the building, flat panels with no attempt to conceal the fixings or just plain awful design… I know we’ve all ‘had to do what the customer wants’ from time to time but, why is this so much more eveident in the UK than abroad?

    In the past 18months I’ve been lucky enough to visit Rome, Moraira and Barcelona, in each case I can honestly say that almost all of the signage I saw, from main roads, shopping districts and plazas, to the whiffy little side streets away from the touristy bits, was all of a pretty good standard, colourful, inviting, etc. from bog stores to tiny cafes..

    Why can’t we do that?

    Are we far more expensive than spanish or italian sign makers or are most of our customers just after cheap cheap cheap all day? I can’t remember the last time I quoted on a (new customer) shop front and didn’t lose out to some cheap half price tat, in fact I rarely bother to even quote on them now as they’re more often more trouble than they’re worth;- quoting for the ‘I must have big 3d letters with led lighting and blah blah’ yet when it comes to it, they put up some naff digi flood coat that looks nothing like the enquiry!!

    is it just me?

  • Tim Cowlishaw

    Member
    October 25, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    haha try selling hand painted signage Lots of people want it Very few want to payI can produce a all wood sign using correct paint systems and framed That would last 10 years plus But try selling it i.e £500 that’s £50 a year that’s cheap But do they look at it like that Oh no They go somewhere else and have a £150 job that looks crap and fails very quickly Oh well that’s people for you 😀

  • Phill Fenton

    Member
    October 25, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    Is it really any better or worse than anywhere else?

    I see a huge range of signs all around me – ranging from the very poor to the absolutely brilliant. Only the other day I saw a van with photo shopped lettering on it. I was driving at the time and had little time to study how it had been done but suspect it was a case of part wrapping a white van with printed clear vinyl. The effect was of raised lettering "floating" on the background which featured a realistic looking soft shadow. I suspect someone must have paid good money to get this done.

    Likewise, last night I was in Edinburgh and marveled at some of the signs I was seeing in the city centre. Some feature very expensive led lighting effects and would have cost a of of money.

    There are expensive as well as cheap signs everywhere if you look for them.

  • Robert Lambie

    Member
    October 25, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    I agree with you on most there Hugh, but are we really as bad as other countries?
    I think in allot of cases we are better!
    For the past 25 years i have scrutinised every sign i see, when i get the chance. yes i am a geek that way! :lol1: particularly on holiday though…

    If we get away from the bright colours and graphics for now. Lets look at how well they are made?

    Road signs are made from thin pressed metal plate.
    Painted non-reflective graphics.
    mounted by bolts through the face into thin rectangular tubed posts.
    these types of road signs would be condemned in the UK and rightly so.

    illuminated lighboxes using 4mm correx for the face.
    Wires hanging out the back and running along a wall into a window and plugged in some place.

    these are just two of countless amounts i have seen in minorca and ibiza in the past few years. i took pictures of countless like it.

    i think we really are better off on the whole with regards to the majority of things to take into consideration.

    However…
    I was in Perth, Scotland Last week and I echo what you have just said. the majority of signage was crap. it was very dated, and tired looking. design work etc poor. I actually made a comment that a decent sign maker up here would do well.
    i know there are sign makers from Perth on these boards. something for them to consider! 😀

    as for the customer is always right milarky, that’s not entirely true… we are the professionals, we should be educating the customer why not to buy crap from the guy down the road. yes keep them happy, but there are ways in doing this without slashing prices and selling crap.

    good topic hugh!

  • Hugh Potter

    Member
    October 27, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    I’ll look more closely next time I’m abroad. I wasn’t so much thinking about road signage but more the small shops etc. even if relatively poorly fitted (visible wires etc.), they have still spent out on a nice looking sign. I feel that the majority of similar small businesses over here wouldn’t spend as much!

  • Reza Faezi

    Member
    October 27, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Im addicted to looking at everone elses signage, vans, banners etc and always have something to say on them all. You are correct Hugh, however more often than not its down to the customers budget. Most people want "something smart, eye catching, colourful, modern, it has to stand out and different to what everyone else has but has to be cheap as possible!!! Sorry but all of what was mentioned above does not come cheap or not as cheap as the customers think it should cost. And even then they still want to know how we can make it cheaper still.

  • Hugh Potter

    Member
    October 27, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    totally agree Reza!

    I’ve just been asked to quote on some signage specs and the pdf they sent through (minus the important stuff like logo’s etc and prices) was clearly a very well put together, very detailed quote from another local signmaker, I’m not interested in that kind of customer and have just turned it down on the basis of being too busy.

  • Martin Cole

    Member
    October 27, 2014 at 3:47 pm
    quote Robert Lambie:

    illuminated lighboxes using 4mm correx for the face.

    😮

    What should I be using instead then…………. 😉

  • Nick Minnery

    Member
    October 27, 2014 at 3:52 pm
    quote Martin Cole:

    quote Robert Lambie:

    illuminated lighboxes using 4mm correx for the face.

    😮

    What should I be using instead then…………. 😉

    3mm Martin, 4mm won’t let the light through enough, and unnecessary expense for the client!

  • Martin Cole

    Member
    October 27, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Dammm!… 25 years of using 4mm when I could have got away with 3mm….

  • Dan Osterbery

    Member
    October 27, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    Rob pop in for a cuppa de sangria next time you are in Menorca! I am also addicted to looking at signage wherever I am in the world, never know you might learn something! Also very interesting to see how other people do things! Whenever i return ti the UK, I think the signage there is much better than what we have here! the grass is always greener i suppose! (just for the record we use perspex for our lightboxes!! 😎

    cheers

    Dan

  • Brian Little

    Member
    October 31, 2014 at 8:52 pm
    quote :

    However…
    I was in Perth, Scotland Last week and I echo what you have just said. the majority of signage was crap. it was very dated, and tired looking. design work etc poor. I actually made a comment that a decent sign maker up here would do well.
    i know there are sign makers from Perth on these boards. something for them to consider!

    hmmmm i agree rob thankfully cant remmember last shop i did…..a long long time ago the whole bloody town is tired and dated 😕

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