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Activity Feed Forums Sign Discussion Off Topic Chat Hands up who’s a cowboy? Reply To: Hands up who’s a cowboy?

  • Bill Dewison

    April 4, 2005 at 6:59 am
    quote aztec:

    I wasnt on about the substrate, more the quality of the vinyl, eg: putting monomeric vinyl on vans where everyone knows that it wont do, i know plenty of sign makers that would do this

    That still doesn’t define a cowboy for me. Just because a sign outfit chooses to use a monomeric as apposed to a polymeric, it doesn’t make them a cowboy. I’ve seen plenty of vehicles that could have been applied in one or the other, but there’s been more bubbles than your average Aero chocolate bar and creases so big they could be recesses! 😮 Thats got very little to do with vinyl choice and alot more to do with poor technique, but poor technique doesn’t automatically make someone a cowboy.

    Where ever some one works, which vinyl they use, which substrate the customer wants, it makes very little difference. Humble opinion, there is nothing wrong with being a beginner, working with cheaper materials or charging less than the next signmaker. Thats not to say there is any need to work like that, but there is nothing wrong with it. Different areas have different needs and signmakers will run their businesses as they see fits their particular area and level of expertise. Granted, we’re all guilty of error in judgement, agreeing to do a job that we probably wouldn’t show on the boards unless we were slightly inebriated, but again, that doesn’t define a cowboy.

    A customer walks in, they have a van that has a dubious font and they want you to copy the design exactly onto their new van. You show them a far superior alternative, better font, well spaced and layed out, but they don’t want it. “Just copy my van!” You may not like it, but would you turn down the £250 on offer? Its their van, thats what they want and you’ve got no signwork in on that particular day, so what do you do? If you sign the van, are you a cowboy?

    If you go out with the intention of ripping someone off, don’t take the time to learn your trade or don’t learn by your mistakes, maybe then you could be classed as a dodgey trader. Many signmakers start out on their own, without the help of places like UKSignboards or anyone else. They learn by their mistakes, gain experience with every job, but they need to earn while they learn. I was very lucky to have time-served professionals who were willing to take the time to describe how to do the job properly, which materials to use etc. and I also had the luxury of time and money to learn skills, buy the correct materials and practise the trade. Many don’t have that opportunity and the sign we look at and sneer at may have had as much time and attention spent on it as one that we admire.

    I’m rambling a bit, but my point is that I believe a signmaker is defined by their character more than their skill level. New skills can be acquired, material knowledge can be gained through experience and poor design can be improved, providing that signmaker has the opportunity and the luxury of time. Humble opinion, the term of “cowboy” is banded about alot on UKSB, but anyone who joins in, gets involved and contributes can not be defined as a cowboy, as the very fact they are here means they want to learn more about the trade and become better at their jobs.

    In short, there ain’t no cowboys here pilgrim!

    Cheers, Dewi