Mobile sign writing surprises

Karen Griffin - Friday, September 22, 2017

Being a mobile signwriter certainly shakes up working in the same workshop every day.  You could say that no two days are the same.

Until we turn up for a job, we are never exactly sure of the situation.  We ask our customers to park politely in a safe place, but sometimes you are working kerb side.  In this case, we usually turn up in pairs, so that one can warn of traffic whilst the other quickly applies the vinyl (unless we have access to keys and turn the vehicle around).

Last week we were in a serviced office block in Gosport.  The client had parked at an empty end of the car park, with spaces all around their car.  Imagine the surprise when the Centre Manager came out and told us we were infringing their H&S rules because we couldn't block off parking spaces and he couldn't feel confident of our safety.  This was a deserted parking area remember.  The client sorted it out.  He moved his car to a single bay, with planing on three sides.  Except this bay was on the main entrance in to the complex and the bushes were in the way as well.  Talk about making a simple job more complicated!  After several close misses with huge delivery lorries, the Centre Manager came out again!

Bit perhaps our most favourite places to sign write a vehicle are those lovely rural workshops or units. You know the ones, where our dogs come to help - even if they do end stealing the customer's seat! 

dog in deckchair

The Good The Bad and The Interesting

Karen Griffin - Friday, September 15, 2017

Some mobile sign writing jobs are more memorable than others. 

This one was for the wrong and the right reasons.

The good: It stood out from the start.  The owner, Neil, had a professionally designed logo which we knew would make for a stunning sign written trailer.  Having a logo that works on all media does immediately put you ahead of the rest.

The bad: Typical September day in the UK.  High winds, absolute torrential rain and thunder, followed by periods of quiet, hot sunshine. Can't tell you how many times we dried this trailer off to apply a few strips of vinyl, only to take cover before drying it off again.  And again.  And again.  Supposed to be a two hour job and it turned into over four hours.

The just plain interesting: Being of a certain age, we had NO IDEA that peeps obtaining their driving licence after 1997 needed to pass a test to tow? Mind you, its a tough skill and probably a lot of us could do with a few tips or confidence builders anyway.  What a great business!

Sign written trailer

Stick on Magnetic Sheeting

Karen Griffin - Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Yet more exciting new vinyls on the market.  In the trade, they go by the mouthful of a name 'magnetically-receptive self-adhesive films'. To the rest of us, that is sticky magnetic sheeting.

Want to hang a fridge magnet on your plastic fridge? Just put a sheet of this vinyl up and you can.  Excitingly, it comes in three finishes.  Whiteboard, grey or printable.  The reason we are so excited is that it is thin enough for us to cut into shapes.

We have yet to check its longevity in external conditions, but imagine this applied to the side of your van? You could write on special messages, clip leaflets on it using magnets - so many options! Or even just use it on your fridge of course.

fridge magnets

Artificial Intelligence - who will it replace?

Karen Griffin - Thursday, September 07, 2017

There is no doubting that we all have our roles here.

Karen knows about vinyl.

Lissie is the expert on design

Wendy avoids computers at all costs, but knows her way around the workshop and ensures everyone gets their parcels on time by the best carrier

Paris has youth on her side, meaning she is good at everything but especially with the camera!

So which of us will be replaced by artificial intelligence?

CorelDraw (our design software package of choice) have introduced a new update called LiveS-ketch®. It apparently 'uses the power of a neural network to understand and deliver a natural vector drawing experience that replicates the feel of pen and paper.'

In English, I think that it means it automatically digitises (computerises) any drawing you do by hand.  To be fair, we do use a digital tablet already but its not compatible with Corel.  So I guess this new feature means it all works in Corel.  

Not sure it will completely replicate Lissie, but it might make her life a little easier.

Vinyl fights . . .germs?

Karen Griffin - Wednesday, August 30, 2017

I did mention that there are lots of new vinyls out there, but Drytac have just launched an Anti-Bacterial film.  It comes with an exciting scientific dossier, claiming reliable protection from MRSA, Streptococcus, E.coli and Salmonella.

This film is a laminator, so can be used over promotional wall posters and materials to create a barrier against these bacteria.  As the anti-bacterial properties are actually manufactured into the film, they cannot be wiped off, so it sounds like it would be ideal for hospitals, nurseries etc where the walls are often dull because of fears of infection.

Hopefully we can look forward to a brighter, cleaner environment that is less sterile in looks for children and adults alike.

Royal London Hospital wall mural

Keeping Up With The Jones

Karen Griffin - Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Regular readers will have heard about our tussles with 'The Beast', our new moody (but expensive) print/cut machine.   But machinery is only a small part of it. Vinyl manufacturers are very active at the moment in creating a whole load of new types of vinyls, all with different features (and increasingly expensive price tags).

In the last week we have had two different manufacturers after our business, trying to tempt us with their innovations.  And sure enough, we have a whole pile of sample rolls - exciting stuff!  It will take us a while to test them properly.  It's not just about the print and cut, but about the longevity, resistance to fade and scratching, ease of application etc.  If a vinyl is quick to apply and gives a smooth finish it can easily justify a higher price tag in the time it saves us.  And although the sales guys (yes, they are nearly almost always male) know this all takes time, it doesn't stop them ringing every week.

irridescent vinyl

But the box we were most excited to unpack was this one.  This vinyl costs an eye-watering £45 per metre just to buy, and we have yet to make a decision what to do with it, but we just couldn't resist it's qualities.

As you can see it is irridescent (changes colour in the light) and it is sold as a window film as it can make the window opaque in certain lights, but be totally transparent in others.

I imagine top end stores might use it in window promotions.

We haven't yet unpacked it properly, so we have yet to know whether it lives up to its promises, but maybe we might be able to make a nice little offering on our sister site's collection: for those who want a subtle security sticker for their expensive bi-fold doors.  What do you think?

Vinyl - What Would You Do With Yours?

Karen Griffin - Thursday, August 17, 2017

There is no doubt.

Vinyl application is addictive.

It goes back to our 'inner child' when we loved creating from sticky black plastic (oh, the long lost days of Blue Peter!)

Mostly we get orders of a quite specific nature from customers.  Colour, size and even radius of the lettering is discussed but we often don't know, and don't ask, how it is going to be used.

Some lovely customers send us a photo!

How about this, then?  Goes to prove, no job too small . . . 

bike decals

The Difference between Embroidered and Vinyl Workwear

Karen Griffin - Thursday, August 10, 2017

Since the post last week, we have had a lot of interest in personalised clothing.  Seems we didn't explain the difference between the more traditional embroidered work wear and the newer vinyl personalised clothing.  Whilst we don't pretend to be a specialist in the embroidery, we hope this post does explain it better.


  Vinyl  Embroidered 
set up charge  no set up charge yes, because the thread count dictates the price
 fabrics works on all fabrics from lycra, to hi viz and 
fleece. No damage to waterproofing
 on waterproofs, needs a special pocket behind the
embroidered panel to maintain garment features
 number of units minimum order of one. Prefer max order of 50 Great for high volumes, more expensive for individual 
 longevity the newer vinyls, with the correct washing
will last for ages without cracking or fading
very hard wearing, unless you snag the embroidery when it could
all unravel
 washing instructions low temperature wash, tumble inside out  low temperature wash, avoid tumble as the embroidery might
shrink leaving the design puckered.
 hygiene as the vinyl is heated into the fabric there is
no-where for dirt to hide
in areas where hygiene is of utmost importance, there is a risk that
dirt might hide deep in the fibres of the embroidery
 hats and other products we don't have a machine for hats yes, works well on hats

If you do have any other questions, please get in touch.

Personalised Clothing Vinyl

Karen Griffin - Thursday, August 03, 2017

For a while we have been offering our customers short runs of personalised clothing.  We are talking really short runs - minimum number one-off!  And there is no artwork cost. It always seems a bit churlish to charge for artwork when we have already set this up for sign writing or banners. Never been a fan of this 'hidden' cost.  

We are vinyl printing our clothing (no surprise for the Vinyl Queen there!).  Some people always will prefer embroidery but the set up cost is very expensive if you are looking at less than 10 units.  Vinyl used to be a bit dodgy, and after time would crack and peel, but these days the textile vinyl has really come on leaps and bounds.  Not just flat colours, but glitter, prism, sequins, metallic - amazing effects.  And it can all be washed a low temperatures.

We can supply a wide range of clothing, from branded Result or Craghopper, to American AWDi and B&C.  Tshirts start from £10.50 each, Polos from £14.99 and Hoodies from £27. Trousers, coats and hi-viz are available too. These are all inclusive prices.

Hi viz personalised coatsPersonalised Craghopper fleecePersonalised Hoodiepersonalised aprons

The Biggest Planning Loophole of All

Karen Griffin - Thursday, July 27, 2017

I have worked for years in the sign industry and was amazed that this is true.

Signs put up in enclosed areas are exempt from planning.

And example might be:

  • a football stadium
  • a farmyard used as parking for a farm shop
In fact, our largest ever banners - 22m long - were made for promotion around a football pitch.  No planning needed.

So could sports fans or organic shoppers be amongst your target market?  Worth a think perhaps.

Football club bannersFootball club advertising banners

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!
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
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.


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
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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