Does sign writing effect your insurance?

Karen Griffin - Monday, November 20, 2017

We are often asked this question.  And we always give the same answer.

You MUST ring your insurance company to advise them of ANY modifications you make to your vehicle.  Modifications don't have to be mechanical. There are well documented cases of prestige cars having a full colour-change wrap and failing to notify their insurance company.  Yes - very messy in case of an accident.

So whether you stick some off-the-shelf go faster stripes on your car yourself, or we come and put a decal on just the rear window, you must advise your insurance company.

BUT, having said that, tell them that you don't want the decals put back in case of a claim.  This means that if you dent a panel and the sign writing needs replacing, you will not claim for this to be re-instated.  Our own experience is that most insurance companies do not increase the premium if you exclude this modification from a claim.  Reason being is that most bodywork damage is repaired by a body shop, not a vehicle sign writer.  It is very difficult for any vehicle sign writer to match someone else's sign writing exactly - not just in terms of colour, but also in terms of design and size.  So what may be only a few letters that need changing, for an insurance company would involve the whole vehicle being stripped of its sign writing and re-instated so that it all matched.

Why not consider bearing the cost of this yourself?  If you do have a prang, we keep all our artwork on file so we should be able to get your vehicle all matched up again in no time at all.

Griffin Designs car

Weather Watchers have nothing on us

Karen Griffin - Wednesday, November 15, 2017

As mobile vehicle signwriters, we do have to be fairly flexible about our diary.  Our workload is increasingly dictated by the accuracy of our weather men and women.  Yes . . . it can be a bit of a disaster (dahling).  In fact, it frequently is.  If we were as bad at our job as they are at predicting weather accurately, there is no doubt we wouldn't have a job!

We rely heavily on a weather app.  It gives us a ten minute warning of rain arriving in the postcode area we have programmed into it.  Ten minutes really isn't enough time if you are half way through sign writing a van, and the BBC have predicted that very morning that the probability of rain is close to zero.  Many a day we have had to sit the odd shower out in our own car.  We just hate leaving a vehicle half finished, with un matching sides, which is why we will often apply the matching vinyls on each side rather than complete a whole aspect before starting on another.

So a huge vote of thanks goes out to our lovely patient customers.  Yes, if they are working plumbing in a new bathroom in Mrs Jones' house, it doesn't really  make much difference if we turn up today or tomorrow as they are still earning their living with full access to the tools in their van.  But we do tend to cause a little ripple of excitement.  Even the oldest vans look great with a shiny new livery.

Why not give it a try?

Gazebo banner signage

Karen Griffin - Friday, November 10, 2017

We have been making banners for gazebo banners for a goodly few years now.  Not seen our video? Heavens, that is a classic. . . catch up here.

The velcro works well on flat surfaced, pvc gazebos and we have many satisfied customers.  Others challenge us more - and we continue to search for a simple yet effective solution for canvas gazebos that have had silicon waterproofing treatment.

In September this year, Twisted got in touch.  They had a specially made 'retro' marquee for the Goodwood Revival - a truly fantastic racing event where everything, from stands to ticket holders, are a homage to the 1920-60's.  It's like a giant period movie set.  And the rules for exhibitors are harsh. Every part of their stand has to comply with the very strict event rules. And Lord March himself has been known to inspect stands himself and insist on changes even on the day of opening.

Twisted happily left their marquee looking like this on the Wednesday afternoon. 

Retro marquee Their original sign writer had heat pressed vinyl lettering onto the waterproofed canvas marquee, before it was erected.  A really sensible way to get a branded marquee for a short period of time.  What no-one had expected was gale force winds and torrential rain overnight.  On the Thursday morning, first day of the event, the Twisted logo had mostly slipped off the marquee, rendering it totally unbranded in a sea of identical period marquees.

Although we never got the chance to inspect it during the working event, I suspect the combination of silicon waterproofing coupled with the extreme weather conditions gave the temporary vinyl little chance.  And with the marquee already erected and the event in full swing, there was nothing we could do to help them.

But it did get us thinking.  What if we used FabriStick®? Developed and manufactured by our sister company, it has had some amazing test results on short term external uses.  So we are now trialing it in working conditions and hope to have another option for gazebo/marquee users soon.

Take a look at to learn more.


Why cant you wrap?

Karen Griffin - Tuesday, November 07, 2017

After last week's embarrassing admission the question 'Why' has been the theme of many calls and emails.

And its not about our ability to wrap the Christmas presents, or rap to a beat! 

Well, vehicle wrapping is a very particular skill.  The sort of thing the late Bruce Forsyth would have loved in his Generation Game, had the technology existed then.  There is every opportunity to get into a very sticky mess.

First you need very clean conditions - so it is not best suited to mobile sign writers.  And then you need a very clean surface. Finally, you need lots of experience handling this ultra thin vehicle vinyl. The experts make it look easy, but of course it isn't.

We have tried it and it is great to handle, in that the vehicle vinyl isn't fully adhesive until you apply heat, so there is an element of manipulation that we don't get with calendered vinyl.  But it feels so much different.

At the end of the day, here at Griffin Designs, we like being mobile.  Not just that we get a different work environment every day, but that we like seeing what our client's are getting up to on their usual day in the 'office'.  And of course it means they are never without their mobile workshops.

Not Quite The Vinyl Queen

Karen Griffin - Thursday, November 02, 2017

How embarrassing!  Seems the self-styled Vehicle Vinyl Queen has fallen from her throne! 

It is fair to say that when we design a van livery for a customer, we play to our strengths, installation wise.  We use our knowledge of drive-by advertising to create a design that - together with our experience in installation and the quality vinyl we use - will be a long lasting success for our client.

So we didn't give this design, created by the client, a second thought.  Until we turned up to install.  Lovely sunny day, perfect sign writing conditions.  But oops - wrong type of vinyl for a two axis curve.

Sign writing cock upVehicle wrap on two axis curve

So as you can see, our vinyl just creased and stretched.  Emergency dash to vehicle wrappers extraordinaire ensued.  V-signs in Rake, Hampshire, bless them, saved the day.  Using ultra thin bespoke vehicle wrapping vinyl and years of experience in handling it, within an hour two technicians had successfully finished Road Trip Yoga's van to stunning effect.

A huge learning curve for us - literally!  Check the curves on the van before accepting a job designed by a third party. 

So our promise to our customers is - if we cannot do the job in-house, we can give you advice as to the best technician locally to help you.

Too Much of a Bad Thing - Sign Boards

Karen Griffin - Monday, October 30, 2017

It is possible to have too much of something.  And although we are in the business, we do think the Brits are way too keen on signage.

Take a  look around any public building.  There are signs on the doors, the floors and even hanging from the ceiling.  They tell us to be careful, stop smoking and the way to the stairs placed right in front of you.  It is never ending.

BUT some signage is useful. Some is just for legal protection.  And others for the plain stupid.  Why on earth would the government enrol in a costly radio advertising exercise just to tell people that a X above a road lane means it is closed?

If you are a small business and you have a persistent problem, sometimes a well placed reminder can really work wonders.

Did you know we did short runs of signage, like this one here? Personalised to your requirements.  And at 50x50cm on rigid white plastic for just £25*, it could be money well spent.

Flytipping sign

* supply only, subject to P&P, can be pre-drilled

Hydro Foiling or Dipping

Karen Griffin - Friday, October 20, 2017

Not a post about vinyl really - but it is still about transforming the look of something that might be tricky with vinyl.

Hydrofoiling - nothing to do with transport on water, Ben Ainsley or big expensive boats!  Just an incredibly cool way to change the look of those bits of your vehicle that are hard to change with vinyl.  Sometimes it is called Hydrodipping, dependent on what side of the Atlantic you are (sorry, too many references to water!).

But it does need a lot of water - but how great are these alloy wheels!

Hydrofoiling an alloy wheel

Mail Order Vehicle Graphics

Karen Griffin - Tuesday, October 17, 2017
So you live too far away for The Vinyl Queen to pay a visit with her mobile signwriting service?

Why not try applying graphics yourself?  We do a great mail-order design and supply service.

So you get great graphics for your vehicle, even if you live far away from the South Coast!

How to apply vinyl lettering

Removing Vinyl Lettering - The Spanish Way

Karen Griffin - Friday, October 13, 2017

So you have sign written your vehicle, but now it's time to trade it in.

Or maybe your contact details have changed.  Or you have a change of logo.

No need to go to the extremes of this Spanish driver, spotted by Karen on her recent holiday!

Removing vinyl

Don't reach for the masking tape.  Grab a hair dryer or heat gun.  Gently heat the graphics, and peel them off.  You may need to use an adhesive remover for any persistent tackiness.  We like D'Solvit.  A quick rub over with T-cut will remove any residual shadowing.

Then its just a case of ringing your mobile sign writer and getting the new decals installed.

Workwear - Vinyl vs Embroidery

Karen Griffin - Tuesday, October 10, 2017
As the self-styled 'Vinyl Queen', I spend a lot of time reading and researching new types of vinyl.  Wearers of our own Griffin Designs branded workwear, I spent years frustrated at the high rates of set up costs for embroidered work wear when there are clothing vinyls around.  They used not to be very good.

Now there are a whole raft of new clothing vinyls on the market.  They work really well on all sorts of fabric, from lycra stretch to hi viz jackets.  They wash well at high temperatures, without the cracking and fading of the old style vinyls.  There are no set up costs, so if you just want one shirt, you pay for one shirt. 

Differences between vinyl and embroidery clothing
I was lucky enough to be given a t-shirt that had embroidery and vinyl graphics on it.  It really does show up the differences very well.  Even at hot wash, the vinyl looks good, whereas the block of embroidery on the sleeve has puckered and is stiff against the soft fabric.  
The vinyl on the rear - well you don't know it is there.  Nothing on the inside to tickle or irritate.

I have also never personally got my head around outdoor waterproofs and embroidery needles - though I am sure the waterproof is protected from all those holes somehow!

With vinyl, like embroidery, you do need to take care with the ironing process.  Inside out is the essential skill needed.

Prices for vinyl are keen as well, especially for the small business or sole trader.  T-shirts are £10.50, Polo Shirts are £14.99 and Hoodies £27, including the personalisation.  We use only good quality American brands.

And to tempt you away from your usual Embroidered work wear, we are offering a one year money back satisfaction guarantee.

So hop over to the vinyl side . . . and try us for your next clothing order.

These are not available on our website, so email to request a quotation.

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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