The End of the Last Minute Fuel Run

Karen Griffin - Thursday, April 23, 2015

Wouldn’t it be absolutely FANTASTIC if you could drive to work every day and NOT have to stop for fuel?

Wouldn’t it be handy if your car filled itself? 

Prepare yourself… 

Volvo is developing a range of ‘self-filling’ cars that would never need a visit to the garage. Fancy that!

No more queuing, no more slipping on diesel in your fancy work shoes, no more succumbing to the temptation of a bar of Dairy Milk on the way to the till.

How would it work?

Well, when your tank is close to empty, your car would send a message via smartphone to a mobile fuel supplier to come and fill it up. The supplier would have a one-off code to open your fuel cap – safety first, obviously. So you could park your car, go to work, and by the time you’re back, your tank would be full!

BUT as always, there’s a catch. Volvo never ‘officially’ talk about innovations and simply said “maybe” when asked about the fuel idea, so it looks like we may be waiting a little longer before our cars start talking to each other and ‘fuelling-up’ behind our backs.

But still, you have to admire their ability to KEEP coming up with ridiculously clever ideas – someone has to do it, eh?   Or did they realise that mobile services are the future.  And we are not talking 'phones!  Mobile sign writing has never been so popular.  So if Volvo think soon fuel supply will be mobile, that makes us ridiculously happy.  With a business that is here to stay.

Enjoy your trip to the station - in the next decade it could be just a supermarket!

The most amazing sign planning loop hole

Karen Griffin - Wednesday, April 08, 2015

The final and most interesting planning quirk . . . . 

Loop Hole #3

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, last year we made our largest ever banners - 22m long 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

And don't forget to get the land owners permission!

Does My Sign Need Planning? Loophole 2

Karen Griffin - Thursday, February 26, 2015

Continuing our investigation of potential planning quirks . . .

Loop Hole #2

Interestingly, there are a whole raft of different promotional products that just don't need planning permission.

These include 

  • flags - would this include feather flags? . . . still not legally tested!
  • signage associated with an Election (which is probably pretty temporary anyway)
  • promotional boards associated with a community event such as a jumble sale or fete
We all know of organisations that have had their road side boards removed by the grass cutting council.  Legally, this is nothing to do with the grass cutting.  It is because the chief rule on all signage is that you MUST have the LAND OWNERS PERMISSION.  And verges, lamp posts and trees usually belong to either a local Council or Highways.  Both of whom are difficult to get a decision out of.  Why not ask a house owner whose fence faces a main road?

Remember that the most widely recognised definition of 'temporary' is 30 days or less.  So if you are holding a charity event on 6 March, just put the boards and banners up on 6 February.  Don't forget to allow time to get the material made too!

The most interesting loop hole I will save until next time . . . 
feather flags


Griffin Design

Does My Sign Need Planning? Loophole 1

Karen Griffin - Thursday, February 26, 2015

Planning Regulations are a bit of nightmare, with one county permitting something that needs a full application in the neighbouring county.

So if you are looking to promote an event or install some signage, it is worth considering these little planning quirks.

Loop Hole #1

Local planners have powers to allow a variety of signs and outdoor adverts in certain situations and locations.  It all depends on how the Government's regulations on Temporary Advertising are interpreted.

So 'temporary' might be the hoarding around a building site.  This is taken down once the building is completed, so by it's very nature, it is temporary.

Why not ask if you could hang a banner there? Always seek the landowners permission otherwise you could be in a whole lot of different deep water.

What about all those hay bales seen sitting in the summer fields, clearly visible from the motorway?  Temporary - they most certainly are.  And could they be vinyl wrapped to look like car tyres, hamburgers or even candyfloss?

You bet there is a way to do that!

Hay bale

More ideas in a fortnight . . . 

Can Sign Writing Void Your Insurance?

Karen Griffin - Tuesday, January 27, 2015

So before Christmas, I had reason to be roadside parked in Brighton, and was enjoying a quiet few moments with the winter sun streaming through the car window (I might add that there was a bitter wind outside, as is common in Brighton!).  Suddenly, SMASH!  A speeding van side scraped my car, with enough force to jolt me onto the kerb.   When my pulse rate had dropped slightly and my legs could hold me, I jumped out the car to see the van speeding into the distance.  Mmmmn, cue rude language followed by swift gratitude that my car was still drive-able and no-one was hurt.

To cut a long story short, a passing pedestrian told me the van was down a cul-de-sac, so I blocked in the offending vehicle, endured a lot of very colourful language from the contract driver, locked myself in my car after taking photos of incriminating damage to avoid his increasing wrath, and drove shakily away.

Now as a sign writer, you would expect me to recognise a wrapped van, and even more, be a bit savvy with how I reported the incident.  As a driver, I have little experience of reporting accidents (fortunately) and I am now much wiser as to how little information I should have volunteered.

Timpson dry cleaning

Honda Civic

The photo might not look much, but my car needs three panels replaced. It might be a write-off.

The Timpsons Dry Cleaning van doesn't look much better either.

But this large national company has insured its 52 strong fleet of WHITE vans with Allianz.  But it failed to declare that the vans have all been 'wrapped' in their brand colours.  

So the call went;

Insurers: "and you have been hit by white van reg no...."

Me: "No, it has been vinyl wrapped, it is a purple van now"  

If I could turn back Allianz declares the insurance policy is null and void leaving me in the 'no-mans-land' of being hit by an un-insured driver. 

So, don't do a 'Timpsons' - if you have a vinyl wrap, or a lot of block vinyl sign writing, do notify your insurer.   It shouldn't financially change your insurance policy if the cost of replacement sign writing is excluded in case of an accident. 

Griffin Design


Karen Griffin - Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Well, we are!  (and, yes, sometimes it is easier to confuse us than others!).

But this is really weird.  We have business accounts with several carriers, including Royal Mail.  We had a very interesting missive, clear as mud, explaining that Royal Mail planned to increase the allowed size and weight under the small parcel category from 20 October until 18 January.  The letter went onto explain the new sizes/weights.  At first glance it looked like a price change for a 'small parcel' for the third time this calendar year.

It finished by saying that they were not doing this as part of a Christmas campaign, but as a three-month price cut to boost their parcel business, which is apparently under pressure.

The changes in parcel category are open to everyone, but as a business who buys in packaging, how is it helpful to have to change that packaging for three months just to comply to the whim of a failing monopoly?  Whilst the new prices trim 30p off our standard parcel size, it doesn't allow for the drive, the park and inevitable queue, linked to the possibility of bad weather ruining our hairstyles (only joking!).

So what are your thoughts?  Do you think the Royal Mail has completely lost sight of what its customers really want?

Get Britain Stamping Month

Karen Griffin - Friday, October 10, 2014

October is Get Britain Stamping Month and we are one of the manufacturers across the UK taking part.

So for an extra 15% off of our already discounted prices, just quote GBS2014 at the check out.

What will you do with yours?

We've put together some ideas on this video

Driving Cars

Karen Griffin - Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Something very exciting is happening! 

A new type of car…not just a new shape or model. 

A self-driving car! 

Now, I know what you’re thinking…yeah sure, it’s one of those things that will never happen. 

But set aside your doubts because the self-driving cars will be allowed on British roads from January 2015! 

How exciting! 

Also, it’s not just Google that’s developing them; companies like Nissan have gotten behind the self-driving future! 

Other manufacturers are also catching the driverless bug… 

This got me thinking about the world of business… 

When something so new, exciting and possibly game changing comes to fruition companies must embrace it or face falling behind or becoming obsolete!   So will this take vehicle sign writing to a whole new level?  Will the roads be even more crowded by self-driving cars being used as mobile bill boards?  

Perhaps the this tried and trusted promotional tool is not dead yet . . . 

Have a lovely day, 

Karen & Wendy

PS could it also be a saviour for the pub industry?  Drunk in charge of a driverless car - now that would take some explaining!

Never To Old To Learn

Karen Griffin - Monday, June 30, 2014

Our all-female team is great, but Karen is taking four days out to immerse herself in improving the business for our customers.  She has been away all weekend and reports this morning of doing sixteen hour days, but she is still buzzing with ideas and excitement of things to come.  She is spending another two days to try to implement some of the new systems before she comes back and is thrown into the hectic ness of our normal working day.

Watch this space!  (And bear with us!)

Would You Hire A Female Brickie?

Karen Griffin - Monday, June 02, 2014
Reports today indicate that the number of female tradeswomen is on the rise - to almost 6% of the total industry.  This covers a variety of trades, from bricklaying, plumbing and, of course, sign writing. And now we have our own magazine to prove it : Woman In Trade Magazine

What are your views?  

Female Sign WriterWould you be less likely to hire a female brickie than a female painter?    It seems that many would.  And it proved impossible to find a picture of a female bricklayer to accompany this newsletter that wasn't studio posed.  Prejudice is alive and kicking strongly on the internet.   Although women are generally believed to be more reliable and better at customer service, can they really cut the mustard at traditional physical skills?  This new magazine believes that attitudes in this workplace are changing with more females enrolling on trade courses and getting jobs in the industry.   Janet Kirlew (The Editor of Woman In Trade Magazine) said: "One of the most common reasons why they (tradeswomen) set up their business was due to their own frustration and difficulty in finding competent and reliable tradespeople with good customer service.  They recognised a gap in the market".

We think that might be the tipping point.  Griffin Designs has been nominated for the NatWest Venus Business Awards in the Customer Service category - more in a future newsletter.  But whilst many customers are initially surprised to see a female sign writer turn up, our most common comments are about time keeping and customer service.

Long may that continue. 

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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