Staying in the Background

Karen Griffin - Friday, May 02, 2014
Given choices, it is natural to want to choose from every section:
Background - yes!
Lots of different fonts - yes!
Italics, bold, outline - yes!
Loads of colour - yes!

But for large scale designs, less is definitely more.  

Compare these two sign written vans.  Both in the same trade.  Which do you find easier to read?

Carpet Clean sign writingSupreme clean

Could you guess which one cost FOUR TIMES more than the other? Sometimes it is best to pass on the background option. . .

A Bold Decision

Karen Griffin - Wednesday, April 16, 2014

So. Many. Fonts.

Which. To. Choose?

Don't get me wrong.  Choosing the right font for the right job is vitally important.  And that is before you consider colour.

The most basic computer comes with far more choices than is needed for everyday communication.  Google even has its own range of free-to-download fonts.  Designers, like ourselves, have discs or trade subscriptions giving us access to tens of thousands of fonts.

And fonts do go in fashion waves.  Serifs, were, until very recently, less popular than sans-serifed fonts. (Serifs are the little tags on the ends of each letter, sans is the French word for without).  The origin of the word Serif is unknown.

Think Times New Roman does this font look more dated to you than the sans-serif Arial?  And serifed Georgia seems to be very trendy at the moment, whereas until recently, sans-serif Verdana or Tahoma were popular.

There are serifed and sans-serifed fonts that are easy to read in most formats, so it is just a case of personal choice

Over the next four weeks, we hope we can guide you through this maze so that whether you are communicating through the written word, by email, by banner or through vehicle signage, your message gets through loud and clear.

The Problem With Signwriters

Karen Griffin - Thursday, April 10, 2014

The biggest challenge in our trade is simply that, as a collective, sign writers are bad at following up, or offering customer service.  Why should that be?  It is an industry yet to be commoditised, and most of us work in and own our own businesses.  It simply isn't enough for a good trades person to ignore basic marketing practices.  After all, there is no point having a website if the enquiries from it are not followed up.

Every week we get a customer bemoaning the fact that they had rung/emailed # number of sign writers that they had given up hope of securing a quote or even having the job done.  We are constantly amazed at how long a customer will wait to have a job completed before they decide to go elsewhere.  It can be months . . literally!

Alfa taxi group

We promise our customers that we will give realistic time frames and quote within 24 hours.  We specialise in short time frame jobs.  As mobile sign writers, it is entirely possible for a van to turn up and wait whilst we design, manufacture and fit the graphics.  Often the driver is happy to sit and drink (or even make us) coffee whilst we bash on.

Take Steve of Alfa Taxi Group.  He often doesn't know where he is from hour to hour - it is the nature of his trade - but we have managed to sign the whole fleet of Alfa Taxis as they show up.  And Steve makes excellent tea!

So even if you want to speak about plans which might be months away, why not give us a ring and see if we can help at the planning stage?

The Stress of Surprises

Karen Griffin - Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Karen GriffinSome of you will know that I (Karen) have a special birthday coming up.  I have spent the past year having a fantastic time doing something different every month, and my lovely husband has surprised me with a fantastic overseas trip, coming up next week.

Those of you who are self-employed or run your own small business will understand why my absolute joy is tainted by stress.  Usually, leaving the business involves months of planning and weeks of liaising with our contract or regular customers, and then closure during a traditional 'down' time.

So in the next couple of weeks, you will find Lissie or Paris here.  They might not be able to answer all your questions, but hopefully they will be able to point you in the right direction.

And if you can, or if you prefer and your job is able to, wait until I get back at the beginning of April when normal service will be resumed

This Is Too Much Information

Karen Griffin - Friday, March 07, 2014

It seems our almost daily challenge is dealing with information overload.  And I am not just talking about the email in-box.  We find it is customers who want to put too much information on their vehicles or banners.  

Most of the time, once we have done our version of the artwork and compare it to their suggestion, the customer sees the benefits of 'less is more'. But cutting the number of words is not the only tool in producing effective 'drive by' advertising design.  Most readers need to get the essential message in just two to three seconds, so we need to look at shape, and tonal variation, and the clever use of colour blocking.

After all, vehicles and banners are all about getting the customer to do something.  Pick up the phone, or look at a website.  No further education needed.

Which one do you find easier to read?  Just glance, don't study!
Cove Burgh Hall Fringe FestivalCove Fringe Festival

Griffin Design

Starting With A True Artists

Karen Griffin - Friday, February 28, 2014

Every now and then, we get a surprise.  And Sussex Building Innovations was a surprise.  We work with a lot of tradesmen, and it is great to work with them to create a whole new image for their vans, boards and business cards.

So when John and Danny turned up with this amazing hand-drawn sheet, our challenge was to do it justice in vinyl.  After a few misunderstandings (we are an all-girl team who had never seen a spirit level before!), and a bit of compromise on all parts, we came up with these builders boards and business cards for starters.

Sussex Building InnovationsBuilders BoardBusiness Cards

John and Danny wanted a product which truly conveyed the craftsmen that they are.   

So whether you have a definite idea of the look you want, or no idea what so ever.  If you are local to Chichester, come in and we can design something for you as we talk.  Further away? Then drop us an email, and we can do a design after an initial telephone chat, and then keep sending artwork changes by email.  And remember, if we are designing for our own products, then the artwork element is free.

To Print Or Not To Print

Karen Griffin - Thursday, February 20, 2014

We get a lot of customers asking us if we can print something for them.  Whilst our default answer is YES, in fact, we have no capability to print in-house.  We specialise in block vinyl cut and we think we are very good at it.  But some jobs really do need print, which is why we team up with a number of other local businesses so we can offer:

  • vinyl printing - for full colour images on vehicles and banners
  • printed media such as business cards (500 for £49, 350gsm, matt laminated)
  • stickers - any number of sizes and designs, just ask for prices
This way, we all get our expensive machinery working harder, gaining vital economies of scale.  

stickers 4 walls
So next time you are in need of printed stationery, you don't need to ring around different suppliers.

 Ask us for a quote instead.

Ringing The Changes

Karen Griffin - Monday, December 02, 2013

No, not the 'Christmas' word yet - although you could be fooled into thinking we are well into December just by walking down any High Street.

All forms of advertising suffer from 'familiarity blindness'.  Never easy to know exactly when this kicks in, but if you think your response to your rear car decal is dropping off, consider updating it.  These rear car decals are probably the most cost effective marketing you will undertake, so it is worth regularly reviewing.

We have one customer, a personal fitness trainer, who changes his sticker monthly.  He has a season ticket to a car park where the local branded Health Club is sited.  And each morning he parks a car there.  Each month, we post him a new rear car sticker - one that rings the changes.  His latest encourages an intensive programme to prepare for the LBD (that is Little Black Dress, boys!).

Would that work for your business?

TLC For Your Car Stickers

Karen Griffin - Monday, November 25, 2013

Getting noticed for all the wrong reasons is far too easy.  A damaged rear car sticker might reflect badly on your business, so it is well worth investing in a little TLC to keep it working hard for your business.

  1. Try to keep the car clean - it is now not just your car, but a mobile advertisement!
  2. NEVER use an ice scraper on the rear window.  You will chip the lettering.  Indeed, better than any forecaster, we can tell where the first frosts are around the country as we get requests for replacement letters.  And we can tell whether the owner is left or right handed . . .
  3. Heated rear window elements, car washes, rear windscreen wipers and de-icer spray are all go, go, go
Follow these three easy steps and the decal will serve you well, and it won't fade either.  It will just keep doing its job and getting you noticed.

At last - The Convertible Solution?

Karen Griffin - Monday, November 11, 2013

In the changeable British weather, we had genuinely not realised that so many business owners would be driving convertibles - but a small number have been working with us to find an acceptable solution.

One is to use a thinner, flexible vinyl material that can cope with the flex in the screen as it is stowed away.  Time will tell whether this is a lasting solution (we expect our car decals to last as long as the car with the correct care), but I suspect it will crack after 2 years dependent on how many times the roof goes up and down.  . . and not even the weather forecasters can accurately predict that!

rear window decal on a convertible carThese car stickers don't cause any damage to paintwork and this could be a solution for those with small rear windows.  It has certainly got Sue noticed!

Next week - how to care for your car sticker.

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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