TAKING WAYFINDING, WAY FURTHER

TAKING WAYFINDING, WAY FURTHER
Links Signs and Graphics looks beyond directory sign systems and finds its way to something bigger and brighter…

Practically every multi-storey building has one or more and, dependent upon whether it’s an architectural feature, or a forgotten non-public area, a stairwell can be a mixed experience for the foot-traffic that has to use it.

Clearly, pedestrian traffic moving through stairwells needs to know on what floor it finds itself and, possibly, what else it’ll find at that level, room numbers would be a good example. If such information is absent, time is wasted and safety too may be compromised.

For as long as the problem has existed, the solution that’s found it has been the systemised directory sign. These signs identify the floor number and the rooms available at a given level. They don’t contribute much to improving the ambience in what might be an overlooked part of an otherwise attractive building though and message legibility is sometimes seconded to the aesthetic.

It doesn’t have to be that way, as a recent installation for Liberty Living on behalf of a Blackpool based construction company by Links Signs and Graphics proves.

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Arrive and at a given floor and, thanks to Links’ work there’s no doubt where you are. The floor number dominates the landing area with a colourful rendering covering the entire wall ahead of the ascending staircase. Picked out within the floor-to-ceiling graphic is information detailing room numbers. As a wayfinding aid, Links Signs and Graphics’ installation is functional and effective. As a means of enhancing what might otherwise be a really dull area, it succeeds brilliantly too.

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Producing and installing the scheme was an involved process. The Links team produced graphics for about fifty six floors in total across a number of sites. Each involved a precision survey and reference to a supplied design. Wall preparation was needed ahead of installation.

The graphics are colourful and durable. The team used its Mimaki printer and a trusted pairing of Metamark MD5 and its matched matt-finished laminate to produce the job. Installation was performed according to a project schedule and the whole programme never missed a beat.

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Is it decor? Is it signing? The answer is an emphatic yes to both questions. It’s arguably a little more than both though. Links Signs and Graphics’ work takes the company to a market where it’s satisfying the need for what might be called functional decor. It’s new and it’s both bright and effective – Links Signs and Graphics is sure to find a ready audience for more.

Wondrously Welsh – Vital Signs Cardiff

WONDROUSLY WELSH
Is less really more? Vital Signs’ work for Wondrously Welsh makes a very compelling case that says it is…

It’s perhaps just as well that signs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and are of widely varying quality in terms of design and execution. How else would we have a basis for deciding that one sign among the many is really notable and a real exemplar of its type?

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One such sign is the work of Vital Signs of Bristol and Cardiff. Gareth Lewis started the company about ten years ago. He has deliberately managed it as a small concern, and, if his recent work for Wondrously Welsh is in any way an indicator, it’s a company that’s capable of producing works which position it at the top of its game.

Wondrously Welsh itself is to be found in the Morgan Arcade in Cardiff. It’s a shop and it can be thought of as a place where the products of Wales exist under one roof so creating a very convenient shopping experience for those seeking out those products. In keeping with other shops around it, Wondrously Welsh needed a projecting sign identifying the shop, and an identity continuation in the form of some applied window graphics.

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Vital Signs obliged.

Working with a supplied design basis, Vital Signs used its Roland VersaCAMM and Metamark materials to produce the graphics. Sat in a field of very near off-white on the projecting sign is a solitary representation of a daffodil depicted in very minimal terms with just a blush of colour contrasting with the off-white background.

Identifying the sign and the premises it graces, a simple flowing script, lacking any formality, picks out the words, “Wondrously Welsh.” Disposed on the sign in a balanced layout, the ensemble is a thing of real beauty. It does no more than the job it’s asked to do and it certainly does no less. It makes a powerful point for signing in general and that is that quality counts and that subtlety works brilliantly.

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Vital Signs used Metamark MD5 for the projecting sign’s graphics and the theme is continued on the shop’s windows. Again, it’s just the simplicity and quality that radiate through the Metamark satin laminate that protects the whole installation. The whole job transcends its purpose in saying much for the expertise of Vital Signs and it makes a point for beautiful sign design in general.

Design, and good design at that, is said to be rooted in contrasts. That thought finds confirmation in Wondrously Welsh’s wondrously simple and effective signing. Great signs among others are distinguished as the sum of the parts working together. Vital Signs’ work for Wondrously Welsh, bound up as it is in a quality job realised with some Metamark materials, serves to make that point too.

Wonderful work, Vital Signs.

WRAPPED – BUT NOT IN NEWSPAPER

A superb wrap by Severn Signs will be turning heads this summer…

It’s been said often enough that wrapping, as a medium, is really only limited in its application by the extent of the imagination. A point that’s underscored by a novel wrap produce for Willow Catering by Gloucester based Severn Signs.

Severn Signs has been in business since 1990 and has always invested in state-of-the art technology to help it push its own creative boundaries and to better serve the needs of the diversified clientele it serves. The company is on of the largest independent sign and display manufacturer in Gloucestershire and it’s clients are drawn from both its local catchment and nationwide.

Responding to a brief from Willow Catering, Severn Signs’ Trevina Watts designed the livery reflecting a theme centred around beach huts. Most of the detail in the design is printed despite what the eye might fool the brain into thinking. Subtle shade and tone in the finished result create a convincing impression of physical construction detail and depth where there actually is none. The overall effect is highly impactful and very attractive. Contrasting with the print.

Photography: Alphabet Design, Liverpool

Photography: Alphabet Design, Liverpool

Above the printed elements of the wrap is a fascia panel alerting the population to the fact they’re looking at an enterprise selling fish and chips and not a row of beach huts. The sign’s background matter is printed to the same high standards as the body of the wrap. Contrasting with the printed background, lettering rendering the “Fish and Chips” lettering is constructed from Alucobond with a mirrored finish.

The effect the whole wrap achieves is clearly a high impact for the business it represents. More than that though, the highly informed design evokes days at the seaside, summer sun and, of course, a raging appetite for a large portion of cod and chips – plenty of vinegar please.

MetaWrap MD-X was used for the parts of the wrap where surfaces were challenging and Metamark MD5 features on the flat panel work. Despite using two media, colour matching is flawless and application highly skilled. The materials used are from the Metamark MD-Class portfolio and therefore expressly designed for digital print. The media deliver consistent results across batches and within rolls.

In terms of getting attention the wrap really delivers. It is both highly individual and memorable. It does a great job for Willow Catering but also makes a point that modern materials and digital printing technology respond well to creative talent and practical skills. On this occasion, all have delivered an exemplary result.

ELITE SIGNS AND GRAPHICS RIDES AGAIN

Elite Signs and Graphics evokes a classic…

Vee-Dubs, Bugs, Beetles, Volkswagens. Call them what you like, but they occupy a special place in the hearts of many. Not many small cars can claim a personality so large. Not many cars have endured, in one form or another, for so long. Not many cars can claim its strange,  backward-inclined-engineering. Strange? Let’s settle for “ingenious.”

Elitie Herb

Lovebug Weddings, based in Porthcawl, South Wales, is, at heart, a business that provides hire vehicles for weddings. The fact its entire stable is VW based though, makes it a bit special. A special day is made all the more so when the bride’s entourage arrives in a Splitty, or the groom rocks up in Elvis, the company’s ultimate Retro-Beetle. It’s a popular formula. Business is brisk.

Despite the expanse of its fleet, one thing, ‘til recently anyway, conspicuous by its absence, was anything looking even vaguely like a homage to what’s probably  the best known Bug of them all. So enters Herb. A modern take on the original Lovebug made famous the world over and loved by millions.

Herb, as he’s known, would have turned as few heads as any modern Beetle might, were it not for some spot-on graphics by the Team at Elite Signs. Elite was approached by Lovebug Weddings to evoke its homage to the Bug and it obliged with a modest stripe kit and numeral set printed on Metamark MD5.

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“We’ve done some exacting jobs in our time,” says Elite’s Simon James, “but the Bug was one of the toughest despite the simple appearance. Everything had to be spot-on for this one. It took a bit of research, a lot of trial designs but we cracked it in the end. The bug looks great and does what it’s supposed to do. It gets noticed.”

Herb’s busy most weekends thanks to his popularity as a carriage of choice. But, should you fancy a change from the usual fare of limos and carriages, bookings are being taken for 2014/15.

Nice one, Elite.