Signs - How do I order? Whats the process? I've never done this before, HELP!
We will assume for the sake of this question that you’ve either emailed us or spoken to us on the phone and we now have a reasonable understanding of your requirements.
From this point on the process will normally follow the list below.
1. We provide a quote to you.
We will always provide a quote, but we may not provide a drawing / proof simply due to the volume of enquiries we receive every day. Design proofs can sometimes take a considerable amount of time to draw so we try to only spend time on design work where necessary at this stage.
Once you are happy with the quote, we move onto the next step.
2. The Order Stage
At this point you’ve let us know you’re happy with the price and wish to proceed. So… Thank you! If we’ve not already done so, we now spend time preparing the design proof/s. Each proof will show you how the sign will look along with it’s specifications. We show quantity, material, size, fixings, colour references and any additional notes so that you’ve got an accurate technical drawing showing everything you need to know.
We work with you to ensure the proof is perfect and move onto the next stage when we have received written / verbal approval of the proof.
3. Manufacturing Stage.
We now have your approval to proceed with manufacture and so we start work! Materials are ordered, installation schedules planned and graphics printed and cut.
How long this stage takes is entirely dependant upon the complexity of the sign/s.
If we are installing, then when we’re close to completing manufacture we will call you to confirm the installation date is still convenient and that nothing has changed.
We then move to Stage 4a or Stage 4b depending on whether you require installation or not.
4a. Despatch and Delivery.
We despatch all of our orders through various national couriers. Once dispatched, your order will usually arrive within 3 working days.
It is very helpful to meet you on site at the start of the installation. This allows us both an opportunity to review the agreed works and to assess any changes which have suddenly come to light on site.
The vast majority of our work is completed during normal working hours, whilst we do have the capacity to accomodate bespoke requests.
Members of the installation teams are DBS checked and CSCS, IPAF & PASMA trained so you can be confident in their skill and experience.
5. After Sales Service.
We pride ourselves on our reputation and we are always just a phone call or email away should you have any issues / questions regarding your signage no matter how long ago it was installed.
Signs - Materials, what options and is there anything I need to know?
Thickness: 1.5mm only
Sheet SIze: 1220 x 610mm
Price Guide: Low cost
Notes: Despite it’s name, it is quite flexible. Rigid Plastic, aka HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene) is a low cost , dense plastic sheet which is used for signage which either needs to meet budgetry requirements or is simply temporary.
Thickness: 3mm, 5mm, 10mm, 19mm
Sheet SIze: 2440 x 1220mm & 3050 x 1500mm
Price Guide: Low – medium cost.
Notes: Light weight material. A cheaper alterative to ACM (see below) in some instances.
Aluminium Composite Material (ACM)
Sheet SIze: 2440 x 1220mm & 3050 x 1500mm
Price Guide: Medium.
Notes: A superb durable material which comes in a range of standard colours & finishes including metallics. Recycled plastic core and thin sheet of aluminium to each face make it lightweight, durable and with little scrap value. By far the most widely used sign making material for outdoor signage.
Thickness: 1, 3, 5, 8, 10, 20mm
Sheet SIze: 1220 x 2440, 2000 x 3000mm
Price Guide: High
Notes: Excellent material for situations where water resistance or asethetics are key. It’s availability in a wide range of standard colours lends itself to flat cut lettering, whereas the clear acrylic is perfect for high quality reception signs.
Roll Widths: Various.
Price Guide: Low.
Notes: Available in a huge range of colours and finishes. Everything from standard reds, blues, greens etc to etched glass and mirror effects. In recent years there are even some high quality wood effect finishes available. As diverse the range of finishes and colours it is also true that the quality of some vinyls range just as much. We use 3M, Metamark and Avery vinyls as we believe in offerring quality products we have confidence in.
Thickness: 4mm, 6mm, 10mm
Sheet SIze: 2440 x 1220mm & 3050 x 1500mm
Price Guide: Very low.
Notes: Fluted plastic sheets, available in a range of colours. Typically this signage is produced using white correx sheets with printed vinyl applied to the face. Used for a lot of temporary / budget signage.
Signs - Colour references. CMYK, Pantone, RGB, RAL, and the screen on your phone.
We will assume for the sake of this question that you know next to nothing about printing, sign making or colour references.
So grab that coffee, sit back and relax.
Everything you never wanted to know about colour, but suddenly find yourself needing to know is below!
If you’ rather skip through the technical and get down to the “what do I need to send you?”, then the answer is Pantone references are great and will get you the closest match, CMYK references are a close 2nd but are less accurate due to reasons explained below.
What makes or changes a colour?
1. Colour References.
There are many different ways of specifiying a particular colour. There are CMYK and RAL and Pantone and RGB colour references for instance.
Each of these types of colour reference are predominantly used by a particular industry. Some of which are useful for sign making, some of which are not.
2. Material Types.
The substrate you’re printing onto will have an effect on the final colour you see. For example, printing onto a smooth sheet of plastic will give a more solid colour than printing that same colour onto a cotton sheet.
3. Sources of Light.
When colour matching, you should view the colours in natural light. All of our eco friendly lighting at Signet Signs Ltd produces ‘natural light’ to enable us to colour match indoors in perfect conditions.
The reason you colour match outdoors is to get away from the internal lighting altering your perception of colour. For example, fluorescent tubes emit a large amount of yellow which dramatically alters colours.
Likewise, a colour viewed on your phone will look much brighter as it’s backlit than viewing it on a flat sheet of paper.
The Different Colour Reference Types (Colour Models)
Pantones – A widely accept colour range used in a variety of industries.
Pantone LLC is a company which is best known for its Pantone Matching System (PMS). Their colour references are used extensively in print, graphic design, fashion and product design.
For a ‘not small’ amount of money you can purchase a pantone reference swatch. This allows you to see each colour. So when someone says I want that sign to be pantone 269. We can look at our colour reference swatch , find pantone 269 and ensure the print matches that colour. Anyone, anywhere in the world, with a pantone reference swatch will be able to work towards that exact sample colour and this is why pantones are so very useful in our industry. We know the exact colour as we have a swatch showing them all. All we need to know is the Pantone reference number you need us to match.
CMYK – Used in printing. (Example: 10/99/20/21).
Also know as four colour process printing, is a subtractive model and is used to specify ink volumes. The C M Y and K refer to the Cyan , Magenta, Yellow and Key (Black) inks. The larger the number the more ink is used.
So a reference of 5/5/5/5 will be a very light grey, whereas a reference of 100/100/100/100 will be darkest black.
These references are very applicable to sign making but one thing should be borne in mind, and that is… every single manufacturers inks will be slightly different. Likewise, every single printer will print slightly differently too.
So if you printed a sheet of paper with 5/5/5/5 on one machine using Example Inks Ltd, it is unlikely to be an exact colour match printed on another different machine using Dummy Inks Ltd.
Unfortunately this is just the way things are but CMYK colour references will get a close match, albeit it may not be an exact match to your existing printed items due to the above.
RAL – Used for powder coating & varnishing.
RAL is a colour model used throughout Europe mainly in the powder coating & varnishing industries. RAL is a useful reference in the signage industry as we have RAL colour reference charts.
We then match a Pantone to the RAL reference and print the pantone colour.
RGB – Used on digital display screens.
The RGB colour model is an additive colour model in which red, green and blue light are added together to create a vast array of colours.
The main use for the RGB colour model is for use in digital display screens, like televisions, mobile phone screens and the like. As with CMYK, there are a number of influences which can alter the way that colour is perceived by the viewer.
For example, take your computer monitor screen and lets assume it showing a bright red square. Now adjust your monitors brightness, contrast, vibrancy, saturation and so on… each time you adjust the settings for your monitor you’ll be subtly changing the colour on your screen.
This is why it’s not a good idea to rely on digital photographs for colour matching. There are far too many outside influences which can impact on the colour.
Therefore it is not a reference which typically applies to the print industry and it’s a reason no one should use a digital image / screen for referencing a colour.
Hex – (Web Colours) – Used on websites.
As per RGB, hex references are not relevant to the print industry.
We hope this proved useful, but if you’ve skipped to the bottom in the hope of finding a quick summary then…
Please send us Pantones, CMYK or RAL references. They’re the most useful to us, in that order.
Any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Do you offer site visits?
A: Yes we do but it does depend on your location. We are based just outside of Bristol with easy access to the M4 and M5. As each customers requirements are likely to be unique, we suggest getting in contact with us.
Playground Markings - How does the installation work?
Q: What do you need from us?
A: When we arrive, we like to complete a walk through of where the markings are going & which way around they should be installed. This gives you & us an opportunity to ensure that everything is going exactly where you want because once thermoplastic is installed, it’s down for a long time! So we just need someone there who is familiar with the project and can answer any questions we may have.
Aside from that, we simply need access to a toilet please.
Q: How does the installation work, what happens, are they glued down?
A: A short summary would be…
Step 1. Prime the surface so the markings adhere REALLY well.
Step 2. Lay the markings on the ground.
Step 3. Heat them until they ‘melt’.
Step 4. Apply anti-slip bead to them.
Step 5. Leave to cool.
Q: Are your installation teams DBS checked & can you prove this?
A: 100% yes. Everyone is fully DBS checked, and carries a copy of their certificate and photo ID on them.
Q: When can you install the playground markings?
A: The simple answer is, “as soon as we have the markings manufactured, we’re ready to install” but… weather does play a part. Playground markings cannot be installed in rainy conditions.
The plastic struggles to adhere to the ground in the wet, and that’s something neither of us want. We want to make sure your markings wear out before they let go of the ground and thus we keep an eye on the weather and continue to communicate with you if we think rain will be an issue.
Q: What happens if my playground install is cancelled due to bad weather?
A: First of all, don’t worry, we will make sure your install is completed on the first available opportunity. We leave gaps in our installation schedule to make sure we can catch up.
Q: Are you busy in the School Holidays?
A: Yes. Extremely, but the majority of our work is during school time and we always take special measures to ensure public safety. We carry cones and warning tape with us to section off any areas or help make pathways to direct people around / away from where we are working.
Q: How fast do you book up in the school holidays?
A: Christmas Holidays we are usually not to bad but the weather is a bit temperamental, so we like to leave a bit of leeway a few days either side of an install so we can shift things around if needed. Easter Holidays we usually book up in February as the weather starts to get a bit warmer and less chance of rain *crosses fingers*. Summer Holidays book up shortly before the Easter Holidays. *Please bare in mind we tend to leave very few days in case of bad weather.*
Q: What happens if we want to change the design of the playground markings at the time of installation?
A: This is something that we like to make sure you’re 100% happy with during the proof phase. As once the playground markings are installed, it requires a specialist pressure washer to get them off again.
Q: How long do they take to ‘dry’ once installed.
A: We suggest that the markings are not used until 1 hour after we have installed them. After that point, have fun!
Q: Are they slippery when wet?
A: The thermoplastic has an anti-slip bead which is placed all the way through the material during manufacture. This ensures they always comply with recommended SRVs (slip resistance value) as they wear out over the course of many years of use. To help combat any slip from snow / tree debris / moss we also apply additional anti-slip bead during installation.
Playground Markings - Can you remove old markings?
How to Remove Playground Markings.
The time will come when those markings you had installed ‘a long time ago’ have become faded. There are a number of options available when it comes to getting your school playground back to a good condition.
Option 1. Ignore the old marking and have new installed on top.
The cheapest option but not always a viable one depending on how faded the old markings have become. The eye is always drawn to bright colours and as such, new markings will distract the eye, with the end result being that new markings will be seen quickly and the old markings fade into the background.
It is sometimes possible to install new markings on top of old, depending on the condition of the thermoplastic below. Essentially there is little benefit to be had from installing new on top of old playground markings if the old markings are going to lose their grip on the playground.
Option 2. Have the old markings removed.
When it comes to removing playground markings there are a couple of options available. Please be aware that all of the removal processes will leave a very clean area where the thermoplastic playground markings / painted markings were. This will blend back in with the playground as it naturally picks up debris.
Sand Jet Cleaning.
The low pressure sand jet is different from other line removing technologies being totally environmentally friendly as it uses no toxic slurries and generates no fumes. It has a low consumption and hence creates little mess, and it is quick, compact and clean enough to not require elaborate barricades to protect the public (footpaths do not require closing). The system also does not cause surface damage and it is highly mobile. While we cannot compete with the speed of the more powerful burning systems for line removal, we do not leave melted tarmac or residue, and do not generate black smoke. Our only residue is a little sand, water and the line material, which can be washed or vacuumed away.
Sand Jet removal of playground markings is ideal for delicate surfaces but does take longer than UHP cleaning (see below).
Ultra High Pressure Water Jet.
A more aggressive clean that intensely cleans the surface of the playground. Please note that UHP cleaning typically leaves a clean ‘mark’ on the playground surface as it utilises a higher pressure than sand jet cleaning. This will fade over time as it naturally picks up dirt / debris and blends into the playground.
Access to the playground is ideal as is a dependable water source (outside water tape with normal pressure is normally fine).
For more details, advice & help please do not hesitate to contact us.
I was very happy with the level of service that I received from Signet Signs. The customer service was excellent – including the re-working of artwork prior to manufacture to get exactly what we wanted. We (Pitch Architects) will certainly use them again!
Of 5 quotes obtained Signet were the best on price. All the people that I dealt with either by phone or e-mail were polite and very knowledgeable of the products that they sell. I would definitely recommend to others in need of this product or service.
Really great quality and service from Signet Signs. They came and helped us re-do all of the signs in the GP surgery. I would definitely recommend them and have used them since for additional work.
If you are nervous or anxious about getting your signage done then these are the people who will put you at your easy with their friendly, helpful and patient approach they guided me through the process. They listened, asked questions and made suggestions to ensure they understood what I wanted the finished signage to look like. I loved the end product, so a huge thank you to you all.
Thank you so much Signet Signs. Sam and Kieran were awesome. We are a new business and needed some guidance with our designs and signs. We were guided every step of the way with advice from absolute professionals and nothing was too much trouble even when we asked for the almost impossible on a really tight time frame. Cannot recommend these guys and this company enough.
Very happy with the site boards we ordered! Materials and printing to a high standard – very professional finish. Excellent service too. Friendly staff and good communications, so all went very smoothly. We were lucky enough to find the company through Google Search and would definitely recommend them to others.
Just wanted to take the time to say we couldn’t be happier with what you did!
Winterbourne Early Years Pre-school
Fantastic, professional service from beginning to end with all from Signet. We are now the proud owners of a fantastic board to promote our preschool. Highly recommend this company – fast, efficient ,informative and easy to discuss requirements with very helpful staff.
Michael (at Standard Heritage)
Very easy to use, very responsive staff, great service, will be my first choice of supplier from now on.