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Keeping Up To Date With The Market

Demand for sign lettering in the UK is always there but, Jo Golding asks: “How has your company kept up to date with the market and its changing trends and fashions?”

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Graeme Hoole, production manager, The Sign Group

Modern way

In the earlier days, we were very much led by what the client wanted and did not have a great deal of influence in the materials, style, or finish ordered. The larger clients just wanted what they wanted, and the smaller clients bought within their budget.

As the larger clients have been able to be more adventurous using new products such as Neon Plus, the modern way of social sharing has made it easy for anyone to flick through their phone for inspiration and aspire to have something a little more.

The smaller clients still have a budget to work with, but they are not necessarily led by it, and because they can go to their local sign company and say, ‘I would like something like this’ (as they point to their phone), it means our customers, the sign companies, are delving a little deeper to see what options they have to forward on to their client.

Social sharing has made it easy for anyone to flick through their phone for inspiration and aspire to have something a little more


You cannot walk down any high street now without walking past a single site boutique coffee shop, or a small dry cleaners that is full of quirky signage made from unusual material, trendy lighting, and funky furniture. It is the modern way. This is exciting for companies like us as this means we can be more suggestive with new, interesting materials and products that our customers can use to showcase with their clients.

We have always had an advantage when working with the large and small companies hand in hand, as the larger clients’ needs sometimes force us into learning new techniques or investing in new equipment. And these new methods can also be passed on to smaller clients who might not have the options elsewhere.

Driving improvement


Mike Smith, general manager, SignFab (UK) Ltd

Signfab (UK) Ltd are in its 17th year of trading and are by far the largest trade only sign manufacturer in the country and we manufacture all our signage in-house on our two sites in Leicester. 

Individual letters have always been the most interesting and varied part of an ever-changing manufacturing process, from the early days of having them hand cut, moving on to using routers and lasers, we have always stayed ahead of the market by driving for improved efficiencies in all aspects of our manufacture.

We produce anything from the basic flat cuts, to built-up, rim and return, rimless, and also bevelled letters in all materials available to Signfab (UK) Ltd.

We listen to client feedback and we also invest heavily in research and development on new methods of construction and new materials


We listen to client feedback and we also invest heavily in research and development on new methods of construction and new materials, including investing in the very latest software to enable 3D profiling and improved cutting technology.

We offer the largest letter fabrication department in the UK, with 16 letter fabricators and also two automated fabricating machines—no project is too small or too large.

The latest innovation is being in partnership with Current, powered by GE, where we now have the advantage of being the sole UK sign-making distributor of their latest technology illumination. This will further add to reducing purchase prices and running costs, whilst adding increased durability and lifespan to our illuminated letters.

We also heavily use our own extremely versatile ‘Lumaire’ lighting panel, which enables us to produce very shallow illuminated letters. For overhead lighting of letters, we have our own shallow profile ‘Lumaire’ Trough light.

We are able to offer the highest quality lighting solution to all aspects of letters we provide, and it is always an investable value to visit Signfab (UK) Ltd and take the tour of the manufacturing facility.

Stand out


Colin Pestell, director and founder, Gdi Trade Signs


There will always be a need for good quality, well-made lettering. That said, the trade sign business is very different from what it was 40 years ago, when Gdi Trade Signs started. Nowadays, sign-makers need to be constantly aware of market trends, and endeavour to offer solutions to the designers’ demands.

As it is sometimes said, ‘A business without a sign is a sign of no business’. That is not necessarily true. However, signs displaying poor quality letters, or even boring letters, are not going to attract customers. With high street retailers seeking evermore inventive ways to entice customers onto their premises, well designed bespoke lettering is a very good start.

Gdi Trade Signs have recently developed two new systems that go a long way to help high street retailers stand out from the crowd.

Nowadays, sign-makers need to be constantly aware of market trends, and endeavour to offer solutions to the designers’ demands


Gdi Trax is a beautifully designed system enabling the installation of built up LED illuminated letters to glass, without the need to drill the glass. Many new and refurbished shopping centres are now insisting on full height glazed store fronts. This gives a wonderful open feel to these sites, but does limit the retailers’ signage options. If you do not want a boring sign box suspended inside the glass or a daisy-chain of illuminated letters mounted to the glass connected with loops of ugly wire, Gdi Trax is the perfect solution. Many shopping centres are now specifying Gdi Trax, as are many retail chains.

On the other hand, Gdi Neos is an eye-catching alternative to exposed neon text. With the current trend for using exposed neon lettering seemingly never-ending (justifiably so), an LED option is always going to be in great demand. Gdi Neos with its clever use of materials, meticulous attention to detail, and unique fabrication methods gives a stunning, robust, low voltage option. Gdi Neos has also recently been used on several prestige projects, to great effect, and is fast becoming the premier alternative to genuine neon.

Back to the future


Jenna Hart, marketing manager Kings Plastics


Kings Plastics has always tried to be at the forefront of signage lettering, starting with moulded letters in the 1960s all the way through to the mid 1980s and since then moving forward with flat-cut and built-up letters. In recent years, Kings has utilised not only the use of routers, but laser cutters as well to offer a wider range of options for flat cut letters. With the lasers clean cut precision making smaller and more intricate letters easier to produce, Kings can offer clients more font styles plus a neat and polished finish. With letters starting from around 10mm high on the laser and 25mm high on the router, Kings can offer multiple cutting options to suit any flat-cut letter requirement.

All our built up acrylic letters are handmade in-house by our specialist sign-makers to help us keep up with the increasing demand for built-up illuminated letters. Combined with our new LED Flexi-Ribbon, built-up letters in fonts with smaller stroke widths and finer details are no longer such an issue—meaning again we can offer more styles and LED colours for illuminated letters.
 
Advancements in LEDs now mean we can also make thinner letters, built-up letters of only 50mm depth for full face illumination or 20mm Opal letters for halo illumination.

Kings has utilised not only the use of routers, but laser cutters as well to offer a wider range of options for flat-cut letters


The latest market trend is aimed at making signs more retro, to that end—along with the fairground style metal letters—we offer them fitted with more energy-efficient LED bulbs. Kings are also now looking at introducing flexible LED neon letters to offer customers yet another ‘retro’ style option, offering a more durable product and now utilising the more efficient LED technology.

Kings Plastics has always tried to keep up with the changing trends in the signage industry and will continue to do so for many years to come.


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