The initial brief for this job was to produce and fit hard signage and window decals for several shops for the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice charity. It was established early on that the regular panel signs were to be made from 3mm aluminium composite with digital print and protective gloss laminate, and the window decals were to be made from cut coloured vinyl and fitted using application tape.
With any signage job, accurate measurements are vital. The Trust supplied us with rough drawings of where they wanted the signage to be fitted to each shop, so we had an idea of the areas we would need to measure. We visited each shop in turn, and with the aid of stepladders and our trusty tape measure we made detailed notes as to the sizes of each window and each wall or rebate where the panel signs were required. Care is always taken at this point to check for any protrusions or other problems that may cause problems for the sign fitters. With the measuring done we could move onto the design.
The Trust provided us with a corporate logo usage guide. This gives accurate details of the logo and how it can be used, along with any other artworks that are pertinent, fonts, corporate colours etc. Using this, we could design each panel sign, based on the original drawings supplied by the Trust. At this point we had a problem that is typical to this type of job. There was already one store that had been done by another company and we had to take into consideration the coloured vinyl they had used for the window decals and try to match ours. Looking at several vinyl swatches it was determined that the vinyl they had used did not seem to still be available, so we had to pick another vinyl that was close. In the end, we picked a purple vinyl that closely matched the printed versions of the corporate colour, so all was well. The panel signs were quite straightforward to design – basically just featuring the company logo or strapline in horizontal or portrait orientation, depending on which best suited the shape of the panel. Once each shop design was passed off by the customer we could move onto the production stage.
The aluminium sheet is ordered from the manufacturer, cut already to the size required. The designs are printed onto self-adhesive vinyl, gloss laminated, and then applied wet to the panels. Once dry, the calculated excess is trimmed from round the edge and the panel is ready. The cut coloured vinyl logos are cut on a plotter, weeded (un-needed areas of vinly removed) and then application tape is added so that the decals are ready to fit. The sign panels for each shop were bundled together, as were the decals, and fitting sheets were printed out so that the fitting teams knew where each panel was to go on the shops.
The sign panels were fitted by a dedicated sign fitting team. They have specialist platforms, ladders and other equipment that allow them to fit the signs easily and safely. The panels are simply screwed in place, making sure that the panels are level, and any signs that are comprised of more than one panel do not have unnecessary gaps between them. Once fitted, the panels are cleaned, and the job is done.
The window vinyls are fitted by a separate team who are experienced in this specific area. The graphics were to be fitted to the outside of the glass as this gives brighter colours (windows are often tinted) and makes access easier as some of the shops were already filled with stock. Firstly, any old graphics had to be removed using heat guns and scrapers, and then cleaning alcohol and rags to remove any residues. Once the glass is clean the decals are fixed in position initially using masking tape. After this positioning has been measured and checked against the drawings the backing paper is removed and the decals are smoothed onto the glass using squeegees. Once in place, the application tape (the face paper) is carefully removed to leave the decal in place. After a quick check to make sure that all areas of each decal is safely stuck to the glass, the job is complete.