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Devon Signmakers


Signs Express (Exeter) - Strong local focus succeeds.

Showing the sign by Signs Express at exeter airport Signs Express (Exeter), part of the UK and Ireland's largest signage franchise, began trading in 1995 and has continued to develop into a strong local force supplying signage solutions to businesses in and around the area.

Owned by husband and wife team Nick and Marion Baxter- Sibley, the Exeter centre has seen substantial growth since its doors first opened. Staff numbers have increased to 11 and plans to recruit additional personnel in the near future are now in place.

The company's success is also illustrated by its client list, with regular local customers including Exeter Airport, Flybe, South West Water, and Devon & Cornwall Constabulary.

Although part of a national group, the local business community is key to the success and growth of Signs Express (Exeter). Recent projects undertaken include the re-branding of Exeter Airport and the supply and fit of branding to self-service check-in terminals for Flybe across the UK and Europe. The centre also supplies vehicle graphics and signs to surrounding car dealerships. Its location on the Marsh Barton trading estate means Signs Express (Exeter) is at the centre of what is reputed to be the largest concentration of motor dealers in Europe.


Signs Express (Exeter) showing their large format banners at Princesshay Shopping Centre

The Exeter centre has also been involved in the redevelopment of the city centre, providing large format banners to the Princesshay Shopping Centre and hoardings for a community project called ‘What Exeter Means to me' by the developer. Other local initiatives include sponsorship of Exeter City FC, which has recently returned to league football and the recently formed West Exeter Ladies Football club.


Met Office Sign - Striking design fabricated by Signs Express (Exeter).

Go to www.signsexpress.co.uk or telephone 01603 625925 for further details.


Ace Signs - Family run business thrives on its reputation

Colaton Raleigh welcome sign by Ace Signs. Ace Signs is a family run business established in 1965 by Cyril and Allen Heavens. Originally traditional sign writers, it became obvious within their first 10 years that a trade which had hardly ever changed was now evolving rapidly.

They purchased their first two Pantograph engraving machines, enabling them to produce quality precision engraving and also to begin manufacturing cut Perspex letters.

Allen's son Ray joined the business in 1984, bringing his design and computer knowledge with him. Cyril, Allen and Ray's wives have all been involved in the company over the years and Matthew, the fourth generation of the Heavens family, is expected to join the business within the next few years.

During the past 43 years, wooden signs have been replaced by Perspex and plastics, vinyl text has made sign writing obsolete, computers have revolutionised the workplace, and now digital printing has altered the trade once again.

Three engraving machines now produce precision mimic panels and switch plates for industrial and commercial premises, along with control panels for fire engines, yachts and aircraft.

Memorial and commemorative plaques are manufactured in many materials, although brass and stainless steel still remain the favourites for prestigious occasions and official openings by royalty.

Signage for a Devon tourist attraction from Ace Signs.

The unique Opus Office Sign System has proved hugely popular over the years. The system enables a new member of staff to have their name on the door, or desk, usually within 48 hours.

The vinyl graphics department at Ace Signs is always busy, consisting of two Mutoh cutters and a new Uniform Cadet Plus 1300mm digital printer/cutter. The transition to full colour graphics has been easy, as Ace Signs has been involved in the use of colour graphics in the past, with screen printing and in the early Gerber Edge days.

Ace Signs' loyal customer base mainly comprises local health authorities, schools and universities, housing associations, service industries, fire brigades, local charities, theme parks and other members of the sign trade.

The company believes an excellent reputation, gained over the years, is its strongest advertising tool.

Allen and Ray, with more than 70 years of experience in the sign trade between them, believe that consistent product quality, competitive pricing and personal service are still the keys to a successful business.

Visit the web site at www.acesigns.com for full details of the company's comprehensive range of signage and services.


SignSystems - Contemporary range from Signsystems wins customers

Signsystems wins significant work from its showroom in central London. This year, 2008, marks Signsystems’ 10th year in business. Founded by Jamie Wood, Signsystems, trading as Richard Sutton, is now recognised as one of the leading suppliers of contemporary sign products in the UK. The company operates from its head office and factory in Exeter, Devon, and a showroom in central London.

A remarkable combined figure of more than 100 years sign experience between the staff members illustrates the loyalty and knowledge within the team.

Signage at the University of Exeter by Signsystems.

Signsystems holds great faith in working closely with local suppliers in Devon, notably Signs Express (Exeter), DMA Engineering, Brimar Engineering, Revills Finishers, Wilsign and Plastexe. This strategy ensures quick and efficient service at competitive prices whilst contributing to keeping the regional economy buoyant.

The product range at Signsystems is extensive. There are a total of 15 sign systems - 10 of which are produced in Devon and the other five being imported under exclusive distribution agreements.

Signsystems' latest product, displayhub, was launched at the sign UK show earlier in the year. An electronic digital freestanding and wall mounted display system with powerful software and elegant looks; displayhub is leading the way forward in this rapidly developing market. An amazing new range of electronic door signs are currently in development to add to the range.

Sign at the Natural History Museum

Recent clients of Signsystems include the University of Exeter, The Royal Parks, The Natural History Museum, Historic Palaces, Tate Modern, National Gallery and The London School of Economics.

To find out more, go to www.signsystemsltd.co.uk or telephone 01392 686216.


Sign-Maker.net - Picturesque Devon countryside is home for internet based company.

Sign-Maker.net is situated on a small Devon farm surrounded by magnificent views. Not a place you would expect to find a sign maker. However, this sign maker is totally internet based. Indeed, if you put Sign Maker into Google you will find it first in the list of sites.

The business started because Shaun Price’s mother-in-law, also living on the farm, wanted a sign for her cottage. She suggested that as Shaun is good with his hands he could make it for her. He did, and that was the start of the sign business. Shaun, owner of the business, began with a variety of oak signs, which quickly increased to cedar, sapele, douglas fir and iroko. He then created a range of slate signs along with granites and marbles, these days a large number of large slate signs regular are shipped out from the workshops.

Contemporary range from Sign systems wins customers Next, an engraving workshop followed. This now deals with hundreds of memorial plaques and house nameplates every week.

Again, these are all ordered over the internet and recently a shopping cart site www.sign-maker.co.uk has been added to run alongside the main site www.sign-maker.net All mediums are engraved including, brass, aluminium, laminates, wood veneer laminate and corean.

Sign-Maker.net also produces a range of vinyl work on site. As the website has been so successful it was decided to include series of signs made by other companies, which could not be made in the workshops on the farm. These too have proved very popular and now account for 25 percent of turnover. The business continues to grow every year, helped by the fact that Shaun’s wife Kate is a website designer.

Find out more at www.sign-maker.co.uk


Jag Sign Supplies - the right tools for the job

Jag Trade Supplies, a family-run business, emerged in 1996 through the frustrations of Managing Director John Gardener being unable to obtain the right products and tools for the job in his own small sign shop. Car wrapped with vinyl graphics.

This led to the development of the company's first product, Stockframe, an adaptable PVC framing system that is still a best seller today.

Coming from an engineering background and moving into the sign industry 21 years ago John has found that by continuing to run the small sign shop of 10 staff (including his graphic designer son Zack) he gets valuable feedback, enabling him to continually develop new products to make the sign workshop more productive.

Appointed a distributor of Keencut - a world-leading range of sheet cutters, cutting bars and rotary cutters - Jag provides a first class next day service on nearly all products in the range. This includes the new SteelTrak, a highly accurate, dust free wall mounted cutter designed to cut a wide range of everyday signmaking materials, including Dibond, foam, MDF and point of sale materials.

Seeing a gap in the market for more heavy duty cutting Jag then went on to source the Mafell PSS3100SE fully automated rail guided saw. Portable and space saving this saw can cut a sheet size of 3100mm in one pass. It can effortlessly cut up to 3mm aluminium, 8mm acrylic and wood up to 45mm thick as well as most other types of signmaking material.

Being aware that many signmakers are at a premium for space and don't have a computerised router, Jag then worked with its suppliers to develop the folded box pan kit. This enables a Dibond panel to be folded into a 'shoe box lid' effect in a few simple steps using the kit and a handheld router.

The new Steeltrak by Keencut - Wall mounted cutter.

Concerned about cutting corners Jag has this year engineered the Corner Pro 4, a multi operational tool which can round, scallop and punch most materials, including 3mm aluminium. It can also provide the user with a cheaper option for notching 90 degree 'v' cuts for the popular perimeter trim edging.

John is always happy to chat to a signmaker about their tooling requirements. If Jag hasn't got it in stock they will endeavour to source it or can just give advice.

This year Jag has also been appointed the sole UK distributors for the Aurora Graphics product range. The Wraps Software section contains some of the largest images on the market, from seamlessly tile-able fills to single pieces of the biggest ultra hi-resolution images available.

Swann Morton scalpels and blades, Olfa products, straight edges and the largest cutting mats in the UK are all available via www.jagtradesupplies.co.uk or by telephoning 0800 5999 059. Alternatively, if you fancy a trip down to Devon pay a visit to Jag Sign Supplies.


TV studio designer chooses Multipanel material

Alupanel from Multipanel was used to create this stunning studio set for Euro 2008. Another tournament, another clever studio design; it goes to show just how versatile Alupanel is. The manufacturer, Multipanel, states "Aluminium Composite Panel has 1001 uses", and this one is certainly pretty impressive.

Studio Designer, Techniscene, chose Alupanel 3mm Silver RAL 9016 to create the set as it was easy to mould and form for the bold structures, whilst the silver finish gave all the glitz and glam needed for broadcasting to Austria's 14 million viewers.

But TV studios are just one of Alupanel's 1001 uses, and with a large range of standard finishes and thicknesses the panels appeal to a number of different end users, from sign makers to shop fitters to trade stand designers ... the list is seemingly endless.

Whether it's to establish corporate identity, get a message across, be different, or simply make a statement, Alupanel can be the key to success.

To get in touch with the manufacturer, Multipanel, and find your nearest stockist, telephone 01392 823015.

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