Doncaster based Visual Group, manufacturers of high-quality interior and exterior signs has invested around £500,000 this year despite Covid-19 to ensure continued growth for the business.
Although a new company, established in 2018 and situated within Centurion Europe 90,000sq ft warehouse; Visual Group brings together over 30 years of experience within signage design, manufacture and installation.
At the start of 2020 Visual Group undertook their journey of expansion and commenced a major refit of the premises and then the Covid-19 lockdown hit. Managing Director Paul Kantecki said, “looking back it is hard to believe what we have achieved and where we are now”. He continued, “The whole building has come on such a long way, albeit Covid did delay us, but what the team have achieved is amazing in both the refit, business structure and growth”.
The improvements started with investments in a number of new manufacturing machines and processes including, a Zund conveyor cutting machine, 3 Mimaki large format roll to roll printers, Kala and Crest laminators an Agfa Jeti Mira (3.1m x 2.69m print area) UV flatbed printer, IPS metal channel letter bending machine and a Henrob blind riveting machine. With a good selection of equipment already in place, this investment would help increase quality and output capacity to a wider marketplace with a more diverse portfolio.
As the building saw walls removed and put up to create specific areas and rooms for digital printing, finishing, packing as well as a mezzanine giving additional manufacturing floor space of over 5,000sq ft and a total in excess of 95,000sq ft including a dedicated fabrication workshop.
Covid-19 hit, and the country entered into lockdown, but the refurbishment continued. “Due to being classed as an essential business, we were very fortunate to be able to remain open, making social distancing products for businesses that continued throughout the lockdown as well as those preparing to open afterwards” Paul commented.
The next phase saw work begin on the office refurbishment. “With a mix of people working from home and in the building, you would expect this whole project to sit on the back burner, but the team and I continued to work hard on this, everyone in the business saw the importance and wanted the refit to happen” said Paul. As a sign manufacturer the aim was to incorporate signage into the interior design to create not only a nice working environment but to also act as our showroom, showcasing our capabilities.
Paul continued “We wanted to create an environment that demonstrated ‘creativity’, as a custom signage manufacturer, it’s important to show our clients how creative we can be and inspire them”.
Nigel Spencer, Commercial Director at Visual Group said “ Sign manufacturing is at the heart of what we do and it is vital for us to continue to invest in our equipment and premises so we can meet growing customer demand”. He continued, “we are committed to making key changes to our business and infrastructure which will allow us to enhance our offering to existing and new clientele”.
The offices have used a wide variety of signage concepts as part of the interior décor. Starting with a wall full of graffiti art, taking us through the decades from the 70’s to present day, featuring key icons and memorable events.
Another wall used a stencilling art method made from self-adhesive vinyl, allowing the stencil to be attached to the wall and easily removed after painting, leaving a quality finish where finer details can be added if required. Paul Kantecki commented, “we have been making and supplying traditional stencils for some time, Keep Out, 2m Apart etc, but so much more can be achieved with stencils. Not everyone is a graffiti artist, or they need to get artwork applied quickly, and stencilling is an easy and quick way of applying a piece of art to a wall. You can add further layers of stencils to build up a picture, or you can even do things like I did, and by sanding down parts of the image, it created a ‘vintage’ inspired look”.
Meeting Rooms have introduced wall graphics, neon lights, skyline printed ceiling lights and window vinyl, making an internal room lacking windows, look light, airy, and creating a unique space.
3D non illuminated lettering to create motivational and inspirational words have been applied to walls to define department areas such as Marketing.
The breakout area titled The Loft, also introduces a range of signage. The Loft Sign itself was made from shaped letters and stuffed with foliage, then combining illumination created a stunning sign that would sit well in any bar, club, or restaurant. An employee tree has been added to the wall, made from a combination of wall vinyl and 3D shapes featuring employee photos. But signage does not just have to apply to walls and the breakout area sees signage used to create quirky effects on tables and pod tables. “This is an employee space and we therefore wanted to create an area that was fun and interesting for the employee” continued Paul.
The offices demonstrate how much signage and graphics can bring an interior life and enhance the working environment however, it does not stop there. Signage has also been used in the rest rooms as well as in the production areas, from Spaceship themes to Woodland lodges. Paul stated, “we wanted to create a talking point, people will love it or they will hate it, but either way it get’s people talking and thinking about what they could have. If we create conversation as soon as people enter the building, we have achieved what we set out to do and make Visual Group a talking point of the town”.
Work on the refit will continue, but with many projects now nearing completion the team are excited to be entering into their new working environment and very proud about what has been achieved in what has been difficult period for us all.