Award-winning signage solution provider Graffiti Design is no stranger to challenging furniture store projects, MD Bruce Pestell tells Furniture News …
Can you talk about some of the furniture store projects you’re particularly proud of?
There have been many! From helping my father install signage for Sofa Workshop in Tottenham Court Road back in 2003, to working with Made.com and giving them a discount in exchange for one of their early football tables (which now lives in our offices).
But recently, it has to be developing Loaf’s signage package, using paint and lighting effects to create aged signs with an eclectic vintage look. From my perspective, Loaf are leaders in the furniture sector when it comes to customer experience, so it’s always a huge pleasure to develop these ideas with their creative team.
It’s kept us on our toes, too. Each ‘Slowroom’ presents new challenges. At Bristol, we had to produce a huge 10 x 3m external sign with fibreglass tiles to achieve their signature look, but in a way that was practical and worked within the constraints of the specific site, which in this case was a large retail park. The finished result was an incredibly unique sign that communicates the brand perfectly.
Why is in-store signage so important?
Internal signage is what we call a ‘triple whammy’ – it can work alongside a furniture display as art in its own right, help fill up a large space, and communicate the brand or collection’s identity.
While external signage is about communicating the brand effectively, internal signage is about integration. By the time customers see your internal signage, they’re in your store, so it’s no longer about conversion but about customer experience, and how to make it as enjoyable and satisfying as possible.
You have to think about atmosphere, interaction, and how to appeal to different audiences. I’d say that’s where our strength lies, because our design department is fantastic at working from prompts and putting creativity first.
What sets us apart from other suppliers is our attention to detail. At Graffiti, whether it’s a standard finish from our state-of-the-art paint shop or something more hand-finished, we will keep tweaking until it’s perfect.
Given the lockdown scenario, what projects/services have you been able to deliver over the last year?
Widespread store closures have definitely had an impact on our business. Fortunately, however, the diversity of our client base has allowed us to continue operating throughout this crisis.
Over the last year, we have worked more prominently than ever with bicycle and e-bike retailers, estate agents and fashion retailers. Because we work with international brands, our signs and graphics are often shipped across the world – the many parts of which are affected by the pandemic at different levels.
Fortunately, we have not had to alter much in the way we operate. The competitive nature of our industry, and Graffiti’s high levels of customer service, have put us in good stead, as we are able to react to any enquiry quickly and efficiently, therefore making the most of every opportunity that comes our way.
Over the last 12 months, we have invested in new machinery as well as a new website. It just feels like we need to be prepared for when the economy bounces back.
What branding lessons can be learned from other retail sectors?
What stands out for me is the communication of what drives the brand. This is, more often than not, achieved by literally writing the brand’s history, ethos or philosophy all over the wall, and unashamedly shouting it from the rooftops.
I like this approach, and hope it never goes out of fashion. When customers visit these stores, they feel like they are part of a club.
How should a retailer make contact with you, and what might the onboarding process look like?
It’s always great to have an old-fashioned chat on the phone, but an initial email is the failsafe way of getting in touch. We can then arrange a convenient time to talk through your requirements and develop ideas from there.
We do whatever helps to move the project along, all the way through to implementation. Around 95% of everything we sell is made in-house, which allows us total control and means we can produce drawings, samples, prototypes and the finished product in a simple and efficient way.