Interview: Dave Nurse from Signs Express Leeds in conversation with Output
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By Morwenna Kearns
16 March 2012
Kim and Dave Nurse, owners of Signs Express Leeds, are up for two awards in this month's Sign and Digital UK programme
Dave Nurse, owner of Signs Express Leeds, tells Morwenna Kearns about his company's two nominations in the Sign and Digital UK 2012 Awards and his opinions on the industry.
Can you tell me a bit about the projects that have got you noticed for the awards?
The Best Individual Sign Project job was for Hush Puppies. The work was done for a brand management company called Reinvigorate. The brief was to supply and fit illuminated letters onto glass windows without having wires showing. The letters were split into two sections. Inside the glass a built-up letter housed the LEDs. Outside the glass was the front of the letters with a chamfered edge which would illuminate. Power was passed through stainless steel rods on the backs of the letters which acted as power bars.
The Best Multiple Sign Project entry was at Bridgewater Place, a building is managed by Jones Lang LaSalle. They had a brand new building but without any identity. We had to offer up a lot of different designs for consideration to create a brand image for the entire commercial part of the building which is nine floors, reception, foyer, car park, loading bays, lifts and so on. the signage scheme had to work up and down the building and the brand had to suit each type of signage in each area. This evolved over time and in the past six months we have completed even more work, including new hoardings being covered in print at a very large size, and we are now working on a new scheme welcoming Olympic teams to Leeds.
Why did you decide to enter the awards?
We decided to enter the awards after both projects were named as winners in our own Signs Express awards held in September 2011. We were very proud of the work we had done as a team which involved each member of our workforce at some stage on each project. The briefs for each job were very different from the day-to-day jobs and these both gave us something to really get stuck into and try to push our skills and creativity to offer the client the 'wow factor'. We wanted to achieve a response like watching a child open up presents on Christmas Day and from the comments back from each client I think we achieved just that.
What are you looking forward to seeing at Sign and Digital UK?
I would like to see new suppliers of digital media. We are under ever increasing pressure on price from our customers, old and new. We have faced some steep and sudden price rises but competition is such that we cannot always pass this onto the customer. We are looking for a new digital vinyl supplier which can offer the quality we need to uphold but at a price level the customer is willing to pay.
What would you say have been your business's biggest achievements?
The biggest achievement we have had in the last year is investing in a Rolls Roller and the new latex HP printer and re-jigging our production area. Overall, throughout our business's lifetime, our biggest achievement has been to push the limits of what we are able to offer the customer as our confidence and abilities have grown enormously over the last eight years.
What are your opinions on the signage industry at the moment? What changes would you like to see?
In my opinion the signage industry has seen a vast increase in sole traders who have previously worked for a sign company that has gone bust. They have little to no overheads and will work for next to nothing. They are offered up to us by our customers as a like for like, until we ask them to consider after-sales, guarantee periods, what quality or grade of product they are using, and so on. As a consequence we are trying to educate the customer more and more into making a proper informed decision.
Too many jobs are done on the cheap or for cash and nobody wins at the end of the day. If everybody competed on an equal playing field then the quality would go up and so would the image of our industry in the customer's eyes. Having said that, when the sole traders don't turn up to a survey or don't quote the customer after going to see them then we win the order by default, so I guess we should thank them for that.
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