Third generation signmaker and MD of Graffiti Design, Bruce Pestell, talks about how UK retailers are now considering the sustainability of the materials used in their showrooms to reduce the environmental impact of shop-fits.
Leading on from this and in the wake of COP26, Graffiti has launched a new sustainability service to bridge retailers’ knowledge gaps surrounding eco-conscious choices.
Making Signage stand out since 1976?
At Graffiti we specialise in crafting made-to-measure signage and displays, predominantly for UK retailers. Our work has always been heavily rooted in metal fabrication and hand finishing. Most signs start life as sheet aluminium or steelwork, but we also work with materials like acrylics, timber, composites, textiles, and display boards. Added to this, we can incorporate LEDs into our signage to produce illuminated displays.
At Graffiti, we practice what these days might be termed as ‘slow’ manufacturing – we use production methods that allow workers to express their creativity and contribute to improving each generation of product.
How is sustainability in retail changing?
‘Greenwashing’ and tick boxing are becoming things of the past as retailers implement meaningful environmental and sustainability plans that extend to the eco-credentials of showroom fit-outs. As a result, demand for signage that (in all senses) ‘won’t cost the earth’ is on the agenda. Traditionally eco-choices have afforded premium prices; however, as demand increases, we see that price gap gradually closing and choices broadening.
Where have eco-credentials recently been on the table?
Re-usable messaging is proving increasingly popular. Barker and Stonehouse approached Graffiti wanting to communicate in-store messaging on
re-configurable displays. As the first UK furniture retailer of scale to achieve Carbon Neutral Plus status, we knew that whatever we specified would need a sustainable edge. Aluminium seemed the obvious choice as it is incredibly versatile, lightweight, durable, and 100% recyclable. The resulting metal displays are built to last and shouldn’t see a recycling plant for many years to come. We’re now continuing the sustainability conversation by sharing news of several PVC-free display materials that have come to market.
Traditional artisan craftsmanship and materials are also on the rise again, including a renaissance for timber signage. In a new flagship concept store for Lush, not only did this lead the design towards a timber fascia and projector sign, Lush’s shopfitter actively reconditioned furnishings for use in-store. We’ve always worked closely with the team at Lush. We’ve making displays incorporating honey and letters made out of soap, recycled yoghurt pots and moss-covered board. Our team like to rise to a challenge!
As a company, we never want to be eco-militant; however, we’re looking to initiate meaningful conversations around sustainability with retailers. We hope that our sustainability service will highlight to retailers the ever-increasing range of eco-conscious materials that come to market. We’re looking forward to crafting solutions that are ever-increasingly kinder to the planet.
Graffiti Design’s services are employed by high street retailers, furniture stores, restaurants, pubs, estate agents, online concept stores, museums, heritage projects, leisure centres, corporate organisations and more. Contact Graffiti Design today, or read more about our signage process or see some of the large brand names we have worked with.