Profile: Stuart Wright
By SignCraft Magazine
Posted on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016
1400 sq. ft. plus 200 sq. ft. upstairs for office and print room
Roland VS 640 print/cut
Mimaki CG 130SII cutter
I had been working from my home studio since 2013, and steadily got busier. Working from a small office and a three-car garage wouldn’t allow for large vehicles or jobs, and I could see myself getting to the point where I needed more space. So late last year, I decided to rent a shop at a commercial location.
The move has been a real milestone for Sign Related. The space is a big help—the other day I had a large truck in here as well as a small rally car. I could never have done that at home.
Working from home was slightly awkward for me, but moving here has given me a professional look and a place for customers to come. I can meet with clients and work through jobs, saving me the time I would otherwise spend going to them. The extra overhead is something I’m always planning for, of course, and it’s there every month.
I’ve also added a printer/cutter. Until now, I had been outsourcing my printing to a sign shop in Queensland. I really can’t believe I didn’t get one sooner. It’s not running all day every day, but it certainly makes off-thecuff jobs much easier and quicker. When I was outsourcing, I had to plan for the delivery delay, which could be a bit of an issue.
I’m still getting used to the art and science of laminating; it’s painful stuff. I’d love to get myself a flatbed application table. That might be the next addition to the operation.
I started my apprenticeship with Les Heckingbottom of Signswest in Karratha, Western Australia, in 2001. [Les was featured in the November/December 2005 issue of SignCraft. —Editors] I worked there for about six years before moving to Perth where I worked for a large shop. It was a big change going from a two- to three-person company to a 20-person company. In 2011, I moved here to Canberra and worked for another shop for a few years before opening Sign Related in 2013.
I do anything I can manage—anything sign related—and within reason. For me, it’s important to be able to do a variety of work, because you never know what other work a job might lead to. Fortunately, along the way I learned to do quite a few different types of sign work. With Les, we did a large volume of cut vinyl and sign writing. I loved it. Then in Perth it was wraps, store display work, big installations, billboards and all sorts of things. Because of that, I can generally handle most of what comes my way.
Right now I’m trying to learn more about LED signage. I’ve not had a lot of experience with them in terms of manufacturing, and many shops here still use tubes for illuminated signs. I think LED is the way to go, and I’d like to get into illuminated light boxes and backlit letters and graphics.