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Window film and cut out letters in Dundee’s busy Commercial Street.
In April 2021, Sheham ElGamal contacted me after a referral from designer, Stuart Lindsay at Pulse North. Stuart helped Sheham create an identity for his new business, Scottish Dental Implants and Cosmetic Dentistry.
Sheham planned to renovate a large vacant shop in Dundee’s city centre. As such, lots of decisions were presented and Sheham was unsure of what he wanted. He needed advice about signs.
After speaking on the phone, Sheham and I met on site to discuss his business. Sheham wanted the shopfront to convey the values of his dental practice: professional, trusting, and welcoming.
Planning signs in Dundee’s city centre
Some cities have stipulations for the types of signs permitted in their locality. As well as installation methods and shopfront colours. Sheham’s architect asked for details of the signs for submitting to the council.
We looked at nearby businesses and Sheham liked the 3D effect on shop signs. With lots of options to choose from, I advised Sheham about materials, finishes, installation methods, longevity, and costs. Enabling Sheham to decide which option would suit his vision and his budget.
I also advised Sheham about the previous sign’s screw holes and how to fix them. As well as the existing vinyl applied on all of the windows. New etched vinyl would replace the previous and allow privacy for the two treatment rooms inside.
Following artwork revisions, I provided specifications for the signage. Subsequently, council approval was granted and the practice was another step closer to opening.
Flat cut lettering out of Perspex
Flat-cut lettering or cut out letters are shaped from sheets of substrates. Commonly used materials are acrylic, aluminium composite, foam PVC, and MDF. Most cut out letters on Dundee shopfronts are shaped on large CNC router tables. And some can be shaped by hand with a jigsaw.
Flat cuts are often fixed to surfaces with cylindrical barrels behind each shape. But SDICD would be fixed directly onto the fascia using high bond, double sided tape. This meant the fixings would not be visible.
Sheham opted for 10mm thick, glossy white Perspex. With just enough depth for the dimensional effect, the letters protrude off of the fascia and create a shadow.
The crown in the logomark is gold. This was covered with metallic gold vinyl, then the letters were ready to install.
Installing the flat cuts and window vinyl
The renovation was nearing an end and I visited to replace the windows’ etched film. Previous graphics were gradually peeled off and gum residue removed.
The new etched film covered most of eight panes. With logos added above. The etched vinyl is semi opaque and allows light to pass through. Ideal for the large windows looking onto the pavement outside.
I returned a few weeks later with scaffold and installed the long line of letters. Each bonded with a primer adhesive which grabbed tightly onto the painted fascia. Curious passers-by were already making inquiries.
Installation of the cut out letters was completed in one day. Along with additional interior vinyl, applied to corridor doors inside.
Maintaining the cut out letters
Commercial Street is often busy with traffic. As such, dirt and grime gather on shopfront surfaces.
I advised Sheham to look after the signage by planning a cleaning schedule. Washing the letters (especially the edges) maintain their brilliance longer. Preventing dirt from permanently staining the gloss white finish.
Returning the investment
Two weeks later, I visited the practice to add opening hours and contact details to the entrance panes. Sheham and I spoke about his six months renovation journey. He was delighted with the window graphics and cut out letters.
I was happy to learn that patients had already booked appointments before the practice was open. With no other marketing, the signs had grabbed the attention of passers-by.
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