With blue chip clients on its roster, communications agency Avvio needs soft signage partners it can rely on. Barry Loughlin explains exactly what they expect from their printers

A dye sub lightbox created for Avvio Reply’s client Sky

Avvio Reply is a full service communications agency based in Cockpole Green in Berkshire with blue chip clients such as BSkyB, Vodafone, British Gas and News International. Production director Barry Loughlin explains that the team works predominantly with internal comms departments for campaign-based projects, of which signage forms a part. The agency also has a B2B arm that works with marketing and brand departments, and will often be working on live events and exhibitions.

Avvio Reply uses a number of companies for soft signage, explains Barry, with VGL in Reading doing a lot of the work, along with Oasis Graphic. “VGL invests heavily in their machinery, which means you’re able to get the best quality from them. Oasis is also very, very good and they’re based in Cookham,” says Barry. “Part of our procurement is based on our location. It makes a difference in that you can get yourself down the road and see it coming off of the printer and check that you’re happy with it. It’s not something we regularly do, but it does mean if you need something quickly you can often get it; you can get a sample printed and produced in a day and in your offices if you’re close, otherwise you’re looking at 24-48 hours. Our industry turns over very quickly, we don’t get the luxury of timing, so we have to be able to react and you can only react if you’ve got a good supply chain.”

Advice and guidance

For those looking to supply an agency such as Avvio Reply with signage, Barry has some great advice, kicking off with quality. “We are always looking for consistency from our suppliers; that they consistently deliver a good quality print to us. Also, we want a partnership with suppliers so that they advise and guide us on the decisions that we’re making, not just print what they’re told. The suppliers that we’ve got very much push back on us a little bit and say ‘You know what, maybe try this’ and ‘Have you thought about that?’ It works well to have that relationship with your supplier.”

Availability is also key. With many events the installation is done out of office hours and over weekends before the delegates, visitors or other participants arrive. “There is nothing worse than getting an out-of-office,” says Barry. “Have people that are available when the print has been delivered. If you need to get something reproduced over a weekend because it’s been damaged or lost or stolen or just wrongly printed, for example – that’s a big part of what we look for in our suppliers, their ability to react under pressure. The last thing you need is a problem with a print and you can’t get hold of anybody until half past nine when they’ve had their Monday morning production meeting.”

Finally, when creating signage on different textiles, ensure the strictest control over the print quality. “We had a situation a while back where we had a number of pieces printed and the blue [of the Bosch logo] came out different colours on different materials. Quite a lot different. We fixed it, but you don’t want to be put in that situation.”


Soft Signage link?