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Signatures Graphic Design of Christchurch and Bournemouth

Established in 1991, we are based in Christchurch, Dorset and deliver a complete multi-media agency service for small to medium sized businesses in Bournemouth, Poole, Ringwood and the New Forest region.

Creative graphic design and commercial objectives - mutually exclusive?

We are a multi-disciplined design agency specialising in all aspects of design for print and web. Our years of experience gained in corporate marketing gives us the edge when it comes to breathing creative life into your marketing material. We of course always enjoy a brief that come with a budget that allows us to exercise our creative talents. Our designers also appreciate that in these harsh economic times, we have to produce quality work to meet your budget. Commission Signatures for a large or small design project, and you will always find we strive for the perfect mix of creative flair and sensible design without ever losing sight of the commercial objectives you have set.

For creative thinking that demands attention and produces tangible results, talk to us about how we can design your logo, business stationery, adverts, folders, leaflets, brochures, website and signage/fascias.

We have worked in partnership with some of our clients for all of our professional life, overseeing the transition from emphasis on traditional design for print to digital media. We take pride in the fact that we have taken the same journey, growing and evolving to meet the challenges of the new digital market place.

The route to market has certainly changed, but selling is the oldest game in town. All of our designers cut their teeth on traditional drawing boards and the solid grounding they received in good design layout and typography gives them the edge when it comes to using modern technology. You can´t beat years of graphic design experience and you are now beginning to see a widening gap between the quality of work being produced by agencies with good graphic designers and those with just good coders. You need both of course and Signatures just happens to have the best of both skill sets.

Printing Services

As part of our design service we are always happy to obtain competitive quotations from our trusted printers we have worked with for many years. You get the best price for a competitive price, and we can oversee the whole job from conception through to design approval and then onto print. Alternatively we will supply you with our finished artwork, and you can have the work printed yourself.

Website Makeovers

Low resolution photography and quirky animated visuals may have been fashionable website content in the past, but it is certainly not where you need to be in today´s highly competitive market place.

The bandwidth now available to consumers demands high quality imagery and design that you expect to find in quality glossy magazines. You can serioulsy damage your credibility and drive you customers away if your website is not up to scratch. It doesn´t have t be expensive or even particular;y sophisticated. It does, however, have to look the part.

If you have FTP access to your website, we offer a low-cost service where we will refresh and makeover the content of your website to make it more contemporary and relevant to your customer base of today. Obviously it makes sense to not throw the baby out with the bath water, so why start recoding from a blank canvass when you have a perfectly good website that just needs a face lift?

You need to constantly review your online marketing strategy. Fashions change and so should your advertising and website content

Professionally speaking, the novelty of selling over the Internet in the last decade meant anyone could achieve stunning returns and uplifts in sales just by the act of posting a website. What the website actually contained hardly seemed to matter at all.

Well that has now all changed. Online customers are far more sophisticated in what they look for and only the websites that have risen to the challenge of providing high quality and informative content are succeeding in securing new custom. Traditional selling techniques have come back to the fore. In order to sell, you have to create interest and generate customer need by describing the benefits of the services and products you provide … not just the features. Beginning to sound familiar?

That said, most small businesses and organisations continue to only really need a relatively simple (and inexpensive) ‘signpost’ website. It´s just a case of allowing us to make sure that the imagery and text content you publish does actually establish your credibility as a potential supplier of the services and products your customers are looking for.

At one end of the scale, take a kitchen designer and installer. You are about to spend a small fortune on a new kitchen and you have narrowed the choice of who you are going to engage down to two local firms. There´s nothing much to choose between them. One of the firm´s website looks nice enough but has used lots of glossy magazine-style photos of dream kitchens you just know they never had a hand in building. The other firm´s website concentrates on providing nicely presented pictorial histories of the most recent work they have undertaken. It has glowing endorsements from customers pleased with their new kitchens going back two years. The question has to be which of the two firms would you now engage based on their online marketing approach?

At the other end of the scale, we have a high tech engineering firm operating in the highly competitive aerospace sector on an international scale. Their website is crammed full of technical specifications of every product they have ever produced, but they are all presented as PDF files that are inaccessible to search engine crawlers. Their competitors have addressed the search engine accessibility issue by converting all their product data into nicely formatted HTML. Not a small task, but it will reap dividends, because if a design engineer searches for a particular component they need, up comes the competitor´s spec sheet on page one.

Now that high speed broadband is a reality for many UK businesses and consumers, there is a real need for all website operators to significantly improve the text and imagery of their websites. Sensible use of online video can transform the way visitors perceive your business and can serve as powerful calls-to-action to either buy online or start the consultative process by responding by email or telephone.

Here are a few examples of the different types of websites we have built in past.

Sign-post or Validation websites

The purpose of the website might simply be validating the credibility of the organisation as a supplier of goods and services to potential customers. A visit to a website that successful presents the range of the supplier´s services in an informative and eye-pleasing way, perhaps backed up by a selection of recent customer satisfaction endorsements, will give more confidence to the buyer that their decision to engage the supplier´s services is the right one. First impressions really count here, so never underestimate the importance of good graphic design.

Point-of-Sale e-commerce websites

The e-commerce web technology that drives online shops and payment collection systems is now well established. What is particularly interesting is the current trend for the more established and commercially successful online shops to become much simpler in design and content. It makes sense to take the shopper to the page where they can order and buy the product or service they are after as quickly as possible. It seems less is certainly more, and this is a policy that many a smaller online shop operation should take note of.

Airline ticket websites are a good example of getting straight to the point. Very few waste their site visitors´ time with information bloat. You land on the Home page and you are immediately introduced into the sales cycle of buying the ticket they know you are after. What is the point of distracting the visitor with any information that may delay securing the purchase? So simply don´t include content bloat in your website.

We suspect that the reason for this highly desirable drive for simplicity is that the control over the content of commercial websites is gradually passing from the ‘geeky’ coders, back to where it belongs … with the sales professionals.

Compliance and service delivery websites

Compliance and Service delivery websites are such a common part of our lives, you have to wonder how we managed before without them. The HMRC and Companies House websites are typical examples of good compliance websites, serving the dual role of providing information and collecting in tax and company return submissions electronically.

The best example of a service delivery website has to be your own bank´s website. The online bank websites have considerably extended the range of convenient and accessible services we as consumers now take for granted, with the added bonus to the service providers of achieving a hitherto unparalleled level of extra efficiency and cost savings in collecting in and disseminating important information.

Are there similar elements you could incorporate into your website?

Information websites

The final website type we highlight here, is the one designed to educate a particular target audience. Medical information and online service manual websites are typical examples. Again we feel the emphasis of the design of these websites have subtly changed in the last few years. If you reflect on the information websites you like to use, we bet you will recognise the three distinctive hallmarks of a good communications website. It will have:

  • An effective navigation system that you can search and find the page you looking for within a few clicks of the Home page;
  • The website will be exceptionally well designed in terms of graphic design; and
  • There will be a noticeable absence of any distractions in the form of adverts and superfluous information.

Is your website achieving its full potential?

Our purpose for focusing your attention on the types of website you may like to use, is it should now be much easier for you to objectively critique your own organisation´s website.

So a simple challenge. List down the characteristics of the various website you like to use and next consider how well your website measures up.

If you score well, you don´t need our services for the moment.

If you perceive your website is flawed and not up to scratch, then so will your customers. A good reason to call us on 01202 474545 to get you back on track.

Signatures Design: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Nearly all of our new clients are introduced to us from either personal recommendations (70%), or from enquiries arising from people using search engines (30%) to locate professionals who offer SEO services in the Bournemouth, Christchurch, New Milton and New Forest areas.

All of our placings in the Search Engines have been achieved through passive search engine optimisation. We have not spent a single penny in active advertising to achieve the high rankings we regularly obtain. We have succeeded solely from making sure our website coding and text content is presented in a format that favours the way search engines work and catalogue a URL in their databases.

The point we first wish to make, is that if we can do it for ourselves, we can do it for you. The second point is that SEO should not be an expensive exercise for you either.

Part of the purpose of what we will explain about SEO on this website is to dispel some of the myths about the process. We hope to prevent you from being skilfully misled into signing up to one of the many different types of rip-off monthly search engine promotional plans that are still doing the circuit at the moment.

We have all received those compelling telephone calls that spin you quite a convincing yarn about how they can get your website to number one on Google. The only promise we make about SEO, is if you read the rest of what we have to write about SEO, you will understand why you shouldn´t sign up to such deals and waste your money. Worse still, the methods these other agencies use can sometimes even damage your SEO potential.

That is not to imply that all search engine marketing is free. We have been paid five figure fees for our search engine expertise and we can include car manufacturers and banks amongst our clients. These kind of corporate level clients only continue to pay out tens of thousands of pounds a month to run very sophisticated advertising campaigns with Google and Bing because it brings in tangible results.

Fortunately for most of us with more modest annual advertising budgets measured in terms of the odd hundred pounds here and there (!), properly optimising your website content for search engines is a relatively low cost and surprisingly simple exercise to carry out. We are talking here about the time it takes to edit the meta tags and change the text content of your key pages on your website. There´s no big secret about what you need to do. If you spend a week reading what Google has to say on the matter, you would gain an in depth understanding of what passive search engine optimisation is all about. Most of our clients just find it easier for Signatures to carry out the SEO work needed for them.

Signatures Design´s Promise of Excellent Professional Service

It does not matter whether you ask us to design and print your new logo and business stationery, or undertake the build of a £20K corporate website. We will approach each design project with exactly the same enthusiasm and professionalism. We are based in the South and work at highly competitive rates, but deliver London standards of innovation and technical expertise. We take pride in delivering a reliable and timely service, and never forget the simple principle that if we do right by you the first time around, you will come back to us again when you need to fulfil the next project.

Call us on 01202 474545 to discuss how our design team can help you.

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