To kick off our Art and Design Feature, we profile local signwriter and business-man, Matt Williams of M&M Signs.
Hey Matt. How long have you lived in the Manning Great Lakes?
My wife and I have been living here for almost 4 years now. We love it, and we think it’s the perfect place to bring up our young family.
> What do you love about working in this area?
I love the pristine environment that we’re surrounded by here: the surf, lakes, national parks. Just the other day I was driving over the bridge on my way to a job. It was early in the morning, and I could see a pod of dolphins hunting for their breakfast in that incredibly clear blue water. It was amazing!
It is the people who make the difference too. I know all my neighbours, and there is a real sense of community that you get to be a part of.
Also, I find the business people that I make signs for are very passionate about their work – and that is great, because there is a genuine interest in helping the business community to grow. The efforts of people like Deb Tuckerman, of Great Lakes Council, who organises various different forums on a regular basis and the Chamber of Commerce, which constantly runs interesting meetings, brings lots of different businesses together. The result of all that hard work is a strong network of business owners who are committed to working with each other – and that is something very special.
> What inspired you to get involved in signwriting?
I have always enjoyed creating things with my hands, and signwriting is definitely a hands on type of job. I am also aware of how much I can help people to promote their business, which is really inspiring.
Every day is different and each job that I do, whether it is designing signage for a vehicle, a shop front window or even a crane, there are always new challenges – and I am always up for a challenge!
> You now have some great clients in the local area. Tell us about them, and is there work that we can spot around town that you have done?
Yes, I do have some great clients, and they are all so diversified. You will be familiar with Roberts’ Meats in Stocklands Mall; they opted for fabricated acrylic lettering and neon lighting, which creates an almost art deco feeling. There is Great Lakes Tackle and Camping, where we used aluminium composite panels with vinyl and high resolution digital prints for all the different types of logo they display.
My favourites are what I like to think of as mobile billboards. Rocket Tools are a perfect example; you can’t miss the massive rocket logo on the side of their vans. I’m sure that you have seen the Midcoast Document Service Vans scooting around town. Bigger rigs like the Great Lakes Crane Services are also clients of mine, and there are the hand painted signs like Marx Tyres, where I paint directly onto the walls – which is very traditional and effective way to get your brand out there.
> You recently did the Focus ‘Beyond the Page’ exhibition. We must say, your prints looked amazing! How was that experience for you?
Thank you. Yes, I was really happy with how our large scale digital prints turned out. I really take a lot of pride in whatever I produce, and it is a real buzz when people appreciate this.
It was a very exciting exhibition, and it was great to meet so many different people in the arts and business worlds in the FICA Gallery. I was really impressed with the photography, and being able to reproduce photographic images that we scaled up from photos taken on digital cameras to large scale digital prints onto canvas was a really effective way to achieve a dynamic result.
> You are also a new young dad. How do you find the time to juggle work and home life?
Yes, that is right. We have a 20-month-old son Sunny and two new arrivals, identical twin boys, Archie and Ollie, 3 weeks old! What more could a dad want?
We are very proud of them. My lovely wife Mel, who is the other half of M & M Signs, is an awesome mum and does an amazing job looking after the kids. It can be a bit of a juggle at times, but we have clear personal goals and that helps us focus. We know exactly where we want to go as a family, which complements our goals in the business.
> Do you still get gratification from seeing the finished product?
Absolutely! Being able to take an image from the computer screen at the artwork stage and turn it into something real and tangible is what really motivates me. Being able to bring art and business together is such a pleasing thing to do – it is like the joining of two different concepts, so spotlighting a business with my signage and bringing it to people’s attention is really gratifying to me.
I believe all businesses should GET NOTICED! In fact, M & M Signs’ mission statement is: To encourage businesses to GET NOTICED! With professional signage.
> As a sole trader, would you say you are a perfectionist, because you know that all the work comes back to you?
Being a fully qualified signwriter with over 14 years’ experience, I am compelled to produce the perfect product every time. I can’t help myself! Fresh, unique and original ideas are what is needed to create eye-catching landmark signage, and that is constantly my aim.
My customers keep returning time and again, which is a huge compliment to me and it must mean that I am doing something right!
> What is your business goal for 2011?
To maintain and improve on the high standards the company is known for. To continually focus attention on our clients and to meet their needs. I know through experience that service is the key, and my aim is to provide a quick response to the clients’ needs and a fast turnaround on quotes and the production of work. At M & M Signs, the customer always comes first, and we will continue to promote their business and their best interests to the highest level.
> Thank you Matt.