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While the image above inspires a good hearty chuckle it’s often a tough process getting to the point where you are impervious to the slights that happen in the ranks of the truly third division.


Yes the world of UK signwriting sadly has it’s fair share of snipers.


When I started out in 81 it was a terrain with a few inspirational teams and players nearly all of which were good blokes.

There was a sense of mutual respect and care in what we did and each other.

While I know I put out a certain image and brashness online – it’s not really the real persona. It’s simply a way of conveying what I do in a dynamic frame. For example I may say ‘The best in London’ etc but of course that is just a marketing tag… I’m probably the best in london a few days a year. It’s unimportant save for creating a head turning headline.

It’s marketing… that’s all.

But a lot of people think I actually take myself that seriously… I don’t. They then become arch enemies and occasionally break cover and lob bricks my way. It initially came as a complete shock… now I am equipped to dodge and deal with them.

I was shocked when a top gilder and a close mate also told me they are regular targets of online abuse.

I hope you cope with it if it happens… here’s some insight just in case.


Below is a list of the kind of character and practice assassination I have dealt with and survived over the past 5 years, as the field has steadily encouraged the wrong Type, Type tasters and bitter letterers. Not just me either but even the very top players take this kind of tack from those who frankly will probably never know better. The pot calling the kettle black abounds!!


  • Instagram and facebook trolling
  • Email based threats
  • Team sabotage
  • Student friction
  • Post apprentice dissing


I have been standing minding my own business in an airport, station or my studio taking bespoke swipes from people that have never met me and are fuelled by jealousy.  I thank my toughened bones for handling them reasonably well.

I have never come at someone saying they are talking shite or whatever… yet that measure doesn’t apply to others.  Expect the unexpected.

It is a new breed of hob-nail booted sheep out there and after a few digs you do get toughened.


Instagram and facebook trolling

In reality there’s not a lot worth doing about this kind of thing other than calling someone out. However for a troll to attack you it indicates they are pretty messed up internally. Quite often they come from villages and are loners they view London writers with distrust and disdain.

The profile of the destructive troll is characterised by isolation.  They have all come from nowhere and attack at low level in ways that thankfully you just cannot be assed to deal with.

They also tend to emphasise attention to detail in their studios (kitchens normally – never trust someone who writes on the flat with one of those horrible green plastic/rubber cutting sheets) and struggle to execute work with confidence on site. Good technically – crap artistically and hopeless on site.

They always wear weird tee shirts, are never bald , and are generally unsexy.


Invite them over for a chat.


Email based threats

These come from the ones with those funny hats. I had one cheeky chappy in a flat cappy threaten me after denying he’d ever met me (having chatted at length together at Signpainter the movie event for example).

Characteristics include using vinyl masking a bit and creating quasi retro victorian glass fascias that don’t quite hang together from an artistic point. To make glass fascias work you really do have to be genuinely brilliant and dedicate yourself to the founding principles of shape.

By empowering the letters with genuinely beautiful shape (which is only possible from a genuinely beautiful heart) the spaces across the panels toward borders and corner sprays ‘gel’. They become active and alive spaces and shapes together.

These flat cap chaps are usually pretty good at the superficial look but up close… and in terms of depth of quality hmmm.

My main competitors in the teaching scene are thankfully not in this group save for one – Better leta sleeping dog lie, aye.


Ask them for examples of their problem. They form teams of ego nasties. The Priory could be the next step for these guys but they will never get there. Ignore and permanently cut off as they are quite unpleasant vicious, toxic and damaging.


Team sabotage

As above. These are people that demand you employ them and aim to create fall out across your team and associates. Usually quit sexy and persuasive but in time they demonstrate their utter discontent with everything around them other than those who feed and are like them.

They are often foxy, think they are sly (but are just plain stupe) and never show the true colour or enjoy the sun.


Shape shifters need space. Give them plenty and ventilate the studio. They are genuinely ensaddening people and are usually depressed, with alcohol and other addictions.  Headskingly persistent better be as kind as we can.


Student friction

Normal, healthy.


Send up different ladders. Teach them well.


Post apprentice dissing

Hmmm. Inevitable if the head honcho is a type A personality like myself.


Get beer.

Forgive and always love and empower you apprentices no matter how predictably WTF they can be.




You have to kiss a lot of frogs. Perfect the love of shape. Paint them well.