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Live the Creative space

April 27, 2012

Signwriting in the modern context.




The Usual Mega Business!

Welcome all!  This is going to be a big fun learning curve… dedicated craftship skills, honing in on the real brushwork dynamics and training you, the next generation of signmasters.  

Yep it’s no circus, never OIAFS, and always the business end of training… go be success!

Next Course Booking   Contact Nick  07960113799

Nick Garrett: Genuine skills

Fantastic course would definitely recommend it… covered a lot over the course of the 2 days from techniques to the best materials to use. Great creative atmosphere and good insight to sign painting.   

Cool Vibes at NGS sign training!!

Quality learning – value, concise and solid training delivered in a way that makes absolute sense … and it works right there in your hand.

You’ll walk out of the studio able to make real headway as a sign painter.

4 Ways of Sharp Corners:  An assured way of making it perfect every time.

4 Ways of Spacing: Again a solid breakdown of how to sort kerning in the bag.

This course is delivered using the method featured in the forthcoming Laurence King publication ”The Art of Sign Painting” – by Nick Garrett.


How to Paint Letters - NGS 001

Clear format techniques and learning sheets deliver an easy to grasp, precise methodology.

Step by Step practice tutorials.

B stroke play 72

Hi this blog is all about solutions in design, for design, via design… enjoy and leave a cool comment or two

Nick Garrett

Contact me directly

NGS Unit 205 Regent House Business Centre, 291 Kirkdale, London SE26 4QD

 NGS Video capture


Currency inventors: Bitcoin

May 8, 2018

Bitcoin has arrived, it seems. Not only has the price of Bitcoins soared above $15,000, repeatedly recovering from sharp drops along the way, but financial markets are now treating Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as legitimate financial assets. Most recently, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange has announced that it is about to launch a Bitcoinfutures contract.

Paradoxically, however, these developments have undermined the very proposition that is supposed to give Bitcoin its ultimate value. As the name cryptocurrency implies, Bitcoin was intended not as a speculative asset but as a free-standing currency to compete with, and ultimately replace, government-issued currencies like the US dollar. While the price of Bitcoin has surged, its use as a currency has stagnated, or even declined.

At the core of the cryptocurrency proposition is the idea of the blockchain, a distributed ledger in which updates are made by a consensus of a large number of independent contributors. In the case of Bitcoin, two kinds of updates are needed. New bitcoins are created by “proof of work”, that is the production of an easily verified solution to a complex mathematical problem. The energy used in this process, and the fact that the work done in the calculations is of no value in itself, have been the subject of much criticism.

The other kind of updates to the ledger, those that make it work as a currency, take place when Bitcoins are transferred from one person to another in exchange for goods and services. The blockchain ensures that these transactions can be verified, even though there is no central authority keeping track of them and no physical evidence of their occurrence.

The problem is that the mining tail is wagging the Bitcoin dog. So much effort is going in to the profitable activity of mining bitcoins that the system is dominated by these updates. As a result, using Bitcoins for their intended purpose as a currency is slow and costly. A Bitcoin transaction can take hours, or even days, to be confirmed and a typical fee is as much as $7.

Recently the gaming platform Steam announced that, because of these fees, and the volatility of the currency, bitcoins would no longer be accepted as payment. This is a striking instance of a much bigger problem. Nearly a decade after its introduction, and with nearly $100bn in market capitalisation, a list of all legitimate merchants willing to accept Bitcoin fits comfortably on a single web page.

If, for example, you would like to use Bitcoin to buy a beer, your options are limited to two venues, one in London and one in Sydney. An Australian vendor recently made headline news by offering to accept Bitcoin as payment for his house. To put it bluntly, a merchant accepting payment in Bitcoins is not making a business decision but staging a publicity stunt.

Of course, much of the appeal of Bitcoin is that it can be used for transactions where secrecy is desired, including drug deals and money laundering. The recent upsurge in the price of Bitcoin reflects its massive popularity in China, where people have lots of reasons to seek to hide transactions from the authorities. But that in turn creates a vulnerability.

Over 80% of all Bitcoin mining takes place in China, much of it organised in a relatively small number of “pools”. If the Chinese government took control of these pools, it would control the entire ledger and could change it in any way it wanted. Of course, that would require willingness to undertake large scale seizures of computers and the use of force to compel co-operation. But the Chinese government has ample force at its disposal, and a demonstrated willingness to use it against any perceived threat.

So, a bet on Bitcoin involves a lot of faith in the continued tolerance of the Chinese government for a currency with a professed objective of undermining existing states.

Like most financial bubbles, Bitcoin begins with a claim to have invented a new way of doing business. If people lose faith in that claim, the entire edifice is merely a record of some pointless calculations. At the moment, there’s little evidence to support the idea that Bitcoin will ever become a usable currency.

 John Quiggin is an economist at the University of Queensland

Designing for health: Regeneron

May 8, 2018
Family on a rock climbing course.


1. Regeneron: Praluent relaunch

Heart disease is still the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S. and uncontrolled cholesterol plays a big role. Statins are a relatively cheap solution for some, but not all patients. Regeneron and Sanofi have plenty of data that show its next-generation cholesterol-lowering treatment can benefit this underserved group, but getting insurers to pay for it has been an uphill battle.

While there’s little chance Praluent will become a megablockbuster that commands its original $14,600-per-year list price, Regeneron and Sanofi have finally made end payers an offer they’ll find hard to refuse. Earlier this year, the partners showed that Praluent reduced a group of high-risk patients’ risk of death by 29% when compared to statins alone. A nonprofit drug-pricing watchdog, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), used data from the 18,924-patient trial to come up with a value-based price for this group that starts at $4,500 per year for a group of between 300,000 and 400,000 patients.

Sanofi took the assessment and started engaging end payers to see if any would offer easy reimbursement for a lower net price that reflects ICER’s assessment, and the industry listened. As of July 1, the partners will cut the net price of Praluent in return for straightforward access for around 25 million Americans covered by the Express Scripts (NASDAQ:ESRX) national formulary. The pharmacy benefits manager, and will also remove formulary access for its main competitor, Amgen‘s (NASDAQ:AMGN) Repatha.

If the sweetened offer works as intended, it could boost annual Praluent sales from a meager $195 million in 2017 past the $1 billion within a couple years. That’s far less than the partners originally intended, but the royalty revenues will go a long way toward lifting Regeneron’s bottom line.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals look solid going forward

May 1, 2018

View photos

In September 2017, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:REGN) announced its latest earnings update, which signalled that the company benefited from a strong tailwind, eventuating to a double-digit earnings growth of 40.79%. Below, I’ve laid out key growth figures on how market analysts predict Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’s earnings growth outlook over the next few years and whether the future looks even brighter than the past. I will be looking at earnings excluding extraordinary items to exclude one-off activities to get a better understanding of the underlying drivers of earnings. Check out our latest analysis for Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

Analysts’ outlook for next year seems buoyant, with earnings expanding by a robust 23.40%. This growth seems to continue into the following year with rates arriving at double digit 42.72% compared to today’s earnings, and finally hitting $2,149.2M by 2021.

NasdaqGS:REGN Future Profit Jan 9th 18

View photos

NasdaqGS:REGN Future Profit Jan 9th 18

Even though it’s useful to understand the rate of growth each year relative to today’s value, it may be more beneficial to determine the rate at which the business is rising or falling on average every year. The advantage of this method is that it ignores near term flucuations and accounts for the overarching direction of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’s earnings trajectory over time, which may be more relevant for long term investors. To compute this rate, I’ve inserted a line of best fit through the forecasted earnings by market analysts. The slope of this line is the rate of earnings growth, which in this case is 13.71%. This means, we can expect Regeneron Pharmaceuticals will grow its earnings by 13.71% every year for the next couple of years.

Next Steps:

For Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, I’ve compiled three fundamental aspects you should further research:

1. Financial Health: Does it have a healthy balance sheet? Take a look at our free balance sheet analysis with six simple checks on key factors like leverage and risk.

2. Valuation: What is REGN worth today? Is the stock undervalued, even when its growth outlook is factored into its intrinsic value? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether REGN is currently mispriced by the market.

3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of REGN? Explore our interactive list of stocks with large growth potentialto get an idea of what else is out there you may be missing!

To help readers see pass the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned.


Getting Shopify stores right

April 28, 2018

Is Shopify still a way to get your products profitable in 2018?


Now I am not saying you cannot be profitable with Shopify. What I mean is, you have to set realistic goals and expectations if you want to be successful in this business.

You MUST treat this as a business because it IS a business.

Most people do not and that is why they fail at becoming profitable.

They come across a Facebook Ad or Instagram Influencer pushing the narrative of how they “figured out” the secret technique that resulted in them making their fortunes with an online business.

But actually it is down to a lot more about business competitivity than anything else.

The usual business mantra goes:

  • Quality – hand made 
  • Keen price – ultra keen!
  • Solid delivery and returns… keeping the reviews sweet.


What these Gurus aren’t sharing with you is why most people fail in this business. People are not Profitable with Shopify because:

  1. They focus too much time creating the perfect looking store in hopes this will instantly attract flocks of people to purchase their products.
  2. They do not spend enough time doing product research and figuring out who their end user will be and what there price-point attraction field is.
  3. They do not consistently test and relaunch products
  4. They are leaving money on the table by not upselling and cross-selling products to their existing customers
  5. They are not investing time and money into Ad campaigns for each of their products

Too many people fall victim to the fantasy, that with Shopify, they can simply open up a store, slap a few products on there, and the customers will come.


So I say YES Shopify is still Profitable.

Profitable as long as you are willing to take consistent actions.

Invest 2–3 hours every single day doing product research, test new apps, launch advertising campaigns, build up a brand following on social platforms – the laundry list of tasks is enormous! But this is what it will take to become Profitable on Shopify.

Here is a video I put together going over the 6 Steps you need to take to become Profitable with Shopify

Upvote · 14
Engage your Shopify website visitors with on-site messages.
Sleeknote helps e-tailers guide visitors, generate leads and increase sales. Start a free trial today.

Howie Reith

This question is really, really general, but I’m trying to answer it nonetheless.

Yes, opening a store on Shopify can be insanely profitable and a great idea. But it depends on a million factors. Opening the store itself is just a very tiny step in the whole.

What I would recommend is to roughly follow a pattern like this:

  • carefully select suppliers to ensure maximum product quality – if you sell just a few products you might even consider buying samples
  • think outside the box when advertising – don’t immediately run to Facebook ads just because anyone else is doing it. In fact, our biggest E-Commerce brand so far that hit over $250,000 in gross sales makes almost 100% of sales without Facebook (using Affiliate marketing, influencers and word of mouth/organic traffic
  • go with a specific niche – general stores have way less potential because you cannot segment your customers as easily and you can’t create the perfect experience for one kind of customer.
  • think about getting SUPER high quality images/videos for your most promising products – many people forget about this part and use their suppliers pictures which are, most of the time, insanely bad. Try a service like OcularProducts to get professional pictures (or videos) that make you stand out.
  • have at least $500 – I know that in theory dropshipping is a “no budget” business, but especially when it comes to paid advertising you will flush some money down the toilet before seeing results

you can read my shopify journey: My Shopify journey

Who trusts an empty restaurant?
The same goes for your website. Fomo is the world’s first social proof API.

Tyler Wong

Depends on your business model.

For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume a 2% conversion rate per month (actual is average of 3%), and consistent 400 visits a month. You will spend $100 on advertising a month ($25/week), and just subscribe to the basic shopify plan at $30/month.

If you are dropshipping:

Making an average of $5 profit per product, you will lose an average of $90/month.

$10 profit per product, you would lose an average of $50/month.

$20 profit per product, you would make an average of $30/month.

If you’re stocking all your own inventory:

It’s a little bit different story, as you have to account for the up front cost of your inventory per month. But you can still calculate using the above averages. Just subtract the monthly inventory costs from the averages based on your expected profit per, and you will get your $/month including inventory. Just keep in mind that any unsold inventory just sits and wastes space and money, which most likely means you will be buying something else in addition, hoping that sells better.

Long story short:

If you are trying to make some serious cash with shopify, you’d better already have a product that will sell, with low overhead costs.

My personal opinion:

Get product validation first, then worry about shopify, or whatever other store front you decide to use.

If you’re simply just trying to make some serious cash starting from nothing, it’s going to take a lot of work, research, and luck.

Side note:

Don’t believe all the hype behind so called “Gurus” trying to sell their market plans for success on shopify/dropshipping/etc. If that market was really as successful as they claim it to be, wouldn’t they rather just focus on selling more within the market, instead of selling something outside of the market?

Upvote · 7

Michael Bereslavsky

The Canadian based ecommerce business has yet to become profitable despite enormous growth over the year, yet forecasters are being cautious as to whether the company can maintain its current standings and make good on their promise to become profitable by years end. So the answer to the question is Shopify still profitable in 2017, from an investor’s standpoint, remains hopeful.

Shopify enjoys the clout as after less than three years of the company’s initial public offering, it has a market cap of $10 billion. Shopify shares have also returned an impressive 500 percent. The growth this company is putting out from the outside looking in shows great buying potential. Yet the company has yet to put out a profit and maintaining their steep growth rates may become a difficult task. This outlook has made stock forecasters weary of investing more in the company and advising those who hold shares to simply wait it out.

While merchants on Shopify’s platform continue to earn profits, selling on average $14,570 in the first quarter of the year, the company’s platform still proves to be successful to those merchants who can grow their business through the ecommerce platform. Shopify hosts over 500,000 merchants, with 125,000 of those merchants added in just two quarters.

With the performance the company is putting out the company’s profitability looks promising. But will they meet their claim to be profitable in the fourth quarter of 2017 remains debatable as some investors predict the company will not be despite its growth, while others believe the opposite. However, if looking to invest in Shopify, Inc. stock (SHOP), despite having a high buy rate, it is still wise to invest in the company as their numbers continue to astonish analysists and only continue to rise.

Upvote · 6

Kirkdale Funk Night Sugahill Cafe

July 11, 2017
Chris Arch DJ
Chris is a dedicated reggae, funk and groove man with over 15,000 superb rare groove tracks ready to spin.
Working the turntables for a fair while he is the very real ‘real deal’.
Check him out at Kirkdale Funk.


  1. About to happen live in

  2.  Retweeted

    I’ll be celebrating my 50th in London at Kirkdale Funk, Sydenham with Steve Clancy & Chris Arch.

Authentic by hand doesn’t automatically make it good!

November 5, 2016

Corona classic hand painted type.jpg

I love Roman lettering, retro USA casuals and London sans serif… when done right and taught correctly. That’s my job… it’s what I do and lay my reputation on.

London signwriting is at a crossroads. One way is rough USA copy, import casual … Bad shapes, newbie mismatch layout, roughly done… without a shread of the heartland and even industrial beauty that the original stuff had… the other way is real, solid signwriting, working hard at creating fabulous lettering.

To say London is eclectic and thrives on this mix is a cop out… if the emerging rash new casual poster gothics and casual handwriting styles were any good I would be the first to praise. Cities, Villages and outposts thrive on great workmanship. Most casuals being slapped up is cop out shit, borrowed USA styled without a glance at origins, local culture and roots. It’s like saying McDonalds is fine because it’s got it’s place… the bin. Don’t kid yourself – the tradition of great USA and UK writing is built on quality and depth.


Above: One weekend with NGS and Dawn is making really beautiful quality work around UK.

London Blocks Explained L002 250 dpi cJPEG

Casuals are a deft art. I remember arriving in Perth Western Australia and seeing window splashes being belted out – rough trade sales tagged up beautifully… those guys with dayglow rollers know their shit and painted fast as a lizard’s tongue, in 46 degrees, with tough coat water colours – in hellfire conditions they somehow still paint like a dream.

Guys like Downer, and Stevens shoot/shot out iconic doms as fast as a terrier’s eye. Slipped out the cup, all slick and ace high lettering. But you don’t learn that on day one or two, ask any pro.

There are, of course, some very talented signwriters today who can make sensational casual letters let’s be clear about that. Mike Meyer, Pierre Tardif and  James Cooper-Yourman’s (Dapper Signs Bristol) brilliance stand out and I love their astounding work. But what I am talking about is the rash of new SWs who start out learning this stuff from the up and go, thinking it’s the dogs nuts. Learn that stuff from a master – when you have the basics nailed.

So I’m not here to snipe – I’m here to push people to go hard and not accept mediocrity. Mediocrity often comes from graduating yourself too quickly.

Often I set a task and there’ll be one or two in the class that will get bored and jump ahead… I pull them back because otherwise they will start thinking they have the ability to run when they need to polish their boots first… before they even walk.

A half hour of tough boring stuff really strengthen the mind and self discipline.

They also need to trust my judgement and get into the moment which is sitting there waiting at the tip of the brush.

Hendrix was an incredibly technical master of his instrument…say no more.


Painted letters day with Nick Garrett

Casual writing is secondary text… but don’t be fooled – it’s the most difficult too

I learnt my trade from one of the great casual writers, Andy Whitmore but there was no way I could do what he could do in the first year of training… so I adapted over the years. Yet his technique entered my bones and brush… so too did his relentless standards.

Casual cursive is an art… probably one of the most difficult aspects of writing. It comes from a tradition of poster or ticket writing. Those guys were working on hundreds of tickets a day and were literally paper sign autopilots, turning out beautifully executed work… cheap, effective and volume production.

It was never about quality in the same breath that a signwriter would approach a letter but about quality in the breathless sense of fast, spontaneous execution. As a form I personally love it… but to teach it off bat is misguided.

To teach Day One based on this style is frankly a joke. Yet we see Mike Meyer and Better letters doing just this. Look I love what the big man can do… but it’s not focused enough for newbies to grasp in day one or two. It’s not the best way to get young writers started up.

Yep this is a square roundhouse article criticising the way signwriting is being taught and how that import culture, when done on the fly, is fucking up designs, artists and identities. A really good casual letter is the most difficult thing to do… walk first.

Painted letters day with Nick Garrett

Too much – too hard

Definitely not saying you need to do a 5 year apprenticeship either. But the cart goes behind the horse and over graduating yourself can waste a lot of time in the medium term.

I have students lapping up the nuggets of info and lettering skills I teach… a few complaining from time to time that I teach too much info on the day. Chloe Tickner stated just that the other week, only to go out the studio and succeed on the basis of what I had laid down as key principles.

”But people just can’t remember all that info!” She retorted.

”Well write it down on the free pads I supply!”

You can’t cut corners. But don’t complain to the teach about forgetting crucial gems during the weekend. Bring a journal, create your story.

Above: Chloe Tickner after Day 2 in Signsmiths – 1 month later she’s gone pro – 7 months later she’s solo.

This is not a game. This is a craft. The bottom line is the top line and first line. Learn the detail and apply this detail to everything you do.

I just want a fun weekend though – Don’t you want to be a signwriter?

You cannot be a recreational sign writer in this industry because too many people are going to rip you down. It will be done occasionally to your face on Facebook and constantly behind your back. Jealousy is rife. I have it all the time… a few years ago it devastated me – today I know the score.

But if you want spend 3-400 quid for a weekend of dabbling with the brush it won’t happen in my studio. The first thing you will discover is it will cost a lot less than that, in an NGS Signsmith weekend, passion and absolute love for the brush and craft hits you and strengthens your practice. You will be inspired. Exhausted and yet empowered.

It will happen elsewhere though – not in an NGS weekender. Dabbling… a bit of guru heroism and nice guy fun.  But that really isn’t going to be a game changer for you. Because it’s lightweight.

I want it to develop your professional capacity and make London or wherever more beautiful with fabulous lettering.

Newbie Signwriting has to step up right now. Not by overdressing lettering but but crafting and becoming genuinely discerning. Historical knowledge enriches shape.

The art is not about having fun it’s about exhilaration and craftsWmanship.

in house

But London is eclectic now

London can be eclectic on the basis of great design, applying USA culture of lettering across the city in a way that works – most of the stuff going up isn’t so much brutal/industrial but pig assed ugly. But be aware of what happened when the hamburger joints did that saturation blitz during a period of 70s and 80s ignorance… today Subway and Maccas are trash outlets painted green, struggling to gain a foothold in a more genuine health based, fast food landscape.

But the past will always haunt KFC and co. It will haunt a lot of small businesses too if they opt for crass design and rough painting.

Do we really want risk the inflow of junk type?

images (1)

Say it

I remember Pete Hardwick at the first showing of Signpainters the movie turning to me saying ”This isn’t signwriting Nick… it’s poster writing”. A few writers shuffled a bit standing alongside in earshot.  I agreed with Pete.

Never a truer letter written, nor word spoken for quality.

Recently I ran it by Jack Hollands who said he feels London is the better for USA CAZ  (…rough?) letters and shared his genuinely open mindedness about the new type look about town. Shaking the place down it is.

Actually it’s not.

It’s shaking down people’s businesses because once you commit to that casual look and your neighbour competitor opts for something more tasty, you’re going to have to renew your vows as you watch sharp style clean up the Tee shirt fashion sign identities.

Casual is a style made for temporary, low budget delivery.

It’s got no legs.

And great looking cities are built on these four pillars:

Culture – Design – Power – Strategy


Some type can look cheap as chips yet remain very tasty over time.




Above x4: Pop culture artworks exude real style. Design has to be top notch to recreate such iconics.


The role of good, genuine teachers

When faced with a weekend studio full of mixed aptitudes the application of a common denominator principle of teaching what looks like an easy typeface, falls apart by the following Tuesday afternoon for the learner, as the student ponders what did they really get from it all.

A great teacher builds principles that all students can understand and address in their own way and uses examples that clarify all stages of development. Block letters are tough but ideal for that role. No place to hide with a sans serif, it keeps it all honest.

Casual letters are really difficult to master because they are often built around weaves and loops – different to every hand and dependent on ‘The Hand’. A bad casual offers no clarity for a student to easily identify root problems and causes and thereby fix.

A block letter does show exactly where the student is weak and needs to focus – it shows them where they are strong too.


But teaching blocks and Romans is hard work. Tough going on the teacher and the student. But if it’s done in a kinetic way, showing links to both historical and dynamic contemporary contexts, it’s nothing short of mesmerising what a student can achieve.  It’s the stuff that stays with an artist forever. It’s so pure, unrivalled and clear it renders everything else pale.

That’s why it is an addiction that is good for you.

Below: My first block and script Brewery sign in 1982 for Watneys

Flemming Pub written 1981 Nick Garrett

Young master Tobias Newbigin below worked with me for a year making great letters By Eye, By Hand , By Heart.



Above: NGS Soho Bold with blended drop shade. Solid, modern and beautiful… learn it with us.

And then you can dress it. Just as Daisy Emerson does.

I remember Daisy coming into my studio in the morning and leaving a signwriter by the evening. She proved it by her own excellence and taking a job off me the next day going pro.

I took a look at that job the other day – Clarendon bold. She did good.

So if you wanna have fun – have fun. But paint the right letters… the right way and don’t get caught up in the BS.

NEON Giving Team GB an edge Brazil 2016

August 9, 2016

UK Sport Performance Pathway Team
Giving Team GB an edge

Being seen as the leading edge within UK Sport and Team GB Sports.

Long-time Neon client UK Sport is the government body responsible for strategic investment in our most talented athletes.

Kind words…

“This was a fantastic job!”

To find out more: or call +44 (0)20 3289 1733 Share this: Email,Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Download PDF

UK Sport Pathway Performance Team logo with Project Area descriptor and iconic athlete silhouettes.

UK Sport Pathway Performance Team logo with Project Area descriptors.

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UK Sport Pathway Performance Team literature and the Project Area literature suite.

Other projects you may find of interest…

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