A working community

by Simon McClelland Morris
Customer service, Large format, Inspiration, Sales

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. We have missed you.

When you think of community, you probably don’t think of your printer as being part of it.

But we’re all a part of more communities than we think. It’s not just the group of people nearest to where we live, our neighbours. We’re part of a community of friends, a community of local services, and yes, even a community of suppliers.

It’s obvious that the current COVID-19 situation has shaken us all up. It’s succeeded in separating people both physically and mentally. Families, friends and whole communities have been closed from each other. That also means work colleagues and people you interact with, seemingly unknowingly most of the time, every day in your working lives. Think about the person in the sandwich shop, the train station, the newsagent, the cleaners, everyone. Maybe pre-pandemic lockdown you didn’t notice these relationships so much. Post lockdown, and with the return to work, these relationships will take on a different perspective. We all have a part to play in rebuilding our lives and the communities we interact with meaningfully.

Within The Graphical Tree we have our own community. For example, there is a staffing community, a client community, there’s a community of local businesses we use and help support and our own supplier community. We recognise we’re all connected, and all contribute to, hopefully, the smooth running and enhancement of each of our lives.

At one time, shops and public houses were the centres of a community, offering a service and a place to chat with your neighbours. Even today certain shops are still important cogs in a community, whether they're recognised or not. The recently closed Wardour News, who had been a mecca for magazine buyers for 34 years, was a hugely understated, and possibly, by and large, an unappreciated contributor to the Soho community. The shop supported the fashion industry with a vast array of magazines, and inspiration, and as a vehicle for its burgeoning fashion press for over three decades until its decision to close. You can read more the reaction to its closure from the fashion community here http://www.vogue.co.uk/article/wardour-news-magazine-shop-soho-closing

North at Somerset House

North at Somerset House

Back to us then...

Starting with our in-house community. It would be very easy to view staff as commodities, we all know companies that do. But we don’t, we like to think we treat staff as people, as individuals who we support, as part of our community. We’ve only had a small handful of folk leave over the past 13 years, which is a testimony to the fact. We’re also happy to give staff a voice, we don’t micro-manage, and it allows personality to come through. This openness fosters a friendly environment where clients are welcome, studio interaction is constant, and people are naturally focused on wanting to do a good job, for themselves and their community.

It’s the same with our suppliers. If we don’t foster good community spirit with them as well, how can they adequately support us? We’ve used some of them for years, from the beginning even, so they’re more than just associates, they care about our business and help to support it. By talking to our suppliers regularly we’re updated with the latest products, materials, trends etc, and they pull out all the stops to get a last-minute order over if an urgent job lands on in our inbox. Yes, that’s what a supplier should be doing, shouldn’t they? But you’ll be surprised how many don’t. Having a welcoming environment, making time for a tea or coffee rather than thinking you can't because of pressing deadlines doesn’t foster the space for growth and inspiration. There are always pressing deadlines, and there’s always time to learn.

And what can we do for you?

Well, how do you feel when you call, email or pop in to see us? Hopefully relaxed in the opinion that you’re talking to helpful, friendly, knowledgeable people who have your best interests at heart.

Try us; ask questions, ask for advice, ask for support. A community thrives on support, and on trust. Trust can lead to a delegation of work. Which should lead to less stress.

Ask us about what materials to use for free-standing outdoor signage; ask us about our environmental policy and product offerings: whether to use an off-the-shelf product or bespoke build for an exhibition stand; what the most safety-conscious seal to use for heavy footfall floor graphics; heck, you can even ask us to work all night producing a last-minute urgent job for your own favourite client if you really really need to – we'll always do our best to accommodate if we can.

So let’s have a conversation, give us a brief, book in a job, trust us to do the rest. You can find us here.

We are part of your community, after all.

Dumbo, Brooklyn NYC

Dumbo, Brooklyn NYC