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Company Address

Unit 10,
Bramley Business Centre,
Station Road,




01344 772 164


01483 894 257

QR Modern Communication and Ancient Symbols

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Old Wokingham Telephone Number

Our Crowthorne telephone number still includes 4 of the original digits which date back to the 1960’s. In those days all you needed to put was Crowthorne 2164 on your business card and unless they called in at the workshop, that was how people got hold of you.
At the point when operators no longer connected you by the exchange name and STD codes came in you would probably only be called by someone living within the same area who did not need to enter a code or they would look up the code number in the phone book. Some of the big trucks with overseas connections might also in those days have a Telex number painted on. Then came Facsimile, which we all called Fax. With the greater use of mobile technology and the fact that these were not routed through the area exchange from which you were calling, full Area Codes and 9 and then later 10 digits for each mobile also needed to be applied to vehicles. Greater use of the internet required web sites and e-mail addresses to become requisites. No wonder there seemed greater simplicity of layout and cleaner lines to those early vehicles.

The shortest telephone number in the West

Could this all change again towards simplicity? Quite possibly, because now along comes QR. (Quick Response code)

QR Code applied to Transit Conect

QR Code applied to Transit Connect

Apparently created originally by Toyota to aid logistics, these bar codes are now used in all kinds of advertising as a short cut to web pages when scanned by iPhone or similar technology with suitable apps. Interestingly the other graphics on the vehicle follow good basic rules. They say that “A picture tells a thousand words” and this is very often true, the earliest signs, from the days when much of the population were illiterate, were symbols which everyone could recognise- An anvil for the blacksmith, the pub might be Four Horseshoes, the pawnbroker- three balls.

Pawnbrokers Symbol

The logo design  on the van with the QR code incorporates a tap which immediately links to plumbing and the use of blue associates with water.

LCS Bathrooms Ltd Tansit Connect


Optician's Hanging Bracket Sign

Some of the simplest designs are the easiest to understand. The design of this hanging bracket sign for an Optician hardly requires the text to identify the business.  

Perhaps the introduction of shortcuts like these may enable a reduction of text on future vehicles, as Telex and increasingly Fax is eliminated, perhaps in the future we may not need e-mail, web address or long telephone numbers. Visibility is the the key, very often less is more.

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We All Know Mistakes Can Happen

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We all know that mistakes happen (and if they do we try to correct them immediately), probably the most common mistake in High Streets is Off License instead of Off Licence which may partly be explained by American Spell Checkers on UK computers, but how do you explain this?

Mail Van for Guildford there's lovely

I have seen this Mail van regularly in the Guildford area. Welsh language text on the rear and on one side, the usual English logo elsewhere and clearly labelled as GU86 vehicle.

Are we in Guildford?

Are we in Merthyr?

Some other common mistakes are incorrect spellings of ACCOMMODATION, PAVILION and MARSHAL. We admit to errors in names sometimes TREES instead of TRESS, MACADAM instead of Mc ADDEN and MOTH END instead of MOSS END. Sometimes people try to copy the impression of a famous logo Mc WOK or popular cartoon characters. Very rarely do you come across a deliberate fabrication. One of these can be evidenced in the hallowed corridors of one of the boarding houses at Wellington College. One enterprising person (presumably young man in those days) took up brushes and paint when my father was not around and quite competently added a name to the bottom of a column on the Honours Boards.


added to the columns D O Nald Duck

I have checked the register and there was no D. O. N. Aldduck at the college that year, however I believe that DONALD DUCK was quite a popular character at the time.

A round up of some recent jobs shows growing use of additions of work we have provided to web and facebook sites


Facebook: Stepping Stones Cookie Bar (Gallery)


http://www.theknaphillian.com/  (Zeytin)

We wish the very best to all of our customers THE BAKERY, formerly Watson Bakeries, we look forward to seeing your new website soon. Café Mila in Godalming, combined with the Yoga Studio gave us the challenge of writing on walls. Wellington College we hope all goes well hosting the Round Square Conference 2011 this coming week.




Test flag for RSC2011

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History and Queen Victoria

See our video montage http://www.throwersigns.co.uk/movie.html

It is good to see that some people are taking an interest in the content of this blog and I thank you for your comments. Today I thought I would link one or two recent jobs with a bit of history.  For those who may be interested in traditional signwriting I thought I should first attach a couple of photographs of my Dad working.

Here he is signwriting a fascia panel. I should imagine that this is early 1950’s. Of course in those days very few photographs were kept of jobs or the work in progress. We forget in these days of instant images saved to phones and digital cameras that had the premises owners not been photographers by trade that this picture would not exist. I wonder what happened to the archive of photographs taken by Ron Francis?

Allen Thrower Signwriting

Signwriting was not Allen’s first choice. He would like to have become a teacher but illness at school prevented that. He would have been an apprentice at RAE Farnborough, but he was marginally too far down the list for that year’s intake. His brother Norman was apprenticed at the signwriting firm of Giles in Wokingham, Norman’s apprenticeship was broken somewhat fortuitously by WW2 and via the Survey of India and further hard work in the US, he eventually ended up in Los Angeles as an Emeritus Professor of Cartography at U.C.L.A. (Dr Norman J.W. Thrower, with many books to his name). Allen duly followed to Giles as an apprentice and after time spent in Canada and Singapore during the war, ended up signwriting back in the UK. Anyone who knows the village of Crowthorne in Berkshire will know of its symbiotic link with three major institutions, most recently the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), which in my youth was know as TRRL or Road Research Laboratory and more historically the somewhat formidable (to strangers) Broadmoor Hospital and Wellington College.

Gilded Clock at Wellington College
Gilded Clock at Wellington College

Allen must have started signwriting Honours Boards, Signs and Vehicles at Wellington around about 1946, a task which we are proud to continue to this day. When we signwrite a name on a board we do not know what the future may hold for that individual, although some may already have made a particular contribution by that point which indicates that they will have a great future, or their name by birth may already be linked to a great household, literary, scientific, artistic or sporting icon.  

The College can be a magnet to particular individuals and when Allen wrote C. M. St. G. Potter onto the boards he knew that his father was a Master, but could not know that now (having taught at Wellington) Mr. Potter would be Secretary of the Old Wellingtonians Society (O.W.’s or as I heard recent pupils describe it “O-Dubz”) . One of the last names Allen painted onto the oak panelling of the Cricket Pavilion (Pink Pavilion) before he passed away in 1976 was R.I.H.B. Dyer which I repeated on various boards. Mr. Dyer is currently Second Master at Wellington College. Some of the names we add may be members of Royal Families, but there are few opportunities to create a list starting with Queen Victoria, followed by Prince Albert and then The Earl of Deby and other illustrious characters, such as can be seen on the Benefactors board at Wellington by the Porters Lodge.

Benefactors board with gold leaf lettering

A link with this board is the other place where I am able to create Queen Victoria’s crest at regular intervals, which is at Queen’s College in Harley Street. This is painted onto the portico several times along with the name of the College, numerals and other text. I have done this periodically in a very dark green, but this has just recently been re-done with a hint of blue as a dark teal colour.

Signwriting to Portico at Harley Street

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Every job is different and very often the same job could be created in a multitude of ways. Each job has to be tailored to suit the customers’ budget and the life expectancy. Some of our jobs stray away from strictly lettering work to more abstract decorative items. Whilst researching for some stripes required for period BMW’s recently, I came across an interesting link to some work we did in a private garden in Surrey. I stumbled across BMW ART CARS, the first of which was created by Alexander Calder. Calder was famous for creating large mobiles, the shapes of the hanging panels are reflected on this car.

 We had to decorate a “Calder”-esque sculpture for a gentleman who liked to have more than just flowers in his garden and who had a penchant for gold leaf decoration. He commissioned the sculpture, it was painted and erected, but he felt it needed an additional decorative touch that would catch the sunlight as the vanes moved in the breeze.

 Needless to say the pieces had to be disassembled to work on and as the largest sections were about 10 feet long from curve to tip, it was quite an interesting reassembly, with the wind starting to increase and the poor gardener in fear of decapitation.

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Welcome to Thrower Signs new blog

See our video montage http://www.throwersigns.co.uk/movie.html

Alf R. Becker

Inspiration from the past

Welcome to the new blog for Thrower Signs.

Shortly I will post details of current work, details of our past work and hopefully share interesting nuggets of information about signs and typography.

I grew up watching my father signwriting and reading clips from old magazines that he had saved.

I was always amused by this catchprase which appeared regularly in the American Sign Magazine “Signs of the Times” along with monthly fonts, most often brush scripts and usually supplied by A.R.B.

I always remember that Alf R. Becker says “Swing That Brush”

but somehow feel it would not have been quite as effective had the advice come from someone with a more mundane surname.

All the best,


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Entrance Signs London ~ Digitally Printer Signs London ~ Vinyl Signs London ~ Shop Window Signs London ~ Painted Signs London ~ Vehicle Graphics London ~ Window Graphics London ~ Signs London ~ Honours Boards London ~ Traditional Signwriters London

Thrower Signs
Normandy Cottage, 54 Linersh Wood Close
Bramley, Surrey
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