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The Future in Desktop Design :

Building the grassroots Virtual Graphics Firm by weaving talents across the web.


then | now | retail | sales reps | artists | sign shops | installers



Eight years ago we drew a sketch and took a few measurements and faxed or mailed rough drafts to our customers. When we partnered with another shop and were separated by a local long distance border, our phone bill quickly went through the roof. We started investigating the use of the internet to communicate and at that time Usenet was the best thing going. Most sales and designs were generated by the Seattle office and production was handled by the Gig Harbor office.

About the time we were ready to open up our own newsgroup on Usenet, the world wide web opened up with the development of mosaic and WOW! There we were smack in the middle of the communications revolution. Its fair to say that we were the first sign shop on the web, maybe not the biggest and baddest, but we were first.

then | now | retail | sales reps | artists | sign shops | installers



Today it makes no difference to us whether our designs are being generated in Auckland or Miami. Long distance phone bills are not a hinderance, neither is waiting for a colorproof. With respect to our Creative Services, the internet allows us to work within a “Virtual Corporation” unbounded by freeway traffic, parking lots and Mail Delivery systems. It also allows us low cost expansion to new communities and the ability to bring our product right into the homes and offices of our customers.

“Competition is dead…Co-evolution is in.”
Successful firms understand the new rules of survival.

Today, getting our designs out to the public involves several specialists. Where we used to be wear many hats (computer tech, artist, saleman) today we’re focusing on what it is that we bring to a “Business Ecosystem.” as individuals. We each understand where scanning, transmitting files, reading e-mail, salemanship, web browsing, photography, good design, air brushing, customer service, innovation, marketing and installation fit into the picture, but rather than compete against each other and try to be all these things to all people, we agree to work together by contributing those talents which we are most interested in perfecting.

"The end result is closer to perfection than
we could ever have achieved on our own.  With very
little money, the internet has increased our capacity
to communicate and bonded some very like minded
people from across the globe."



Division of labor allows us to focus and perfect the talents which we like best. Whether you work alone or not, each sign job can be broken down into distinct phases which always begin with sales. It is entirely possible that one person could perform all these functions…wear all these hats…most sign makers do and many driven sign makers will continue to do so. Its what keeps them from getting bored. On the other hand, its more likely that there are more folks out there who would prefer to wear just two of these hats. For example:

  • Rep / Installer: Detailers, painters, boating hobbyist, who want to add graphics to their list of marine services. Perhaps a recreational boater who needs a write off for a digital camera and enjoys boat lettering.
  • Artist / Retail: Lettering talent without sign cutter who works in high traffic area and can email from work.
  • Sign Shop / Retail: Sign Shops that sell vinyl out the door can now offer a more customized service to boating customers.
  • Artist / Installer: The lettering artist who just likes making sure his materpieces go up straight.
  • Rep: This person is adding graphics to his current product line which he sells around the waterfront, (ie. ad sales or window tinting/washing) but he isn’t interested in installation.


    Regardless of how you are involved, you need to work within a flat fee structure that is competitive based not only on price but uncompromised given the level of customer service.

  • Sales are run through your own private label website and easily tracked.
  • Design is flatrate and hourly over the minimum.
  • Sign Production is flat rate based on average shop time plus the cost of material.
  • Installation is flat rate.

    Cost = Sales + Design + Production + Shipping* + Installation*

    *Where shipping and installation are optional. A customer may pick up and install without help.

    then | now | retail | sales reps | artists | sign shops | installers


    Retail outlets like ship’s chandleries, and boating supply stores aren’t the only place where Marine Graphics are sold. Marina offices, harbormasters, yacht brokerages – literally any place where boaters can stop in and look at a monitor, pick up a package, etc.

    We have promotional material and counter displays available as part of our sales kit. For more information on how you can take advantage of our website to add not only boat lettering, but Creative Services to your existing product line, please contact us directly by sending email to

    then | now | retail | sales reps | artists | sign shops | installers

    Sales Reps

    If you enjoy people and really like your product, you can sell anything. A Marine Graphics rep is most likely someone who frequents the waterfront, knows a lot of boaters, perhaps even a boater herself and likes surfing the web. You envision yourself as pretty handy with a new digital camera. You are the inertia that keeps this thing in orbit.

    Read more on how you can add this business to your “list of things to do around the waterfront’ contact us directly with your questions and comments by sending email to

    then | now | retail | sales reps | artists | sign shops | installers

    Lettering Artists

    Graphics are king. A good sign sells itself and therefore in this business Lettering Artists provide the most important piece to our puzzle. Getting slammed with orders no longer means we have to be put out three weeks if we have a bank of artists to call on. If you’ve got what it takes – we’d like to work with you!

    For more on how you can work through our Creative Services team from your home, shop or studio, please email a sample of your work in exchange for the password to an application. which will detail the job specifications, requirements and compensation.

    then | now | retail | sales reps | artists | sign shops | installers

    Sign Shops

    Sign Shops are the hub of the Marine Graphics wheel. We envision a shop near every marina working with local boat yards and brokers to personally service the local customers. They cut vinyl, lay it out, airbrush on it, etc. and like all the other members of this network, are comfortable on the internet.

    For more on how you can work through our website to take advantage of our Creative and Web Hosting Services and more effectively market towards the boating community in your area see What’s in it for me? Please contact us directly with your questions by sending email to

    then | now | retail | sales reps | artists | sign shops | installers


    Although many do, most sign shops don’t have the experience on boats we’d like to see around the marinas. Installers are experts at what they do. They also know how to tie off a cleat, remove an old name and prep the surface for the new graphics. That means polishing and detail work. They’ve got the high speed orbital buffers and sanders and a maybe even a skiff. They specialize in getting the job done right the first time – they know all the tricks to keeping vinyl smooth and flat, free from bubbles.

    For more on how an installer can work through this website send email to Tell us where you’re from. Show us some of your work.

    then | now | retail | sales reps | artists | sign shops | installers

    “A boat name is sometimes a very personal thing
    and Marine Graphics customers really care what
    their boat looks like. Our Internet service offers
    yet another way for them to SEE the possibilities,
    from their own homes! Enjoy!

    – John Marston

    then | now | lettering artists | installers | sales reps | retail | sign shops

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    (253) 468-2117
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