Who We Are
The ISA UK powered by the BSGA (formerly the British Sign & Graphics Association) is the leading trade organisation for the Sign Industry in the United Kingdom.
The Association formally becomes ISA-UK on 1st January 2019, but our history dates back over 70 years to the 1930s when a group of leading sign makers formed the Master Sign Makers Association (MSMA) with the aim of promoting the sign industry and defending its interests against adverse legislation with a ‘Signs Defence Fund’.
It seems that even 70 years ago, town planners posed a constant threat to the sign industry:
“The treasurer had received the sum of eight guineas to date and he suggested that we send this sum together with two guineas from general funds up to headquarters as a first instalment to the Signs Defence Fund.
‘Mr Wild said that when Town Planning Schemes came up for attention by headquarters affecting our areas we should be informed of this with a view to us being able to take some personal interest in it.’”
Extract from the minutes of the Yorkshire Branch of the Master Sign Makers Association, Sept. 1938
In the 1970s, the MSMA changed its name to the British Sign Association (BSA) with the intention of becoming more inclusive and opening membership up to the ever increasing number of smaller sign making businesses.
At the start of the new millennium, in recognition of the advances in technology and the involvement of sign businesses in delivering a constantly expanding range of products and services, the association again re-branded to the British Sign and Graphics Association (BSGA).
In July 2018, the BSGA agreed an affiliate programme with the International Sign Association (ISA) based in Alexandria, Virginia, USA which came into being as the ISA-UK Powered by BSGA (ISA-UK) on 1st January 2019.
The International Sign Association is a leader in shaping and developing the sign, graphics and visual communications community worldwide. Through their strategic partnerships, ISA provides its partners and their members access to programs and services designed to grow their business. ISA bring to ISA-UK an array of expertise in codes and regulations, education and training programs, technical resources, stakeholder outreach and industry networking events.
Through this partnership, ISA-UK Members will have access to ISA’s full-spectrum of resources developed to help tackle the most pressing issues facing sign companies and our industry, including:
- Finding, training and retaining qualified and competent workers,
- Educating planners and local authorities to better understand the importance of signage to the local community and economy.
- Standing up for the sign industry when under threat from Authorities, standards and regulations
- Supplying quality research in effective sign strategies, economic forecasting, best practices and emerging trends.
The future for the UK sign and graphics industry continues to be represented by members of the sign industry community.
- To represent and support its members in the UK and overseas
- To defend the interests of members and the sign industry as a whole
- To encourage and promote the highest quality standards
- To promote members to prospective sign buyers and specifiers
The mark of a quality sign maker
All members of the Association are vetted prior to acceptance and are subject to the ISA-UK Code of Practice and Obligations of Membership which set the standards required in terms of both product quality and customer service. Breaches of these standards may result in censure and/or disqualification from membership.
Membership of the ISA-UK makes a clear statement about a sign business and anyone who has responsibility for buying signs should give serious consideration to employing the services of a ISA-UK member. In the event of any problem arising over work undertaken by a member, the ISA-UK offers a fair and effective dispute resolution service.
Use of the ISA-UK is strictly controlled and the emblem is now a registered trademark. Any misuse of the logo is treated very seriously.
Membership of the Association includes every type and size of sign business, from craftsman sign writers, through businesses that manufacture architectural and illuminated signs, to those that specialise the production of vinyl signage, vehicle liveries and digitally produced signs.
The BISA-UK also represents a number of additional sign related business sectors including sign installers, designers and specialist consultants as well as businesses that manufacture and/or distribute materials, equipment and services used by sign makers.
The Association is run by elected and volunteer members who sit on the Council and a number of specialist committees, including technical, marketing and finance. The day-to-day business of the Association is carried out by a full time Director and staff.
Join the ISA-UK
Read more about why you should join the BSGA and information about how to join.