Signage Sam: My Signs Have Been Vandalised! What Can I Do?

Signage Sam, answering questions about signs and designs

Signage Sam: My Signs Have Been Vandalised! What Can I Do?

Signage Sam provides advice to Wendy from Brisbane, who has a problem with graffiti.

Dear Sam,

I have graphics across the front windows of my business and I have had them vandalised a few times. I haven’t been overly successful in removing the marks. I also don’t know if it’s best to remove the graffiti straight away or leave it for a while. Either way, my windows look terrible! Looking for some advice, hope you can help!

– Wendy, Brisbane


Dear Wendy,

While I am not in law enforcement I have done some research and yes, graffiti and vandalism is a crime! Make sure you report it.

I have tried in vain to understand why someone would want to deface another’s property for seemingly minimal personal gain, but still it occurs.

First of all we need to understand who is doing the graffiti. Broadly speaking graffiti is caused by children and adolescents who act this way to vent. Damaging someone’s property is an act of anger. Instead of physically damaging a person or a more threatening object, this person will vent their anger on something safer which in your case is your window graphics.

Unfortunately there are groups (gangs) who carry out this hideous pastime and generally do it for social reasons. These groups are responsible for nearly 80% of repeat graffiti, usually the gang’s ‘tag’ – defacing surfaces repeatedly with an identifiable mark unique to each vandal or gang.

Taggers are selective about the buildings they hit, older or unkempt buildings are usually prime targets so it imperative that if you are ‘hit’ you remove the graffiti as soon as possible. Quick and consistent clean up often deters vandals from returning.
If your signage is well illuminated and your graphics are clean and up to date this will send a message that there is activity in or around your building and the risk of applying a long lasting ‘tag’ is not viable as it won’t be seen for long and therefore have minimal impact.

So what products do I recommend to remove graffiti if you are hit?

Most people would initially think ‘anti-graffiti film’. It can be expensive to install and although it does provided some mechanical protection if attacked with a knife or a piece of glass, this is not overly common compared to the use of inks and markers.

Most graffiti is applied using Texta type pens so my recommendation would be to use a citrus based multi-purpose graffiti remover (Google to find a local supplier). Avoid highly toxic chemicals which are dangerous to the environment and will most likely damage your signage especially if the graffiti has been there for a while. Citrus based remover is relatively inexpensive and easy to apply –as mentioned earlier, it’s so important you clean up the graffiti as soon as possible. If you apply according to the manufacturer’s instruction the ink should come off with relative ease and send those angst ridden adolescents to some old uninhabited building far away from your shop.

All the best,


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