The image of drycleaning has taken some public knocking this year, so writing about those who are creating positive images of the business is a heartening experience. In my travels, I usually notice the drycleaners I pass, and there are many who present a good looking face to the passer by, and I hope do something to redress the balance in the public’s mind.

In researching the article, I came across a selection of cleaners, some new, some established, all of whom seemed enthusiastic about the image they were creating.

These practitioners of the craft were also practical business owners. The importance of cleanliness was a recurring theme. When I spoke to John Duncan, who with wife Jackie had designed the look for the new business, Buntingford Dry Cleaners, cleanliness was the first priority – not just in the initial look, but in maintaining that look.

Indeed, although the business only opened in November 2005, he was already estimating that he would want to redecorate in around 18months time to maintain the image.

Other practicalities were high on the list, good lighting, especially over the counter area.

But the drycleaners I spoke to were also keen to create an attractive environment for the customer.

They also wanted to be distinctive, another plus point. Zia Ullah, of Clean Well in London had chosen a metallic floor rather than a wooden one, for this reason.

The people of Bridgnorth will, I am sure, remark on and remember James’ Wood’s operation for its seasonal window displays – an unusual feature for a drycleaning business.

Colin Hill of Blue Dragon gave a very detailed address on the subject of image earlier this year with a thorough account of how he had set about refreshing the image.

He had invested in bringing in specialist help, and as well as talking to me himself for the article, Colin also passed on details of the designer and shopfitter he had used.

These businesses too had a positive attitude and also brought out the many aspects to design, including the technical details and the need to comply with regulations.

Branding is an essential part of the image, and many drycleaning shops will have their brand well established. But a subtle change can do much to revitalise it without losing the essentials.

Another point my researches bought out was that equipment suppliers can also make an essential contribution to design.

While equipment will often be hidden from view, a neat installation is still essential and thought must be given to its location in the production area, so that work can proceed as efficiently as possible, for business efficiency is also part of the image.

The whole point of creating a business image is to attract and improve sales, underlining the essential message.

Good design is good business.

Janet Taylor