In our fast-paced and competitive industry, it’s often the people behind the scenes who make all the difference. At FASTSIGNS Leeds, we’ve been lucky to have built a team filled with passionate, creative and dedicated people. They’re the reason we stand out; our positive team culture feeds into everything else we do and is a huge part of why we’re a go-to company for signage solutions in Leeds.
Today, we’re honouring our team as we celebrate two incredible milestones. This year our Designer Jonny Taylor celebrates a decade with us, and Vinny Symes, our Lead Designer, celebrates an impressive 20 years with the team. We chatted to them both to find out what makes FASTSIGNS Leeds so special…
What drew you to FASTSIGNS Leeds initially?
Vinny: I was really drawn by the scope of the work, the different customers and different industries that FASTSIGNS work with. The team had a really good vibe too - it felt like a team as opposed to a group of people who work together.
Jonny: I was relocating from Scotland to Leeds in 2013 and came for an interview at FASTSIGNS Leeds and the vibe just felt right. I liked the way they did things compared to previous sign companies I had worked for. I knew this is where I wanted to work.
What do you think sets FASTSIGNS Leeds apart in terms of team culture?
Vinny: Well, I could reel off a list of reasons, and I will do shortly, but the massive elephant in the room is strong leadership. Chris and Andy’s ethics and values are intrinsically woven into the business. They lead from the front and never expect anything of you that they wouldn’t be prepared to do themselves. They are forward thinking, invest time and money in personal development, are approachable, dependable, and listen to their team. They make you feel as though you are the business, not working for the business.
Jonny: I think it definitely comes from the top down. Chris and Andy are extremely fair and generous to work for. Anything, whether it’s in work or your personal life, they will do their best to help you as much as they can. Everyone understands and knows their roles well which makes things run smoothly. It’s great to be somewhere where you don’t dread coming into work!
Vinny, Lead Designer at FASTSIGNS Leeds
Can you tell us about a local project that has stood out or been the most exciting for you?
Vinny: We have worked with Trinity Shopping Centre in Leeds from the day they opened 10 years ago. Always looking to do new and interesting things, I can think of so many projects we have worked on with them. Covering their large logo, which looks down on the city, in the Pride colours was pretty cool.
Jonny: I think Trinity shopping centre would be up there. We’ve done all sorts for them and there are always new and interesting designs and ideas. We’ve installed some screens there too, so I’ve started learning about digital content creation.
How do you collaborate with your colleagues to bring creative projects to life?
Vinny: Because we have such high levels of staff retention, there is literally over 100 years of signage knowledge and experience within the team at FASTSIGNS Leeds. And I get to tap into that for free! Costings, design, manufacture, installation - we are able to utilise all that knowledge to really maximise both the service and the product for the customer. That doesn’t mean we are a closed book though. Working closely with our trade partners and with the FASTSIGNS franchise, we are constantly looking at ways we can grow, improve, and innovate.
Jonny: I think because we have all been together for so long we know each other's strengths, it makes tricky projects so much easier to handle. We have regular meetings where everyone brings their own ideas, allowing us to find the best solutions.
What do you like best about working with local businesses in Leeds?
Vinny: Leeds is a vibrant, inclusive and culturally diverse city. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been here or what brought you to the city, there is a tangible sense of civic pride instilled in us all. The Universities, colleges and similar places of higher education ensure young, talented people are constantly being drawn to the city. Business in Leeds reflects all of that. Being around for as long as we have, we have a shared history with a lot of our customers and we get to see their businesses grow and flourish as we have. You get to build relationships, trust and friendships.
Jonny: I think being able to see our finished products in the flesh regularly is nice. My partner soon gets bored when I’m pointing out things I’ve done while walking around town though!
How would you describe the culture at FASTSIGNS Leeds in three words, and why?
Vinny: Family – Yes, that sounds cheesy, but it’s true. You spend so much time with colleagues that they get to see the best and worst of you, and everything in-between. There is always someone to give advice, to lend a sympathetic ear or to share in your successes.
Respectful - I feel there is a real appreciation that we may not always share the same opinions, we all come from different backgrounds and have different views and that is healthy. We can be professional, we can listen and we can be respectful with each other.
Inclusive - Yes, once you come to FASTSIGNS Leeds you never leave! But it’s great when new members join the team and bring another dimension, a new way of looking at things. Working with the FASTSIGNS community in the UK and globally and some extremely talented trade partners means we are constantly looking outwards.
Jonny: Team - We have all worked together for so long that there is a great team ethic. We spend so much time together, so I think that’s important. We all know each other very well so can discuss work projects or go out for a beer together!
Innovative - It is innovative as the team is constantly looking for new and creative ways to create the best sign solutions.
Supportive - I think every member of the team tries to make the other’s life a bit easier. Speaking from personal experience I know Andy and Chris do.
Jonny, Designer at FASTSIGNS Leeds
What advice would you give to a graphic designer interested in getting into the signage industry?
Vinny: I would say go for it, it’s a fantastic job! If you have the enthusiasm, willingness to learn and a real interest in design then everything else will take care of itself.
Jonny: Never be scared to put your own spin on things or try new ideas. Never take design rejection personally; everyone has different taste! But please don’t use Comic Sans.
What’s your favourite thing about Leeds and Yorkshire?
Vinny: Yorkshire’s the best place in the world, isn’t it? Well, I assume it is, I’ve never had reason to leave.
Jonny: FASTSIGNS Leeds obviously! Yorkshire has become my adopted home and it’s where my daughter was born, so yeah, it’s quite a special little place to me.
Are either of you doing anything special to celebrate your work anniversary?
Vinny: Both Jonny and myself are fond of a curry so if you’re lucky you might come across us in one of Yorkshire’s many fantastic curry houses raising a glass and tucking in.
Jonny: Nothing really, probably just give myself a little pat on the back and enjoy a beer.
Our commitment to the best signage solutions
We’re so proud of the team culture at FASTSIGNS Leeds. Our team’s creativity, dedication and innovative spirit shine through in every project, ensuring we not only meet our client’s expectations – we exceed them. Together, we’ve tackled challenges, celebrated successes and built some great lasting relationships with local businesses.
When you choose FASTSIGNS Leeds, you know you’re choosing a team that is collectively committed to delivering the very best. With over 100 years of expertise between us, we’re confident that we can meet your signage needs with creativity and precision, every time.