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Sustainability and innovation driving growth as Designs Signage Solutions approaches 30-year milestone

A signage business is marking its 30-year anniversary with big increases in turnover and recruitment after placing sustainability at the heart of its strategy to defy the impact of energy costs and skills shortages.

Designs Signage Solutions impressed Managing Director Rob Daysley with a 50 per cent growth in business which has driven a 25 per cent increase in staffing levels with more to come.

But the man who launched the business in 1993 in the garage of his parents’ home said the numbers are a reward for committing to foresight and innovation.

Designs Signage 2 – Rob Daysley, left, and Alex Lee in the workshops at Designs Signage Solutions.

He said:

“We are still cautious but we are seeing more growth this year. There are a few things that have come together right, with everybody aligning. Signage has been steady and graphics has motored along but the biggest factor has been our ability to seize the opportunities that have come up.”

High profile examples of the company’s work in its home city are the signs for the  MKM Stadium and Sewell Group Craven Park. Workplace graphics are in demand from clients seeking striking designs for windows, walls and illuminated installations.

The strength of the relationship with MKM has made Designs Signage Solutions the supplier of choice at new branches across the UK. Other major nationwide clients include Kwik Fit, Go Outdoors, Eurocell Building Plastics and rapidly expanding discount retailer One Below

In dealing with the energy crisis the company is reaping the benefits of green investment which dates back more than 10 years. 

The business installed solar panels on the roof of one of its buildings in 2015. Two years before that it introduced cleaner, greener latex printing technology, having made a decision to remove all solvent printers from the business.

The first electric vehicles arrived in 2016 and 3D printing was introduced three years ago. Now the company has started to use virtual reality to show clients how their signage will look in the location they have selected, reducing the need for site visits.

Rob said: “The next step is to take stock, measure the ongoing impact and act accordingly. We led the way in committing to sustainability years ago and solar panels were the first step and now we are working to identify how to utilise the benefits of that properly.”

The challenge of skills shortages is being addressed with an extension of the strategy adopted during the pandemic to build confidence among the workforce in the face of growing uncertainty and to attract young and experienced talent.

Rob said:

“We’ve developed a bespoke alternative to the traditional apprenticeship and we have also found ways to bring back experienced people who had gone out of the industry. We recognise that recruiting and retaining the best people is about more than pay rates.”

A key appointment in the process was Alex Lee, who joined the business as marketing manager just a year ago and is now Head of Operations, having changed perceptions of the company externally and internally. 

From a team of 40 a year ago Designs Signage Solutions now has 50, with another 10 people expected to join during the next 12 months.

Rob said:

“We have worked hard to change the mentality. We share much more data with our people so they understand where we are as a business and can see the impact they are having. People have moved to us because they like who we are and how we deal with everybody.

“The next 12 months look good. We have a very strong order book, we are getting through doors and we are getting listened to. We continue to invest and we are making changes to our marketing strategy that will keep us ahead. We are being invited to pitch for more UK-wide opportunities and we are continuing to improve our carbon footprint and our production.

“We are expanding the signage department by 30 per cent to keep up with demand and we have the option to increase the space for graphics in the same way. If the growth continues there will be an additional 10 people to help us build capacity. We have everything lined up for us to really grow now.”

Alex  added:

“I am incredibly proud to be part of the Designs Signage Solutions team and witness the remarkable growth and success we have achieved. Our team’s dedication and expertise, combined with our modern forward thinking marketing strategy, have propelled us to new heights in the industry. It’s inspiring to see how our commitment to sustainability, innovative technologies like virtual reality, and our focus on building strong relationships with clients have set us apart.

“We are constantly pushing boundaries and finding new ways to exceed client expectations. As Head of Operations, I am excited to continue driving our company forward and shaping the future of Designs. Together, we will continue to thrive and make a significant impact in the signage and commercial livery industry.”

Picture details

Designs Signage 1 – Rob Daysley is marking a milestone for the business which he launched in his parent’s garage 30 years ago.

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