Lead designer at Leeds Signage Business talks about two decades of design and community projects
A Leeds designer is preparing to celebrate his 20th anniversary at a local signage company, marking the occasion by reflecting on the start of his career, offering advice to the new workforce, discussing his favorite community projects and how the creative industry has changed in two decades.
Vinnie Sims is a 45-year-old designer with a passion for all things creative.
Based just a stone’s throw from the edge of the Peak District and the North Yorkshire Moors, lead designer of signage specialists, FASTSIGNS Leeds, has been involved in the creative industry since 1996.
Vinnie’s enrollment at Dewsbury College of Art and Design for a year-long foundation course was just the beginning of an illustrious career and love of design.
Vinnie: “I always knew I loved design and had a passion for discovering things that others might not know. But that course really ignited the possibilities of design and its impact on audiences – of all ages and backgrounds. Design can penetrate people and speak to them on a personal level, and I built on its ability to Help with storytelling.
From Dewsbury, he went to the University of Lincolnshire and Humberside to study museum and exhibition design, where he immersed himself in 3D model making and creating visuals. Three years well spent, according to Finney.
However, there is no linear career, as he explains:
“I came out of those three years to get a job at St James’s Hospital in Leeds, working as a porter. Although it may seem like a real career change, it was an opportunity for me to gain some real-life experience. I did my best I also gained some practical experience at the nearby Thackeray Museum of Medicine, which I did during my spare time between shifts.
Looking back, Vinnie believes this “sideways” move enabled him to grow and challenge himself. he added:
“Design is about taking chances – pushing your designs to the limits. So, in my mind, why doesn’t this also apply to our professional lives and how we showcase our passion and aspirations? I worked incredibly hard during that period of my life. Along with working full-time, I was I’m developing my design talent, and it’s really benefited me in the long run. In both organisations, I’ve been lucky to work with great colleagues, but one illustrator in particular, in Thackeray, has had a huge influence on me and the way I still design today.
Design, as a discipline, has evolved a lot over the past two decades, according to Finney.
“Most of what we did back then was done by eye or hand. Technology today plays an essential role in our daily operations, helping to improve our work. Today, you need to have many tools under your belt, especially to keep up with the technology that helps us now.
“Design is everywhere. Thanks to the rise of social media, digital signage, print, and traditional media channels like TV, there are many ways we can experiment with design. However, the challenges are in penetrating this crowded market and capturing the attention of customers who want Today they demand speed.
Commenting on the growth of artificial intelligence and the battle to retain creative jobs, he adds:
“A designer has to really know their craft, and know how to translate that to different audiences, on different platforms. However, I would say that the discipline is much more difficult today. However, it is much more rewarding when you do it right because there are a lot of The competition is there.
“Like everything else, AI comes into play – especially when it comes to image manipulation – things that might have taken half an hour 20 years ago can now be done in just seconds. Although it’s a great feature, I encourage designers to hone their skills and learn the basics.” , where technology is based only on what we already do.
FASTSIGNS Leeds operates in a number of markets, from retail, finance and education to hospitality and healthcare. Vinny has played a role in thousands of designs introduced to customers over the past two decades.
Speaking about a few of his favorites, Vinny said:
“The Tour de France has to be at the top of my list. To celebrate the Tour’s arrival in Leeds in 2014, we created, produced and installed cycle tracks on the ground at Leeds railway station. They looked incredibly effective and were a great way to liven up the Tour here at home It also demonstrated the role that floor signage can play – a solution we’ve heard a lot about during Covid, of course.
“We have produced drawings of vehicles of all types over the years – from helicopters to small aircraft in Australia. We also recently created and installed drawings for a boat that was due to row solo across the Atlantic.
For more information about FASTSIGNS Leeds, visit https://www.fastsigns.co.uk/leeds/.