Partnership pays off

Sign of the Times

1st January 2018

Print & Design

Sign of the Times

ONE year on from its acquisition by Astley, Kettering firm Sign of the Times is expanding in terms of its workforce, its skills set and its client base.

The new partnership between the Gateshead-based sign firm and the Telford Way Industrial Estate company was announced at the beginning of 2017, and the past 12 months has brought increased opportunities for both firms.

Darren Roughton, who founded Sign of the Times over 32 years ago, said: "The move has turned out to be a great success on both sides, with Sign of the Times having to increase our workforce by 11 in order to cope with the workload, with more appointments planned for early this year.

"An acquisition always brings a period of uncertainty when everyone has to settle in to the new arrangement, but for us it has only been about the benefits of teaming up with Astley to share experience and skills and give customers of both firms the best service.

"Geographically, we offer Astley a more southern base to work from and between both companies we share 16 fitting crews, while the wide range of equipment and skills that both bring to the table means we can handle a wider and more diverse range of contracts."

The two businesses have continued to operate under their own established brand identities but processes have been streamlined and co-ordinated.

The workforce at Sign of the Times have helped the business win prestigious awards in three consecutive years, including Overall Sign of the Year at the British Signs and Graphics Association Awards in 2014 and 2015, Craftsman of the Year 2016, and also a FESPA Gold Winner award in 2016.

Despite its reputation in this country and further afield, Sign of the Times remains a busy local company and counts many Northamptonshire firms among its valued customers, producing anything from fascia signage to vehicle graphics or full rebranding campaigns.

Investments in state-of-the-art equipment include various large-format UV printers, two Tekcel CNC routers and an S3 Zund flatbed cutter, allowing Sign of the Times to offer a comprehensive range of services to customers large and small. Further investment is planned for 2018.

Darren Roughton said: "These are exciting time, we're planning to expand even further this year, including taking on further skilled staff and introducing a comprehensive apprenticeship programme. We have people who have been in the business for many years and firmly believe that using that experience to train new people, in-house and with the Sign of the Times ethos is the way forward for the company."

For more information, contact Sign of the Times on 01536 411202 or visit the website

Sign of the Times