Sign is among the best

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Manager Rob Singleton, of Singleton Signs Ltd, among the many awards the company has won throughout the years, the latest being a bronze medal for a multi-layered suspended reception sign, with a frosted crystal background, for Holiday Inn in Queenstown, at this year's New Zealand Sign and Display Awards. Photo: Janette Gellatly

ADDING to the impressive and extensive wall of awards at Singleton Signs is another bronze medal from this year’s New Zealand Sign and Display Awards.

This time the award was for a 3-D, multi-layered suspended reception sign, with a frosted crystal background, which was designed and made for Holiday Inn in Queenstown by Rob Singleton.

Inspired by a sign he had seen overseas made of wood, the Holiday Inn reception sign was his concept, he said, layering it more to give it more depth and creating it from perspex, with a frosted crystal background for more visual effect.

Mr Singleton said his company focused on diversity and innovation, and took on work from a “wee letterbox sign to a $100,000 job”.

“We are lucky that we work in a trade where we can express our creativeness… and although part of the process is consulting with our clients, we get a better result when a client lets us run with our ideas and creativity.”

His impressive, extensive wall of awards is testament to that philosophy and the diversity of his work.

“Whenever we put one in (award submission) we seem to do all right.”

Scattered among them are awards for glasswork, illustrations and murals, sign-written vehicles, various signs and work by apprentices.

All the awards had challenges, as “the bar was pretty high”, he said.

Singleton Signs Ltd’s multi-layered suspended reception sign for Holiday Inn in Queenstown. Photo: Supplied

Of particular pride for Mr Singleton was the 2016 gold medal for restoring the Limehills Roll of Honour, which had special significance for him as his father had originally created the roll.

“It was special because I was recreating a sign my father had done in the 1950s with traditional handcrafted and lettered signs.”

Two years ago came another significant award – a bronze medal for Lakers House of Travel.

“I was super-rapt as the price of the other work that was submitted in our category was half a million dollars,” he said, adding “it’s not the value of the work which is judged, but the quality of the work”.

Although he is the third generation of his family in the Southland owned-and-operated business, there were a few breaks in the lineage when the business was sold to other people, before being purchased again by the family, he said.

His grandfather started the business about 1928 after emigrating to New Zealand.

He had been a graphic artist in Australia, and retrained as a signwriter and set up the business in Invercargill. Active in the community, his grandfather was also involved in table tennis, boxing and basketball and the promotion of these sports.

During the 1940s his father trained under his grandfather, but the business was sold to another party in the late 1940s.

His father took the business on again in the 1950s, training apprentices. But, because of his early death, the business was sold again in the late 1980s before Rob purchased it in 1990.

Ink is obviously in his blood.

He says he “loves it with a passion”, so much that working at the weekends is no different to him than working throughout the week.

“Although I work the standard five days, I still come to work on Saturday and Sunday.”

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