Signmakers design, make and fit signs for commercial and non-commercial use.
Salary range: £16,000 to £25,000
How to become a signmaker
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- applying directly
You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. Relevant subjects include the Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Signmaking.
You’ll usually need:
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
You may be able to start by doing an intermediate apprenticeship in signmaking.
This will usually take 1 year to complete. You’ll do on-the-job training and spend time with a college or training provider.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
You can apply for jobs directly. It may be useful to have GCSEs, A levels or equivalent qualifications in subjects like design and technology or art and design. English, maths and ICT might also be helpful.
It will also be useful if you have experience or qualifications in CNC machining, printing or reprographics.
Professional and industry bodies
You could join the International Sign Association UK for professional recognition and to make industry contacts.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- design skills and knowledge
- knowledge of engineering science and technology
- the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- analytical thinking skills
- persistence and determination
- the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
- thinking and reasoning skills
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
- have a full driving licence
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties could include:
- designing signs using computer software
- measuring and calculating letter and logo sizes
- making glass fibre letters from moulds
- cutting out and shaping materials into letters, logos and 3D shapes
- printing out signs or designs on digital printers
- applying paint backgrounds by brush, spray or roller
- hand-painting lettering (in traditional signmaking)
- bending glass into shape and fitting basic electrical wiring (if making illuminated or animated signs)
- cutting sign frames from aluminium
- installing signs on site
- dealing with paperwork and administration
You could work at a client’s business, in a workshop or in a creative studio.
Your working environment may be at height, outdoors some of the time, noisy, physically demanding and dusty.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could become a supervisor or manager.
You could specialise in different areas within the industry, working as an estimator, process planner or quality technician.
You could become self-employed, either independently or as part of a franchise.