Arts & crafts

Signwriter

Signwriters produce signs by hand and with machines for display on shops, businesses and company vehicles.

Annual Salary

£18,000 to £25,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

42 to 44 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends;

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • discussing with your client what type of signs they want
  • preparing and laying out designs and lettering
  • measuring and calculating letter sizes and graphics
  • preparing surfaces
  • applying paint backgrounds by brush, spray or roller
  • tracing designs onto wood, metal or glass surfaces
  • hand-painting designs and lettering using special brushes, enamel paint and gold leaf
  • repainting and retouching signs on site
  • using traditional techniques and modern materials like vinyl graphics

Working environment

You could work at a client's business, in a workshop or in a creative studio.

Your working environment may be noisy, outdoors some of the time, at height and physically demanding.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly
University

You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in a subject like graphic design.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information
College

You could do an A level in art and design or graphic design, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
For more information
Apprenticeship

You could get into this job through an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship in design.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
For more information
Work

You may be able to start as a signwriter's assistant and learn on the job.

Direct application

You could apply directly to work as a signwriter. There are no set requirements, but it'll help if you've got a qualification and experience in printing, reprographics, laser cutting or graphic design.

More information

Career tips

It's important to keep a portfolio of your design work to show employers what you can do when you're looking for jobs.

You could move into work for TV, film and theatre.

You could also combine this job with signmaking.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • 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
  • the ability to work on your own
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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