How to become a Signmaker

Signmakers design, paint, manufacture and install signs for displays, buildings, shopping complexes, signboards, boats, vehicles and structures.

Personal requirements of a Signmaker

  • Interest and ability in drawing and design
  • Organisational and analytical skills
  • Willing to work at heights
  • Good eyesight (may be corrected) and normal colour vision
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Aptitude for working with computers
  • Good at working with hands
  • Willing to work both indoors and outdoors

Education & Training for a Signmaker

To become a signmaker you usually have to complete an apprenticeship in Signage. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school.

Duties & Tasks of a Signmaker

Signmakers may perform the following tasks:

  • talk to clients to find out their requirements and provide digital images or miniature colour sketches if required
  • select suitable materials for signs such as adhesive vinyls, LEDs and LCDs, timber, plastic, metal or glass
  • prepare surfaces (by filling any holes, sanding and cleaning)
  • mix oil paint, enamel, plastic paint, poster colour or varnish
  • digitally design, sketch or draw letters and images with a template (pattern), paint the background (if required) and paint or print the sign
  • create two-dimensional or three-dimensional lettering using router, laser or rotary engraving, as well as graphics using computer-operated machinery
  • design custom vehicle art, wall murals, screen prints and gold-leaf work.

Working conditions for a Signmaker

Signmakers work both indoors and outdoors, and spend some time on ladders or scaffolding. They may be required to work in confined spaces or use toxic substances.

Employment Opportunities for a Signmaker

Most signmakers are self-employed. Others work for signwriting firms or industrial and commercial firms. Most jobs are in metropolitan areas. Competition for apprenticeship positions is strong. Technological changes and computer-aided production have significantly reduced the workforce.

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