How to become a Signmaker


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

Personal requirements for 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. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

Duties & Tasks of a Signmaker


  • 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.


  • Making and erecting three dimensional signs
  • May erect and work on scaffolding
  • Conferring with clients and responding to proposals, sketches and written instructions to determine composition of signs
  • May install signs on-site
  • Painting signs and lettering using lacquers, varnishes, paints and other materials
  • Painting signs on brick, metal, timber, glass, plastic and other surfaces
  • Designing and creating signs by measuring and calculating letter size, preparing the surface, applying background paint using brushes, sprays and rollers, and creating the letters using brushes, stencils, enamel paint and decals
  • Preparing cost estimates for labour and materials
  • Designing and creating signs and graphics using computer software and signmaking machines
  • Designing and creating wall murals, screen prints, gold leaf work and custom vehicle art

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.



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

  • Average age
    Average age
    41 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    12% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    44 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Medium skill
  • Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    82% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    4,300 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 0.9%
    NSW: 28.7%
    NT: 0.8%
    QLD: 23.1%
    SA: 6.6%
    TAS: 2.2%
    VIC: 27.2%
    WA: 10.4%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 3.8%
    20-24: 9.9%
    25-34: 21.8%
    35-44: 22.8%
    45-54: 21.3%
    55-59: 9.5%
    60-64: 6.3%
    65 and Over: 4.5%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 6.6%
    Bachelor degree: 4%
    Certificate III/IV: 54.1%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 0.7%
    Year 10 and below: 12.3%
    Year 11: 5.5%
    Year 12: 16.8%
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