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Signwriters produce hand-painted signs for places like historic buildings, fairgrounds, shops and pubs. 

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £18,000 to £25,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements, but it’ll help if you have GCSEs or equivalent in subjects like art or design and technology.

You could also specialise in signwriting after completing an A level or HNC or HND in graphic design.

Previous experience in printing, reprographics, laser cutting or engraving may give you an advantage when looking for work.

A portfolio of work would be useful.

A driving licence would also be helpful.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • excellent drawing skills
  • creative skills
  • accuracy and attention to detail
  • excellent spelling and grammar
  • IT skills
  • excellent practical skills

3. What you'll do

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

4. Salary

Starter: £18,000

Experienced: Around £25,000

You’ll usually be self-employed. Your earnings will depend on demand and your success in marketing your services.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 35 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. You may work evenings and weekends in some jobs.

You’ll be based in a workshop or studio, but may also do installation and repainting outdoors. 

You may need to work at height and do some manual lifting.

6. Career path and progression

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

You could also combine this job with signmaking.

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Last updated: 13 September 2018