Signwriters produce hand-painted signs for places such as historic buildings, fairgrounds and shops.

What does a signwriter do?

This role involves creating signs for a variety of places, such as pubs, and may also involve working on vehicles and boats. Signwriters would typically:

  • meet with clients to discuss what type of signs they want
  • prepare and lay out designs and lettering
  • measure and calculate letter sizes and graphics for the work area
  • prepare surfaces
  • apply paint backgrounds by brush, spray or roller
  • trace designs onto the wood, metal or glass surfaces
  • hand-paint designs and lettering using special brushes, enamel paint and gold leaf
  • repaint and retouch signs on site

This role involves using traditional techniques and materials, including wood, metal and glass, and specialised paints and varnishes, as well as modern materials such as vinyl graphics.

What do I need to do to become a signwriter?

To do this job, you'll need good drawing skills, and excellent spelling and grammar. You will also need to know a range of lettering and design styles.

You don't need any specific qualifications to get into this job, though you may have an advantage if you have a qualification in a subject such as art and design, design and technology, or graphic design. You could also specialise in signwriting after completing an A level or HNC/HND in graphic design.

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

Related skills

  • Attention to detail
  • Creativity
  • IT
  • Literacy

Academic route

  • GCSEs or similar qualifications in subjects such as art or design and technology
  • A level or HNC/HND in graphic design

Related subjects

  • Art
  • Design technology

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

You would be based in a workshop or studio, but may also do installation and repainting outdoors. Your work may involve some manual lifting and working at heights. You would travel from job to job, so a driving licence may be required.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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