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Engineering design


Signmakers design, make and fit signs for commercial and non-commercial use.

Annual Salary

£17,000 to £26,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

42 to 44 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends;

Day to day tasks

You could:

  • design signs using computer software
  • measure and calculate letter and logo sizes
  • make glass fibre letters from moulds
  • cut out and shape materials into letters, logos and 3D shapes
  • print out signs or designs on digital printers
  • apply paint backgrounds by brush, spray or roller
  • hand-paint lettering (in traditional signmaking)
  • bend glass into shape and fit basic electrical wiring (if making illuminated or animated signs)
  • cut sign frames from aluminium
  • install signs on site
  • deal with paperwork and administration

Working environment

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

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

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. Relevant subjects include the Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Signmaking.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
For more information

The following apprenticeship may be relevant to this role:Level 3 Signage technician 

This will usually take 2 years to complete. You'll do on-the-job training and spend time with a college or training provider.

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
For more information
Direct application

You can apply for jobs directly. It may be useful to have GCSEs, A levels or equivalent qualifications in subjects like design and technology or art and design. English, maths and ICT might also be helpful.

It will also be useful if you have experience or qualifications in CNC machining, printing or reprographics.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

  • have a full driving licence

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the International Sign Association UK for professional recognition and to make industry contacts.

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With experience, you could become a supervisor or manager.

You could specialise in different areas within the industry, working as an estimator, process planner or quality technician.

You could become self-employed, either independently or as part of a franchise.

You could join the British Sign & Graphics Association for professional recognition and to make industry contacts.

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
  • persistence and determination
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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