Design, arts and crafts
Produce Create

Career outlook for signwriter

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would hand-paint signs for historic buildings, fairgrounds, pubs, classic vehicles, boats and more. This is a traditional craft that involves learning specialised techniques that have been used for generations.

You would:

  • Lay out designs and lettering
  • Measure letter size
  • Prepare surfaces
  • Paint backgrounds by brush, spray or roller
  • Trace designs onto wood, metal or glass
  • Hand-paint designs using special brushes, enamel paint and gold leaf
  • Repaint and retouch signs on site

You would work with different materials such as wood, metal, glass, and specialised paints and varnishes.

Working conditions


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


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.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Taking initiative
  • Implementing ideas
  • Attention to detail
  • Listening
  • Observation
  • Designing
  • Creative
  • Problem solving

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


There are no formal qualifications required to enter this role but most employers value a good general education including English and maths.

Some employers may ask for qualifications at SCQF levels 4 to 6.

Design qualifications such as a National Certificate, a National Qualification course (SCQF level 5/6) or Higher National Certificate, or Higher National Diploma courses (SCQF level 7/8) in Visual Communication would be helpful.

You can enter some design National Certificate or National Qualification courses (SCQF level 5) with no formal qualifications but most

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Art and design
  • Practical technologies

You will also need

You will need a portfolio of your work when applying to courses and to jobs.

If you are installing signs on site you will need:

  • a driving licence
  • a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card

Helpful to have

 Once in a job you can gain relevant qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualifications in Signmaking (SVQ level 2/3).