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Signwriters apply the lettering for various signs on windows, building contractor signboards, walls of buildings, trucks, etc.

Signwriters prepare rough sketches from specifications and plan the lettering. They measure the surface onto which the lettering is to be placed and mark the height and position of the letters in chalk to ensure correct spacing. They then paint the sign, spreading the paint evenly and making good outlines and apply a second coat of paint when the first is dry.

Signwriters are frequently called upon to place signs on shop windows. Different techniques are used to paint on glass. Gold leaf is applied for gold lettering, which is usually backed with paint. Signwriters also paint logos and simple illustrations in some cases.

Satisfying Aspects
- working independently and under little pressure
- some opportunity to be creative
- regular working hours
- sometimes challenging work

Demanding aspects
- having to work at great heights
- not much opportunity to work overtime and earn more
- often working outdoors, especially in the hot sun

A signwriter should:
- have patience;
- have artistic talent and inventiveness;
- have a good eye for colour;
- work carefully and accurately;
- have good eye-hand coordination;
- have dexterity and a steady hand for painting;
- be able to work at heights on scaffolding.

School Subjects
Grade 9 Certificate.
Some employers prefer higher qualifications.

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics
Recommended Subjects: Visual Arts

Prospective signwriters usually undergo a probation period of three months with an employer to demonstrate their aptitude for the task. Training consists of theoretical and practical work:

Theoretical training: At an FET College

Practical training: In-service training under supervision of a qualified signwriter

Duration of course: 3 years
Final examination: a compulsory trade test

- Book and magazine publishers
- Building contractors
- Commercial printing plants
- Government departments e.g. Government Printing Works
- Graphic art painters and decorators
- Manufacturers and other firms that do their own printing
- Newspaper plants
- Private signwriting businesses
- Stationery and envelope manufacturers
- Self-employment, with enough experience and capital, can start own business

Any of the above-mentioned potential employers.