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  • Suggestions for learning more

    Posted by Robert Neill on May 22, 2020 at 10:02 pm

    Good evening… strange question. I have been working away doing vinyls and graphics over the past few years, all just self taught and i feel that I do do a good job, as I get a lot of new and returning customers. This is not my full time job, it was more a hobby that has turned into like a second job, as I enjoy it more than I do my full time job, which has nothing to do with signage.

    So the question is, I feel as if I may be or may not be missing a whole lot of the proper skills as a full time sign company would have. So I would like to further my knowledge in signage and printing etc.. so what would be you guys suggestions for doing this ? I have been trying to look and see if there is like signage courses etc, but having no joy. What do you suggest ?


    Robert Neill replied 2 years, 6 months ago 5 Members · 11 Replies
  • 11 Replies
  • Robert Neill

    May 22, 2020 at 10:05 pm

    Of course an obvious one is to get a job with a signage company, but believe me I have been looking all the time with no joy.

  • David Rogers

    May 23, 2020 at 12:50 am

    Like many others sometimes I feel like I have been doing this for soooooo long yet still seek to improve my skillset.

    Find something that you have seen, admire and figure out how to do it, or a good approximation with what you have to hand.

    eg. Chunky acrylic plaques and signs with graphics on the rear. Polished edges, cleanly drilled holes and flawless vinyl application.

    Fabrication of trays and folded shapes from composite.

    Pushing yourself when a customer’s budget allows you to be extra creative…mixing finishes (Matt/gloss), printed backgrounds not just solid colour and working literally outside the box constraints of a rectangular shape.

    Work on application techniques. Streamline your installations to reduce frustration.

    Many sign companies don’t want to teach / invest skills in short term or non-employees unless they get something in return so carry on with the self taught path… most of us are! It’s about figuring stuff out and making enough to be content.

  • Kevin Mahoney

    May 23, 2020 at 6:47 am

    A pat on the back for just wanting to get better firstly. I see far too many signmakers that turn up & do the hours & whose sole motivation is to get paid. With regard to learning the correct way, I don’t think there is one.
    Techniques vary so much, different conditions, materials, working alone or with an assistant, it’s whatever works best for you. You know when you’ve done a job well & when you’ve struggled & need a different/better method for next time. Time under your belt is priceless. Every day should be a school day, I made my first paying sign job at the age of 11, I’m 51 now & if I ever get arrogant enough to say I know it all, I’ll clear out my locker & move aside for someone else. Never stop trying to get better at the daily work or try something new. You’re on the right track

  • Robert Neill

    May 23, 2020 at 9:23 am

    Thanks for the replies guys. I do feel that I do a good tidy job when I do my work, I am a tad a perfectionist, so not the quickest but it gets done right, and so far had no complaints or bad feedback from any jobs.

    So yeah i just always feel that I am probably missing out on some additional skills that you guys may all have that I don’t, but your replies has helped to put my mind at rest a bit, thanks.

    Asides from the vinyl cutting side, the printing side of things I definitely feel I could improve on that, i just put in my materiak, whatever it may be and print, but again I feel there is so much more I should be doing with regards to the settings, the colours etc

    I don’t know, maybe I am just thinking to much about it all lol. I often find i get involved with to much of a variety of things, vinyl, print, clothing, sublimation, etc.. rather than just sticking to one or two things.

  • Kevin Mahoney

    May 23, 2020 at 9:47 am

    Yep, still getting involved in new things all the time, can’t help it. Growing your business usually spreads you a bit thin, but this is the ‘time served’ bit. Perfecting your methods gives you an instruction
    manual to pass on to other people as & when you employ them. I show newbies my methods, they aren’t set in stone, they can feel free to try other methods if it speeds up or improves the job. We adapt to the conditions, hot days, cold or damp days, grabby materials all mean approaching it differently. I started out with the brushes & not long after, these new fangled ‘plotter things’ appeared, always going to be new stuff to have a go at.
    Good luck

  • Robert Neill

    May 23, 2020 at 9:50 am

    Thanks Kevin… the brushes, yeah that is going back lol

  • Phill Fenton

    May 23, 2020 at 5:41 pm

    If you haven’t read it already, Mastering layout is a great book for teaching you how to produce good layout in your signs.

    It was written years ago by a traditional signwriter but is still relevant for a modern day sign making business for the many rules it teaches you. He maintains that effective layout skills are not a natural gift but can be taught to anyone :- … 348&sr=8-1

  • Robert Neill

    May 23, 2020 at 5:58 pm

    Thanks Phill will have a look at that [emoji106]

  • Iain Pearson

    May 23, 2020 at 8:40 pm

    Hi Robert, have you a particular area of sign making you are interested in or just sign making in general ? 90% of our work these days is commercial interiors but back at the beginning we did everything from vehicles to construction signage and everything in between. 5 years ago we sat down and analysed the business because so many things were wrong. We took a different approach, we concentrated on what we enjoyed doing, and basically let the rest of it die away naturally. It has many benefits including not having to hold stock of every type of media/board/panel in the world, which helps with cash flow, saves truck loads of space and better discounts with suppliers as you are using more of certain products. Doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s worked for us.
    Where are you based ?

  • Robert Neill

    May 23, 2020 at 8:57 pm

    Based in Glasgow Iain

  • Robert Neill

    May 23, 2020 at 10:31 pm

    Sorry Iain… just read that again, yeah just sign making in general I think. I like the designing part, I am quite arty, so I do like that side of it, and then seeing the finished product.