my invisible text
Categories
  • TIMELINE

What sort of sign background do you have?

<<
User avatar

3 Star Contributor

Posts: 251

Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2008 5:10 am





Post Fri Mar 28, 2008 7:18 am

What sort of sign background do you have?

I'm curious about how everybody got into this business. I started out wanting to paint window splash, people kept asking me if I could paint signs, I found out I was had no idea what I was doing and got into a 2 year sign graphics program that covered many techniques from traditional hand lettering through vinyl and digital. I love painting, and window splash, wall and painting of MDO plywood signs makes up the bulk of my business. I can't see your website as I'm not yet a member but perhaps you have access to mine, I don't know.
Did you go to school for this, do an apprenticeship, or self-taught? Do you specialize in a certain type of sign or have a type you particularly enjoy? (?) :)
<<

Glenn Sharp

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 1995

Joined: Mon May 19, 2003 1:08 pm





Post Fri Mar 28, 2008 9:10 am

Hi Kimberley,

I started in the Studio of a nameplate manufacturer. The studio was managed by and old fella who wasn't willing to move with the times, so we were drawing nameplates by hand with fountain pen and ink for the borders & laying down letraset for all the text. It was all done with a reprographic camera and a hand operated step & repeat machine back in those days.

I had a couple of years in the screen printing department their which gave me the chance to get in the door of the sign company I have now worked for, for the the past 20 years

I'm not nearly as hands on as I would like these days as far as the manufacturing side goes and it is something I really miss.
<<

Graeme Harrold

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 2782

Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 9:44 am





Post Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:27 am

Ive been a mechanical engineer in the Army for the past 20 years (only 2 years to go and nothing off for good behavior!!!). A couple of the units I have served with have had some top of the range CNC machining tools which I played about with as an interest factor. However one of the places had an engraving machine sat in the corner for making perspex range safety templates. Again i just played around with the machine. Since then Ive completed an HNC in mechanical engineering which included quite a bit of CAD work.

My engraving business is now in its 3rd year, and I have drifted into vinyl signs through an increasing number of requests for them. The sign specifics have been learned through a combination of trial and error plus a lot of help from this amazing community.
<<

Dave Bruce

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 1696

Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2003 11:11 pm





Post Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:56 am

Hi Kimberley, it is always interesting to see where folk have come from before they started in signs.

Was a fish farmer before, growing mussels, due to health problems had to sell that went into insurance sales (through looking for a policy to cover a self employed fish farmer), it wasn't really me so kept an eye out for something interesting to do, two years later go a job as production manager for a sign company. Had 1hour of tuition before the previous guy left, then it was learn it double quick time! Did that for 18 months then left a started my own sign studio, which gave me time to find uksignboards and then I realised how much I didn't know (and the previous employer)

Four years on still going and learning.

Cheers

Dave
<<

Chris Gusman

User avatar

1 Star Contributor

Posts: 43

Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2007 9:02 pm





Post Fri Mar 28, 2008 12:00 pm

What sort of sign background do you have?

Hi Kimberley, i started working with a local sign-writer before leaving school as i had an interest in typeface and logo design. Went on to do a 4year apprenticeship with him, then worked for him for 5-6years after that working on vehicles, signs, banners and posters. By working and learning from a proper sign-writer you learn how a letter is constructed by brush, kerning by eye as you apply, and the fundamentals of layout and eye appeal, all essential skills of the trade. I used to love lettering by brush, and still do but, sadly don't get asked to do it much anymore.

I continued reading, studying layout and experimenting with design all through and still do. I then went on to do an HND and a Degree in Graphic Design. I love to work on anything that challenges my design skills and lets me get hands on.

The first job i ever did was a stock car boot lid when i was 12years old using Airfix paints and brushes still got a pic of it somewhere, got the design and typography bug then and has never diminished.

Bloody hell, i really need to get another hobby! :lol1:
<<

Neil Herbert

2 Star Contributor

Posts: 126

Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2007 8:09 pm





Post Fri Mar 28, 2008 12:34 pm

Hi Kimberly, My partner (Neil Herbert) has a builders yard in Dagenham and on the side, had a CNC router and a 610 vinyl cutter. After moving from Dagnham to the Isle of Wight, Neil brought his little cutter over and did a few things for local pubs etc... I (Damon Larter) was 15 and started dating his daughter. I helped out with a few bits and pieces but didn't no what I wanted to do with my life but picked up the software and machinery quiet well and most importantly enjoyed it. So here we are today (now almost 22) in a small workshop with a Value Jet and Summa Cutter. No longer with his daughter but I got a business out of it lol!!!
<<
User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 8054

Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2003 1:22 am





Post Fri Mar 28, 2008 1:27 pm

The first thing I ever painted was a Christmas window splash when I was in 11th grade. I won $100 as a prize. That's what got me started.
I did go to art school after high school but dropped out to get married.
I fumbled along for many years untutored and self-taught, until I found out about the Letterheads in 1993.
That's when I got the Mike Stevens layout book and I realized everything I'd done for the past 10 years was rubbish!
I am a sign writer because I could never make any money with window splashes.
:wink:
Love....Jill
<<

Chris Gusman

User avatar

1 Star Contributor

Posts: 43

Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2007 9:02 pm





Post Fri Mar 28, 2008 2:15 pm

So true about Mike Steven's Layout Book Jill, after reading that i felt the same.

Do you remember reading about balancing space around a design or text for the first time, then putting into practice at the first opportunity, what a difference that made, having a sensitivity about breathing space. The guy i served my time with used to tell me how important it was but it really hit home after reading that book.

Chris
<<

Hugh Potter

User avatar

Premium Member
Premium Member

Posts: 8507

Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2005 10:43 am

Country: United Kingdom (uk)




Post Fri Mar 28, 2008 3:03 pm

i have mike stevens book here, not read it yet though :oops:

I've done allsorts over the years, electronic engineer (apprentice), van / lorry / truck driving, builders yard (from tea boy to yard manager), managing an aquatic centre. prior to deciding signs was the way to go, i was a hydro-mechanical-electro engineer (i repaired hi-tec to low tec coffee / snack vending machines!).

bought a cutter in 95 i think, to make my own decals for my drag car, pals cars, and to sell at the track (i bought and sold mopar race parts). kinda moved on from there really, following a redundancy and a few months looking for profitable employment, i decided to self employed.

pretty much self taught, though this lot here have been just a little shy of exceptional with help when i need it. it's nice now to be able to put something back in these days, and help where i can.

Hugh
<<
User avatar

3 Star Contributor

Posts: 251

Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2008 5:10 am





Post Fri Mar 28, 2008 6:31 pm

What wonderful, interesting responses. Thank you! :D So many roads leading to this place. Prior to the sign business, I was a brassiere fitter in a department store, a bass & guitar player and vocalist in several bands, worked in a photo stock house/sound stage in Hollywood, did more temporary work through agencies than I care to remember during a few stretches of unemployment and I currently have an office job (database kind of stuff) in the shipping/receiving dept of a print shop that prints mostly movie posters, bus sides, wide board bulletins etc in addition to my fledgling sign business.
<<

Phill Fenton

User avatar

Premium Member
Premium Member

Posts: 11094

Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2002 11:04 pm





Post Fri Mar 28, 2008 7:18 pm

I took voluntary redundancy from my Job as a Technical Manager in a large brewing company 12 years ago. I used my redundancy money to invest in a small business and came across computer aided sign making as a viable opportunity for me. Myself and my wife Alison took a night class at Telford College in Edinburgh to learn some of the principles of sign design and layout. Later Alison went on and did a year of day release study at the college sign department. The rest we all learned and made up as we went along. Mike Stevens's book was "drummed" into me from the very beginning by the college lecturer.

By the way - How did you get a job as a Brasserie fitter - cos I'd like to try that job :oops:
<<

Duncan Wilkie

User avatar

L-Gold Member
L-Gold Member

Posts: 744

Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2002 5:37 am





Post Fri Mar 28, 2008 7:31 pm

I did my first signs for pay when i was in High School.
When I graduated, I attended a one year Commercial Signwriting course in Edmonton Alberta Canada. That was in 1973. I've never done anything else but signs. We have an architectural signage company now, but I still get to play in the paint and build stuff the traditional ways too.
<<

Phill Fenton

User avatar

Premium Member
Premium Member

Posts: 11094

Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2002 11:04 pm





Post Fri Mar 28, 2008 7:37 pm

Phill wrote:I took voluntary redundancy from my Job as a Technical Manager in a large brewing company 12 years ago. I used my redundancy money to invest in a small business and came across computer aided sign making as a viable opportunity for me. Myself and my wife Alison took a night class at Telford College in Edinburgh to learn some of the principles of sign design and layout. Later Alison went on and did a year of day release study at the college sign department. The rest we all learned and made up as we went along. Mike Stevens's book was "drummed" into me from the very beginning by the college lecturer.

By the way - How did you get a job as a brassiere fitter - cos I'd like to try that job :oops:
<<

Lynn Normington

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 6244

Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2005 11:19 pm





Post Fri Mar 28, 2008 7:44 pm

we got into it by default really, we used to do specialised car transport, tried to get some signs for our truck, did what most people do yellow pages in those day's, out of all the ones I phoned only one person came back to me :roll: I'd done graphic design at college many years ago, Peter had always had a computer thing, and the transport was mostly in Europe so Peter was away most of the time. Decided to try the computerized sign making, bought the kit got a small amount of training and off we went. And the rest as they say is history the only regret I have is that we didn't know about this place when we started, with selfless people so willing to share their knowledge. :D


Lynn
<<

Lynn Normington

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 6244

Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2005 11:19 pm





Post Fri Mar 28, 2008 7:46 pm

a p.s. to the above we both took to it like ducks in water and still love it :D it's the best job in the world


Lynn
<<

Lee Ballard

User avatar

L-Gold Member
L-Gold Member

Posts: 468

Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2005 2:10 pm





Post Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:56 pm

Prior to coming in to this most of my employment history was in transport, both driving, UK and Europe, and management.

Prior to transport I worked in label making (flexo) and Screen print companies.

I love this job though a bit more work would always be good :D
<<

John Childs

User avatar

Premium Member
Premium Member

Posts: 6591

Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2002 11:19 pm





Post Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:03 pm

After nineteen years in the motor trade I was looking for a change of career. A friend was having trouble getting the local sign man to do his van, so I thought he could do with a bit of competition. Another twenty years on and I'm still doing it.
<<

Brian Maher

User avatar

L-Gold Member
L-Gold Member

Posts: 344

Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2004 8:41 pm





Post Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:24 pm

:lol1: i started earning money for my art in primary school,
the Irish Press ran a weekly art competition for school kids, ( Blaithin, the irish members might recall)
you were given a theme each week and 20 winners got a postal order worth a pound. :lol1: big money to an 8 year old ... and get your name in the paper, on average i was lucky enough to win 3 weeks out of 4.

stuck with it through school and did sale posters and window splashes by hand for pocket money,
then worked in crazy prices store as a signwriter doing the cartoons/graphics and pricing posters, trained a few people for other stores then in 1997 myself and my mate Graham packed in our jobs to start out officially as we are today...
its been tough but fun....
<<

Lynn Normington

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 6244

Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2005 11:19 pm





Post Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:27 pm

correx

Brian guess what my supplier didn't get back to me sorry :roll:


Lynn
<<

Brian Maher

User avatar

L-Gold Member
L-Gold Member

Posts: 344

Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2004 8:41 pm





Post Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:32 pm

:lol1: no worries Lynn..
<<

Lynn Normington

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 6244

Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2005 11:19 pm





Post Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:05 pm

didn't mean to hi - jack sorry :(


Lynn
<<

Andrew Boyle

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 1862

Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2005 8:43 pm





Post Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:11 pm

9 schools growing up.........traveling after leaving school.......graphics at college........designed and sold my own clocks :-? aircraft despatcher/load control LGW and GLA .......signs for the last 17 years :-? :D
<<

Graeme Harrold

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 2782

Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 9:44 am





Post Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:15 pm

Some quite interesting reading on here, its a nice insight to what is the driving influence behind the trade..........
<<

Lynn Normington

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 6244

Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2005 11:19 pm





Post Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:18 pm

I suppose the sticking factor is enjoyment :D


Lynn
<<

Marcella Ross

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 8678

Joined: Mon Jul 22, 2002 10:04 am





Post Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:18 pm

Andrew Boyle wrote:.designed and sold my own clocks :-? aircraft


too much time on your hands Andy ................. :wink:

me ....... erm ....... began as a credit controller got bored moved onto being a police officer, pensioned off with a back injury after a car accident and got into this after that. Messed about for a long time learning the basics (still learning the basics :oops: ) and still here plugging away approx 15 years or so on.
Spent part of that time with Mr Gusman who posted just above me ....... we worked together for about 3 years or so (is that right Chris?) I taught him how to switch on a pc which back then was alien to him (about 10/11 years ago) and he taught me a bit about layout, which was alien to me!:lol1: He also tried to teach me how to do brushwork but I was too scared and left him to do that ...... :D
<<

Chris Gusman

User avatar

1 Star Contributor

Posts: 43

Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2007 9:02 pm





Post Sat Mar 29, 2008 1:16 am

Yeah, i think about 3 years Marc, i remember when i used to bring up my designs for you to cut, saved on a floppy disc, then started emailing them to you.

I remember getting a list of the components needed to build a computer from scratch from John, then when in the shop asking for the parts, i must have sounded like Andy from "Little Britten" when the guy asked me anything technical about the part I'd asked for and just pointing, saying "i want that one"!

Still managed to build it though, and it worked, well done me!

Ah, the days before the computer ruled my life! Couldn't live without one now.
<<

David_Evans

4 Star Contributor

Posts: 385

Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 7:57 pm





Post Sat Mar 29, 2008 1:36 am

Hi Kimberley,

I started out wrapping buses with advertisings, Then quit that to follow my passion for snowboarding while being in france noticed that there was a gap in the market for signage and garment printing. 4 years on its getting better all the time but alot less time for snowboarding!


Dave
<<

David Rowland

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 9788

Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2003 5:58 pm





Post Sat Mar 29, 2008 2:10 am

Well me... well.. i be short

Started in Screen Printing, learning T-Shirts/Stickers and all the processes, this was the start of Corel Draw 3. I did this job when I was young and training, then decided self employment wasn't a bad thing as I wanted to combine computers to it. Neighboring business also had installed a metal cutting CNC, this gave me the autocad practice which I learnt from college.

Anyway, I was doing computer repairs, a few tv electrical stuff, selling computers, t-shirt printing prep (screen separations), started websites, cnc programming... a whole mixture of stuff. I then started work with a friend who used to work at the the same screen printing firm who then went to work as a husband and wife team (ok i stole her job :wink: ).. I then helped and learn basics of sign making with vinyl... then i went into something else...
I started programming on a project that put interactive media-screens in a national bank, however the project only sold to one client and never get anywhere else, was huge for me. This took up about 3-4 years of my life.. so finally it died and glad it was over... I then worked self/employed for a little while and returned to silk screen printing, then juggled litho printing (book printers) and then got a call to return to the sign makers, I am now still there, friends and working as part of the management team.

Is that short? sorry
<<

Jason Xuereb

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 2464

Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2005 12:15 am





Post Sat Mar 29, 2008 2:29 am

Studied Advertising at Tafe after high school education.

Meanwhile working as a web designer at a number of companies and freelancer.

Then undertook a double degree in Accounting and Computing.

Half way through that we (Brother and I) bought a cheap Chinese cutter to resell on eBay.

Started using it myself and now here I am.

The main thing I love about the industry or the work we do is that it isn't the same everyday. I get to use a range of tools, power tools included and for the most part each job is always different, challenging and hugely rewarding once completed.
<<

Alan Drury

User avatar

L-Gold Member
L-Gold Member

Posts: 2148

Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2004 6:29 pm





Post Sat Mar 29, 2008 10:33 am

Left school at 16 (1974) went to work as trainee signwriter with a local chap, 4 years later went self employed but worked for him only, 9 months later he was semi retired and I went completely on my own. I bought my first computer for signmaking in 1990.
Alan D
<<

Tim Painter

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 1923

Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2003 10:13 am





Post Sat Mar 29, 2008 3:11 pm

got kicked out of 6th form after the first year at 19 for having a laugh...

Joined a local Electronics company as a Trainee working on various stuff from surface mount prototype up to huge contactor panels - mainly short run anything from MOD stuff to Lucas aerospace flight simulators. Did one day a week day release doing a diploma course...

..then moved to a power supply company just across from them doing there value added engineering where I had to teach myself CAD on the PC, mod power supplies and make custom assemblies.

Fell Ill with a virus and struggled with ME, Yuppy Flu call it what you will so had to pack in work...started dabbling and getting more into the PC doing artwork and DTP work at a low level then slowly into outsourcing Litho stuff...added the signage side of the business in the last few years.

Love doing the signage & enjoy bringing all my skills together.
<<

Saph-D

User avatar

2 Star Contributor

Posts: 118

Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2007 11:33 am





Post Sat Mar 29, 2008 3:41 pm

I started life as a nurse, working in an intensive care unit until an incident unnerved me enough to make me realise I wanted out. I then went into a new career as a pharmaceutical sales rep which I loved, whilst playing around with my passion for photography on the side.

After taking in a 9 yr old child that had been orphaned, I left work to concentrate on her needs, and furthered my interest in photography ( and fuelled her desire to be a model ! ) whilst she was at school - attending 6th form college to do an A'level in photography - - GREAT fun.

My partner is co-owner of a veterinary surgery and I attended puppy parties each Thursday evening to take photo's of the little darlings between the ages of 9 and 12 weeks who attended for socialising skills and to familiarise themselves with the surgery, nurses and vets.

From that I soon realised I wanted / needed to be able to get the images onto new media, and so learnt about dye-sublimation and then invested in the equipment for that. I now have 3 flat presses, 3 mug presses and a mug oven and a plate press.

I then discovered how much I loved the whole industry, and bought other pieces of equipment that I haven't yet used due to space restrictions! ( pad printing, hot foiling and plastic business card printer which has been used a few times only so far. )

I was asked by two friends to do some promotional printing for them - one for a pr event for an international company and the other repeat orders for a company to use as prizes / gifts.

I bought a gerber edge from a very very nice chap from the boards,( who still helps me out ! - thanks Nick :) ) which I love but am now looking at investing in a vehicle wrap course and large format solvent inkjet printer.

( I don't plan to make a career out of wrapping, it just fascinates me and I would love to be able to do it if asked, and to utilise the skills it offers in other ways. )

Although I have been dye-subbing for a good few years now, I am still very very much a novice when it comes to cad cut etc and spend hours reading things in here and watching and rewatching the tutorial videos etc. They are priceless.

So thats me in a nutshell. Very naive and ignorant when it comes to the sign / cadcut business but equally as eager to learn and advance in it.

Saph
:)
<<

Hugh Potter

User avatar

Premium Member
Premium Member

Posts: 8507

Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2005 10:43 am

Country: United Kingdom (uk)




Post Sat Mar 29, 2008 4:32 pm

crikey Saph, that's a big nutshell!!

i do enjoy reading how people got to where they are now!
<<

Saph-D

User avatar

2 Star Contributor

Posts: 118

Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2007 11:33 am





Post Sat Mar 29, 2008 6:54 pm

:blush:
They don't call me verbose for nuttin' you know lol

:P
<<

Bill McMurtry

User avatar

4 Star Contributor

Posts: 441

Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2006 12:30 am





Post Sun Mar 30, 2008 5:40 am

Studied Graphic Design at Cornwall Technical College in the late 70's. Various graphics and commercial art jobs in Australia including TV, magazine, newspaper, etc. Friend of mine owned and operated his own sign business and talked me into doing some part time work for him when I was between jobs about 15 years ago. I enjoyed the varied work and challenges and went on to run the design and fabrication side of his business. Moved to Tasmania and decided to start my own sign shop a couple of years ago :D
<<

A Misselbrook

User avatar

2 Star Contributor

Posts: 193

Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2005 7:39 pm





Post Thu Apr 10, 2008 11:37 pm

Hi I havent been on the site for a while!

I fell asleep in 1988 then woke up in 2008 still doing the same thing, playing guitar far too loud and painting on walls!!!!! :cool:

Keep brushing!!!
<<

Simon Strom

User avatar

5 Star Contributor

Posts: 633

Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:42 pm





Post Fri Apr 11, 2008 6:01 pm

Graduated High School in 1992. Started college at Auburn University in Alabama taking a fine arts degree. Decided that I could expect a better income if I went into graphic design, but could still do fine art on the side. Worked at a tattoo shop for 2 1/2 years while still in school. After graduating in 1997 I moved to Atlanta, Georgia (1 1/2 hour drive from Auburn, Alabama). I worked framing artwork for 2 years at two different framing business at the same time. Lucked into working for a sign company when I applied for a graphic design job and have been here for almost 9 years. I've done everything from cutting and applying vinyl, to drawing logos and maps, to now doing scaled drawings of the signs for customer approval.
<<

Jeff_Brown

User avatar

2 Star Contributor

Posts: 164

Joined: Fri Dec 08, 2006 8:43 pm





Post Wed Apr 23, 2008 3:56 pm

Been in the Photographic trade for years! All Ad agency stuff. Photo-composition an retouching mainly. Yeah, BEFORE computers! Always used to play with airbrushing, and have started again recently.

Now I have a full service Lab and photo studios as well as retouching, scanning, proofing and all that stuff, here in London. Never really enjoyed it since it all went digital, that is why I am returning to more traditional stuff.

Return to Traditional



Who is online

Registered users:
Stafford Cox

 

About
Contact
Board Rules
Membership
Terms & Conditions

 

Signapp - iPhone & iPad
Signapp - Android
Vehicle Wrap Training
Vinyl Application Training
Vehicle Wrap Accreditation
UK Sign Group
Site Membership
Advertising
Videos
British Signs & Graphics Assoc.

 

 Facebook
 Twitter
 Youtube
 Linkedin

 

Who is Online

In total there are 57 users online ::
3 registered, 0 hidden and 54 guests
[based on past 5 minutes]

Most users ever online was
370 on Tue Aug 28, 2018 5:02 pm

Registered users:
Stafford Cox

Copyright © 2000 - 2019 Robert Lambie