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Do you have a graphics Degree?

What is your educational background in the sign business?

  • Total voters
  • Poll closed .

Blake Wright

New Member
How many of you have a collage degree in graphic design or related field?

How many have worked as a apprentice?

Self taught?


New Member
I went to a one year intensive design trade school....

just before the MAC revolution.
Everything, including laying out type and rendering photos with a marker,
was hand-done.
That was 1988.


New Member
i have 2 yrs at PENN STATE as an art major, and was also the assitant to the art prof. he was mainly a potter and that was also one of the best things i did. but i had been drawing since age 4-5. drafting was required in high school 8-9 grade, but i took it 10, 11, 12, and then 2 yrs more after high school. worked as a draftsman for 4 yrs designing and building BUTLER metal building in maine.
SIGN PAINTING, was taught to me by an old "shaky jake"
when i was 12-13, and the rest i learned on my own. have been full time in this since 1986.


New Member
I started the graphic design program at Pittsburg State University the year after high school. Unfortunately all of the intro classes where going over everything that I already knew and quit. I probably should of continued the program, because I am still learning new tricks that I can do with Photoshop that I might of learned there, but it was basically a waste of time for the classes that I did take.

I think that a business degree will do me more good now anyway.


Active Member
I also did all three.
Sign School..Butera Scholl of Art, but didn't go back for the second year, went to work instead.
Apprenticed. kinda, to several guys, but not true apprenticeship since I got paid.
Self Taught, the real education that sticks.


New Member
I attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh for six months, then got married at 19.
Never apprenticed.
100% self-taught (painting and even my stupid sign program and Corel)
But I owe almost everything I know about signs to the Letterheads.
Been at it for 21 years.


Premium Subscriber
Want to know who can throw their weight around or not ?? :Big Laugh

Associates degree in Fine arts from an Art School and two years in Art Education. Decided I didn’t want to teach little snot noses, so I quit and went into sign making, since I had a little background in it from earlier years. Graphic Designers wasn’t even heard of, let alone an option back then. Aced all art courses I took, including pottery, OP. 3.7 cum.

Started at a sign shop as an apprentice and the guy died three weeks later. Made a choice to stay and learned by watching, because the other guy was always in a bad mood and grouchy.

Went from apprentice to journeyman, but never considered myself a master tradesman, because I’m still learning.

Self taught on many things, because that shop wasn’t full-service.

Completely self-taught in computers and software. Don’t know squat about what makes a computer tick, but I know my software programs inside/out.

Biggest help has been keeping open minded about everything around me, including the young guys in the shop. They are the future and tend to know the latest trends from color schemes to graphic designs.

:beer :beer these help a great deal, too !!


New Member
Associate Degree in Multimedia Design from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. (I'm an application/web developer by trade, doing vinyl signs and stuff as a hobby) Been working with many different forms of commercial art as a hobby since I was a young kid.

Sign One

New Member
Self Taught

Except for acing art classes in High School my partner and I are self taught. He did go to school to be a neon tube bender, he is the natural artist, I am decent with software and layout.


New Member

School!!!! What the hell is that... LOL I don't remember school!

I went into biz when I was 21 and learned quick! I took a short break to work for a huge company and as west coast Art Director I worked with Art Directors from Teleflora to Dole and learned a lot however they learned as much from me!

It don't matter where you learn as long as you learn and never stop.


New Member
Degree & Self Taught

I lettered my first race car back in the early 70's when I was about 10 years old. I actually hand cut some vinyl back then too. I used the old shelf contact paper. Lettered signs, pinstriped at car shows, did a lot of drawing all through high school. Recieved a Scholarship from Louisiana Tech University to enter into their Graphic Design program. Due to other interest (I raced karts, sprint cars, late models, modifieds), I did not actually go into the sign business untill 1995, but it was always a side-line for extra money the whole time.


Just Me
Was taught graphic design and layout (with a T-square and triangle) as well as how to spec type at 17 by a perfectionist wench. Everything had to be perfect for her. Hated her guts.... but I would bow down and kiss her feet for the good solid education she gave me. (Thanks June Elisabeth!!!!!!).
Now 26 years later I still rely on the good basics she taught me. So no, I didn't have a formal school education or a sign apprenticeship, but working under her for 2 years was pretty darn close!!!


New Member
Associates degree in Illustration. Attended three different art schools. Began sign work in 1971 in a silkscreen shop while attending college. Basically did everything I could get my hands on that related to commercial art since high school. Learned the hand lettering trade from a hard core union trained journeyman Signwriter. When I became a journeyman and first lived and worked in Seattle in 1980 I was certified to teach apprenticeships through the sign union shops in the craft of Sho-card writing, gold leaf techniques, truck and window lettering, and gold leaf techniques.

I also minored in Fine Art and now in the process of fulfilling my lifelong passion of becoming a full time professional artist. I paint in acrylics and oils primarily. I also am a professional photo-realistic graphite artist getting commission work on a regular basis. My first show is in one month at the local regional/county Art Center and gallery.


New Member
Self taught,,, still learning,,, barely scratched the surface !!!
Started when vinyl was considered upholstery material !!!
Computers of today,,, then,,, took up a house size room
and worked on punch cards and had tubes that warmed up !!!
Still open a can of paint every now n then,,, take a whiff,,,
just to remember the good ol days (hahahahaha)


New Member
I'll be getting my degree in roughly 10mos in Information Technology/Visual Communication (basically web design with a quick study in the techie stuff) after about 12 years of a variety of colleges. Pretty much self taught with OTJT picking up the rest. Have always been drawing, painting sculpting since I can remember.

Hey SitesandSigns I'm teaching you everything you know..muhahahah..just kidding. Gonna miss the shop.

Great Scott

New Member
I have a BFA in Illustration from Columbus College of Art & Design. Since then I've worked as a sign designer at three different shops, ad designer at a small newspaper, and a short stint as a picture framer at Michaels.