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What's Your Training?

What was your primary or initial training for making signs?

  • High school, college, art school etc.

    Votes: 17 10.5%
  • On the job training

    Votes: 35 21.6%
  • Self-taught

    Votes: 105 64.8%
  • Other

    Votes: 5 3.1%

  • Total voters


I voted on the job training, but it is really about 50% that 40% self taught and 10% sheer luck that I get it right:tongue: I'm the first to admit that I broke out on my own a bit too early, but my business is steadily growing. A bad day working for myself is still better than the best day at my old job. I would to take this opportunity to thank Fred and everyone else here, the info here is invaluable, maybe I need to change my figures to include 15% for signs101 when I need help


New Member
Graduated art/trade school in 1988......

primarily for graphic design in the print industry.
I'm confident that my art background prior to making signs has
put me above most in my area.

I didn't see the poll!
Last edited:

Howard Elijah

New Member
Detroit Lakes Vo-Tech for two years, we were the first to get a GerberIV didn't have monitors back in them days had to use the LED display and X and Y axis movements....hence the reason I stuck to my brush.


New Member
Graphic Sign Arts program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. Grad '99 one year course.
Taught me hand lettering, layout and design, drinking, and some drawing programs. Still the best education is actually working in the field and having that drive to always better your work.



New Member

I supose most of you guessed .. however I got into the sign biz because my network repair job allways had me doing little print jobs for people.. so I "Fell" into it. I also loved 3D animation back in the 90's Lightwave 3D had just came out on the AMIGA computer and I was an AMIGA geek back then.. I sold my race car for a Video Toaster setup and did 3d graphics for public access locally. It grew from there. I built PC's back when it was the only way to get them.


New Member
I helped out a relative who needed a place to make signs.
He's deceased and I have a day job but do it because I like
it. He was an original letterhead but he taught me vinyl to generate revenue for the shop. I am continuing to learn upscale signwork.


New Member
Self taught for vehicle graphics/racing stripes etc while managing a car stereo/performance shop using CasMate. Went to college for Commercial Art learning all Adobe products/Corel. Self tought for sign making, FlexiSign.
I took a lot of art classes in school. I was always good at hand lettering posters and banners whenever someone needed one. I lettered a few race cars by hand. People would tell me I needed to charge money for it, but I never did. It wasn't until I discovered computers that I became interested in signs as a business. I read every scrap of information I could get on computer-aided signmaking and studied layout by looking at every sign, billboard and magazine ad I saw. Taught myself Coreldraw, bought some equipment and been making signs ever since.


New Member
Back in 1988, took a college level commercial drawing class. Learned screen printing there and while on a 2 week work program that was part of the class, i got hired and never finished the course.

Learned computers and designing software on the job as the technologie came in. The thing that was great is we had about 12 employees and id say 5 of us were designing our own stuff. We just got handed the job orders and went from there. We would always critique each of our own layouts, compete on who was the quickest to find fonts ... it was great!

Now my old employer is my biggest customer for digital prints. :Big Laugh


New Member
My first machine was a Stika STX-8. I bought it to do my motocross bikes and mini sprint. When friends found out I got swamped, and the rest they say is history. Still hoping to get to the point of working for myself, but I fear there is a lot more for me to learn. Would love to get a job working for someone who is willing to teach, I am willing to learn as I love doing sign work. Relocating to Syracuse,NY in June if there are any takers in the area.


New Member
had a guy come into my workplace and teach me how to handletter for a day in 1975. A day doesn't sound like much, but I learned so much in 8 hours that I will never forget the gentleman who taught me. His name is Dave Disbro (disbrow) from Oregon and would love to see him again and thank him. After that it was practice and trial and error for the following 30 years. Still practicing....and still learning everyday.


New Member
I worked in an engraving shop for years. Then the boss decided to start using vinyl for signs rather than engraving them. Someone needed to step forward to tackle this venture. I started, several years later my wife and I moved and I began working in a full service sign shop. I tried my hand in a totally unrelated field for 6 years and decided to get back to something that I enjoyed. 5 1/2 years later here I am.


New Member
Watch and learn

My degree is in Biology (pre-med) with a minor in chemistry but my dad has been a signmaker and creative fabricator for 30 plus years. He still does work for Disney as do I. I watched and learned from him my whole life and even worked for him for five years before stepping out on my own after college. I've run my sign company for 14 years now so I guess it's been successful. :thumb:

I also read all the trade magazines and go to as many trade workshops as possible. I've learned a lot over the years and my early work was embarrassing at best. I also make note of and photograph signs and graphics everywhere I go. Mostly for inspiration but a lot of times it's just a reminder to not make bad signs like so many that are out there.

Cheers. :brittain:

O.T.P. Signs

New Member
self taught and some commercial art...started at a screen print company (working out of casmate what a joke) but it helped in understanding cut patterns and color overlay i would recommend everyone learning that trade it really benefits in the vinyl sign area...blagh...blagh...blagh


New Member
Self taught..for the most part. Went to college a few years back, NEI school of tech for web-design and graphics arts dropped out after a year Drove truck for another few years bought a Sticka 12 got alot of request 4 months later and bought a 24" and that's that. Also decided to give screen printing a try about 6 months ago, started with a small starter kit one color now have upgraded to a 4 color. I have been working with vinyl graphics now for alittle over a year and a half now and love every min of it. I would also like to thank everyone here @ SIGNS101 for help in the learning process.