UK London Signwriting course Nick Garrett Sign writer

My job is to get guys like this one below back to the brush. It is heart tearing stuff.

How do I do it?
Well I have to listen first and bide my time until this, his personal message matures or fades away (I hope not… but it has to come from him). Then I have to make my move count and give him that logic that makes what he’s thinking concrete.

And then give them a firm kick up the ass!! Do it!!

Last week he made his first return to the painted sign… posted below – so fingers crossed.

Here’s his email from a few months ago.

NGS Signsmiths

Hi Nick,

I started in 1979 as an apprentice on £19.50 a week at Robinson Sign’s in Salford Manchester.

On my hand’s and knee’s building wooden A boards on the pavement outside the shop on Chapel Street Salford age 16.
We used to gloss all the 8’x4′ sign’s last thing at night ..I can still smell the Johnstone’s gloss.

We used Keeps then too, none of this One Shot.

Age 19 I left and got a job at Arena Sports Advertising.
They did all the Stadium advertising for national & International event’s.

We did all the perimeter sign’s for Wembley Stadium, Arena, Cardiff Arms Park, Murrayfield, Lords etc.
Great days..we used to hand letter everything.

Wait for the Telex machine to start churning out our instruction’s from London late afternoon.
My old boss Bill was a wonderful signwriter, he was in his fifties then.


We used to take blank white hardboard, we would sometimes get a late sale and have to letter sign’s in the tunnel at Wembley and tack them up wet !
I remember once a sign read TBS Bank !!! should of read TSB of course.

Well it was on TV .. I can see the funny side now 😉
My Uncle was a Signwriter in Southport..Tony Meadows..self employed.
Good writer..he died few years ago.. that is where I got the bug I think.

I was second coating for him age 12
Still remember the smell of turps on him.

I used to do lettering for Silcocks the Fair after work..used to earn a fortune painting all the rides.

1988 I decided I’d go it alone and set up.
Had my first son 6 months later..tough year’s.

But I got busy quickly establishing a good customer base including JCB and a big Coachbuilding firm Cartwrights
Kept me going for a good 10 year’s.

I put off joining the vinyl gang as long as I could.
Been using my cutter for around 20 years now though.

To be honest Nick I can’t stand the stuff..everyman and his dog has jumped on the vinyl sign band wagon.
The job’s I see make me cringe.

I used to buy Signcraft magazine from the US long before Wrights of Lymm started selling it.
I learned about the use of letter weight’s and negative space.

I’m pretty old school Nick, don’t do Twitter or FB lol
Caught napping really and business has suffered last few year’s.

I don’t often get my brushes out, last time was 12 months ago when I had to letter some name plates for a fleet of Pre War buses.

Been thinking about pushing my Traditional lettering again.
Have to say been looking on the internet and usual guy’s doing the canal stuff with their stiff looking dodgy script.

I found your website and have been blown away.
Been in and told me wife about it.

Finally someone out there with it sussed !!!

You have given the inspiration I needed Nick..Thank you

Att. some of my work.
Most of my hand lettered photo’s are in the loft..must dig them out.

I have one of a huge domed ceiling in a Masonic Hall covered in various shaped gilded star’s..look awesome when we finished it.
Kind regards


Cheshire, UK

Paul Scutts recent job!.jpg

Hi Nick,
Above is a job I’ve just done in Liverpool!
Hope your well and keeping busy
I have just had a job come in for a coffee shop, they requested hand lettering ..Yippee
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to P

Well done you’ve realised that there is no future in vinyl. So had you done that last vinyl job by hand you probably would have spent a fraction more or less time…. with practice and a sweet hand … less, no doubt. But the real economy is not countable in time spent on this or that or the money etc… it’s whether you step back from the job as a complete human being – proud and with a sense of achievement. Do that day in and day out Paul Scutt and the rest will take care of itself. You will grow to be happy. On the brush.  And be able to call yourself a signwriter… who gave up plastic and went back to the brush.
Brave heart, hand and brush.
Now fucking do it son. Be a fucking good SIGNWRITER again.

to me

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Haaaaa.. Fucking AWESOME !!
Will do !