If you want a career where you can get creative and use a variety of practical skills to produce a wide range of signage, signmaking could suit you.

Barry Vincent - Speedy Signs, Rotorua

Barry Vincent

Creativity and problem solving are highlights of the job for award-winning signmaker, Barry Vincent, of Speedy Signs, Rotorua.

Barry won a Gold Medal at the NZ Sign & Display Awards in 2012 as 1st equal apprentice with Tor Crowden.

Barry enjoys being creative and seeing the project through from start to finish.

“The trade has become very commercial compared to the days of paint and a brush,” he says.

“I find myself having bigger challenges in the sense that customers expect bigger and quirkier signs. The explosion of design software and graphic design has put a new spin on signs too. Van wraps can transform a company logo and the sky is the limit. New materials have extended the scope of what style and finish the signs can be.

“Thinking it through and visualising how the sign will look is exciting and that is also where brainstorming with my team plays an important role. I enjoy incorporating the team’s skills and delegating the tasks,” he says.

Barry started out in the trade at age 16, when he got some work experience at a small family-run business on the Island of Jersey in the English Channel. He had come straight out of school with a love of Art and Design.

“As I developed in the trade, I learned how the Industry can change rapidly and (I) was quick to change with it.  I was grateful to have learned the old school ways of brush and paint, which I still use occasionally today. The Industry will always have a creative form,” he says.

Barry recommends apprenticeship training as it enables an individual to develop skills in the workplace.

“Apprenticeships take the individual through the trials and errors and it builds a broader understanding of the trade,” he says.

“It also gives the apprentice business skills, team skills and how to function in a fast paced trade environment. No two jobs are the same and apprenticeships certainly teach how to think on your feet.”

Barry is concentrating on gaining more experience and is keen to move up in the business, possibly into a production manager role.

“This means I can still be hands-on in the production of signs and graphics and pass on my experience and knowledge in the trade. And later, I’d like to have a sign shop of my own,” he says.

As for those starting out in the trade, Barry says: “Keep working at it – the best way to learn is to get your hands dirty and get some creativity flowing. When the customer has a smile on their face when you have finished a great looking sign or vehicle wrap it’s a big boost in confidence.”