I am new to GDF but I am hoping to find some tips and help on design work as well as learning how to work on team projects. I work full time and a good sign shop but I have grown tired of the sign scene. I run large format printers, flatbed printer and vinyl plotters. I install vinyl, assemble signs of all sizes and I am senior designer. I am just a bit burned out. I want to be part of more team based projects & large scale design projects. I have almost 10 years in the sign industry, 8 of which I have held the lead designers seat. Hoping to up my design skills in the next few months and learn a few new things as I begin to transition.
Welcome and good luck with your new adventure
Put together a portfolio of non-sign related items and get yourself out there.
I’ve been working in printing for some 13 years now, and truly creative pieces come few and far between. I feel your pain.
I also started in the sign industry, and eventually, because of several life changes, moved to doing only graphic design. However now more than 20 years later, and now doing web application development and very little design, I would have to say that I would not mind returning to the sign industry if the opportunity and right place of work presented itself.
I can understand the burn out. I worked at three different sign shops. The second especially I experience burn out really quick because of my colleagues and their overall attitudes toward teamwork and excellence (e.g. just doing as little as possible to get by). But if you find the right shop, with room to grow your experience and skills and colleagues/bosses who view you as a asset and essential part of the team it can really change your outlook on the sign scene. This was more or less my experience with the third shop I worked at.
Anyhow, I suppose it depends on your experiences and what you consider enjoyable. I would really love working at more of a specialized shop. Doing more retro, classic type stuff. Gilded windows, sandblasted wood, hand crafted / hand lettered type stuff. Like what you might find in small tourist town which strives for a vintage look. The places I have always enjoyed working at the most were where there was always lots of variety, new challenges, and the bulk of the clientele were more concerned about aesthetic and quality, rather than “just give me what ever is the cheapest.”
The epitome of the latter being once when a man in Phoenix came to our shop and wanted us to make a “For Sale” sign for a Frank Lloyd Wright house. He said he wanted it on a budget just plain red block letters, and supplied us with the substrate, an old chest freezer door. The boss said ok, but I would have told him to go some where else.
If someone wanted to pay our price to put vinyl on a fridge door, it’d be the best darn vinyl job ever done to a fridge door. I’ve put vinyl on weirder things, for weirder reasons. Just another day at work.