Sign and light advertising manufacturer

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A hollow-chamber advertising lettering is illuminated by LED modules.

The manufacturer of signs and illuminated advertisements is a skilled trades profession registered in the German trade register. Colloquially, the sign and light advertising manufacturer is also called an advertising technician . An earlier term was sign maker or painter.

Sign and illuminated advertising manufacturers design and implement advertising media and communication systems, including illuminated and unlit signs and advertising media , illuminated advertising systems for companies, complex guidance systems, lettering on facades, shop windows and motor vehicles as well as the lettering of trade fair stands and exhibitions.

In Austria, this corresponds roughly to the apprenticeship in lettering design and advertising technology , after the sign making profession expired in 2020. In addition, there are similar training opportunities as painters and coating technicians with different focuses.


It is a recognized training occupation, the dual training of which is regulated by training regulations.

Training content

  • Safety and environmental protection at work
  • Preparation of work processes
  • Operational and technical communication
  • Manual and computer-aided creation of technical documents / drafts
  • Application of different materials on different substrates
  • Production of lettering in foil, printing and lacquer technology
  • Computer-aided creation of picture elements; Image processing and digital printing technology
  • Using tools and operating devices
  • Use of various printing techniques (screen printing, digital printing)
  • Installation of advertising electrics and lighting technology
  • Manufacture of communication and advertising systems, control systems, trade fair and exhibition stands
  • Assembly of communication and advertising systems
  • Maintenance and repair of communication and advertising systems


  • Qualified secondary school leaving certificate, secondary school leaving certificate, Abitur
  • Enjoyment of design, sense of color and shape
  • Good spatial awareness
  • Technical understanding
  • Skilled craftsmanship

Career prospects

  • Master training
  • Media specialist
  • Technician training (paint and lacquer technician, design technician)
  • Designer in the craft
  • independence

working area

The profession of the sign and illuminated advertising manufacturer is very diverse and combines many different working methods and techniques.

Planning and design

The planning for the production of advertising media for the sign and light advertising manufacturer consists of customer discussions, property inspection, dimensioning, photo documentation and determination of the size and materials of an advertising media.

A building application to the local authorities may be required.

The planning can refer to individual signs or complete advertising concepts .

The design is either supplied by the customer as a file or carried out on the PC with the help of graphics programs; typography and color play an important role here. The design is supplemented by 3D views, dimensions, day and night views. In this phase, the individual production steps are prepared and put into production.

Foil bonding

Labeling of an aluminum composite sign using high-performance foil created in a foil plot.
Labeling of a vehicle using high-performance foils created in a foil plot.

The sign and light advertising manufacturer primarily uses high-performance films from which given texts or logos are cut using a flatbed or roll plotter according to a file or text specification. These are weeded after the cutting process and covered with transfer film. The prepared foils can be applied to various advertising media (signs, displays , light boxes, window panes and vehicles). For lettering in color or lacquer technology, stencil foils are produced in the same way, but negatively weeded and, after being applied to the advertising medium, covered with color.

Digital printing

Creation of a digital print for the production of a stand sign.

The digital printing offers / the sign and light advertising Manufacturer / in the opportunity created on the computer data of motifs, texts, gradients in the direct printing process to raise medium to be printed. Mainly foils, PVC tarpaulins, car wrapping foils, paper, but also sheet materials (plastics, metals, glass) are printed here. The sign and light advertising manufacturer uses the finished prints for further processing into or on advertising media.

Full vehicle wrapping

In the full vehicle (car wrapping) a vehicle by the full-surface bonding with digitally printed special film for large-size, moving advertising medium.

Neon sign

Illuminated advertising are luminous advertising systems that the sign and illuminated advertising manufacturer produces in the form of light boxes, individual letters, pylons and brackets. They are used to convey the advertising information at any time, including in the dark. Advertising systems that are installed outdoors are mainly made of metal and acrylic glass . The lighting is usually done with fluorescent lamps or high-voltage fluorescent tubes , increasingly with long-life, energy-saving LEDs .

Assembly and maintenance

Installation of an oversized banner on a facade.

The sign and illuminated advertising manufacturer assembles and maintains communication and advertising systems at designated locations directly or on supporting structures. Technical rules, safety, statics and functionality must be taken into account during assembly.

Processing of different materials

All kinds of cuts for the production of substructures, pylons, banners, reinforcements and much more
Post-processing of products of the CNC milling machine.

The sign and illuminated advertising manufacturer processes different materials. This mainly includes plastics, but also metals such as aluminum, sheet iron, stainless steel, as well as glass, wood and composite materials. The materials are processed using different processing methods such as sawing, cutting, joining, reshaping, grinding and gluing into advertising systems or their corpus and trade fair and exhibition structures.


In the sign and light advertising industry, gilding work consists of gilding on or behind glass or on lacquer substrates. As a rule, these are writings or word / figurative marks that are applied to the carrier as matt or gloss gold plating. Three-dimensional elements such as profile letters are also gilded.

screen printing

Another area of ​​work for the sign and light advertising manufacturer is screen printing. It complements digital printing. The media to be printed on are the same as in the digital printing process, and shaped objects can also be printed in the screen printing process. Large print runs, for example product stickers, can be produced more economically than with digital printing. Objects, for example built-in glass walls, can be printed on site using the screen printing process. The printing templates are created with the graphics program on the PC, the screen printing process itself is a manual process that is only partially automated.

If a monochrome, continuous application of color is to be achieved, screen printing is preferable to digital printing. The screen printing process is often used to produce artistic motifs, and special paints (e.g. textured paint, anti-slip paint, gloss paint) can also be applied in screen printing.


The sign and light advertising manufacturer labels textiles with the help of various printing processes such as screen printing, digital direct printing, transfer printing, flock and flex transfer printing as well as sublimation printing. Large textiles such as advertising banners or flags are cut and trimmed.

Facade lettering

The sign and illuminated advertising manufacturer applies facade lettering to listed buildings in particular. The draft created on the PC is either cut as a stencil film that is glued to the facade and covered with color, or a drawing in original size is produced, transferred to the facade and then laid out in color. If the lettering is at a greater height, work is carried out on scaffolding or a pallet truck, just like when installing advertising systems.


The aluminum letters produced are given the correct color in the paint shop before being installed with LED modules.

The sign and illuminated advertising manufacturer designs light boxes, signs and substructures for advertising media are colored with the help of varnishes, the surface is also protected by the coating. The paint material is applied by spraying, rolling or brushing. Lettering is also produced using the lacquer process, in which case a stencil is cut, negatively weeded and colored.


  • In 812, sign makers were mentioned for the first time in the Carolingian "Capitulare de villis", the first land and economic system of the Middle Ages. In addition to forging, you are responsible for the armor of the warriors. The wooden shields were covered with leather and reinforced with metal fittings. After the shields were used as coats of arms from the 12th century, the sign makers also worked as coat of arms painters.
  • An early shield guild already existed in Magdeburg in 1197. In Cologne, the Schildergasse is reminiscent of the guild: it is named after the numerous sign and coat of arms painters (clipeatoren) who lived here in the Middle Ages. The residents called it "Schildergaß" or "Schildergazin", in 1797 its current name "in the Schildergasse" appeared for the first time. Lived here in the 14th century. the majority of the masters of this craft, from 1452 the guild house of the coat of arms painters and tailors was located here. In addition to war, tournament and pomp signs, sign makers also made leather-covered book covers and sword scabbards and took care of the heraldic decoration of riding gear (saddle, bridle, head and chest leather). In the circle of crafts they were considered one of the most respected.
  • In 1510, Emperor Maximilian I (1493–1519) awarded the shield guilds three silver shields on a red background as a coat of arms. This symbol is still the emblem of the entire painting trade today.
  • In 1920, the Association of Company Sign Manufacturers of Germany e. V. founded in Berlin.
  • In 1927 the association was renamed “Association of Companies and Advertising Sign Manufacturers of Germany”. V. ".
  • In 1933 the name was changed to "Reichsinnungsverband des Schildermacher-, Schildermal- und Lichtreklage-Handwerk"
  • In 1950 the association was renamed the “Association of Company Signs and Illuminated Advertising Manufacturers”. V. “rebuilt.
  • In 1952 the association was called “Association of Sign and Illuminated Advertising Manufacturers of Germany”. V. "
  • In 1961 the Federal Guild Association ZVW (Central Association of Advertising Technology) was founded.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Thorsten Vallender: Central Association of Advertising Technology - ZVW Advertising Technology. Retrieved May 9, 2017 .
  2. Lettering design and advertising technology on the portal of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, accessed on August 7, 2020
  3. Apprenticeships with M on the portal of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, accessed on August 7, 2020