Course Curriculum

Level 4 Diploma in Signwriting (DipSL417)

Course Curriculum

Note: Date June 22, 2017 This site will be updated over then next few days as we have just been given the green light for these studies. NG

Crafts, creative arts and design for all

Learning Modules (Foundation Diploma Studies)

Each Unit typically requires:

  • Attendance of 3 weekend courses
  • 4 external projects
  • Reading: course manual and 1 other book or student choice
  • 2 Learning reviews 
  • 1 Essay


Prospectus: UNITS 1-5 – scroll down


Start up

The Start up date is the first Monday of the month. Courses will roll-on from the commencement of the first unit.

Completion time is 12-18 months.

Assessments: mid and endpoint of each unit.



Hours for each unit

Each Unit comprises of 110-140 hrs for completion.


Assessment criteria and educator overview

Recently there has been a shift away from traditional coursework and examination style of education. We offer flexibility in order to suit the student’s needs.

Assessment meetings

A great emphasis is placed on communication skills and the ability to explain projects and natural explorative instincts, that characterise and open the way toward an interesting, diversified path of learning of this art/craft/trade.

Coursework and mentored learning

Studio interaction account for the majority of student progress and qualification success.

Benchmarking progress

Units serve as markers. Students may include any segment of Units 1-5 as part of external coursework, as they progress and incorporate a range of professional project work. 

Tasks and projects

Tasks and learning exercises are set along the same lines as traditional apprenticeship training. The tasks are highly specific and must be completed to the satisfaction of the course tutor and assessor. 

Off-site study

Individual creative projects and task practice must roll through according to timelines agreed by tutor. Tutors must be made aware of external projects as part of the standard unit practice for commercial project and project management assessment. 


Learning summaries

Written components aim to clarify the learning and exploration of each unit from historical to practical and new field work perspectives. Deadlines are set for all essay and learning review submissions.

Thesis – 2500 words. 5x Learning summaries 500 words.



Units 1-5

Unit 1 

  • Induction day: Presentation & orientation
  • Origins of signwriting and recent typographic design
  • Professional practice introduction
  • How to evaluate projects and estimate for works
  • Design thinking and high performance training
  • Time/Motion (TM) and quality control (QC) awareness
  • Kit and Equipment: DEVELOPMENT & MAINTENANCE
  • Health and Safety
  • Group discussion
  • Access equipment use
  • Surface & Preparation: wood, masonry, glass
  • Basic practice: 8 strokes of shape construction
  • Advanced stroke practice and corner forming skills
  • Water based and oil enamel use
  • Colour tinting

20 Pts Completion of Segment

110-140 hrs

Studio practice 50 hrs

Unit 2 – Block/Gothic/Grotesque lettering

  • Historical overview
  • Block letter practice: Drawing and structure of 3 key historical models
  • Spacing and letter augmentation
  • Light, medium and bold block lettering
  • Condensed block lettering
  • Lowercase block lettering 2 styles
  • Group discussion and show
  • Shading variations and techniques
  • Review essay
  • Presentation
  • Tutorial

20 Pts Completion of Segment Part 1.2

110-140 hrs

Studio practice 50 hrs

Unit 3

  • Serif lettering
  • History of Romans and Venetian serif ‘filleti’
  • 4 styles: Trajan Roman, Traditional London, Venetian, Egyptians
  • Practice and Composition
  • Group Crit
  • Review essay
  • Cursive Lettering
  • History of Cursivo and Italics
  • Key Strokes
  • 3 styles: Calligraphic, Signwriters, and Italian
  • Practice and Composition
  • Review essay
  • Presentation
  • Tutorial

20 Pts Completion of Segment

110-140 hrs

Studio practice 50 hrs

Unit  4


  • Working freehand
  • Design thinking – input
  • Design, Font design and CAD 
  • Photoshop
  • Marketing
  • Designing the Brand icon
  • Production methods
  • Tutorial – Final Editions

20 Pts Completion of Segment

110-140 hrs

Unit  5

Design and Delivery

  • Project Management
    • Group Crit
    • Industry entry
    • Presentation and client handling
    • Business plan and finances
    • How to price work – Review from Unit 1
    • Marketing and future trend
  • Final Exhibition

20 Pts Completion of Segment

110-140 hrs

Studio practice 50 hrs


Crafts, creative arts and design NVQ Level 4

5 Modules 100 pts Total

Learn Easy

Course structure is flexible. Start times, continuation points and close off are set at commencement are are open to renegotiation onward of start-up subject to course leader guidance and approval.

Students who have completed 1 week course with NGS may be eligible for assessment or recommencement. Tutor will advise on level and practical attainment in order to re-join practice at appropriate point.


Public Holiday

Upcoming bank holidays in England and Wales

14 April Friday Good Friday
17 April Monday Easter Monday
1 May Monday Early May bank holiday
29 May Monday Spring bank holiday
28 August Monday Summer bank holiday
25 December Monday Christmas Day
26 December Tuesday Boxing Day
1 January Monday New Year’s Day
30 March Friday Good Friday
2 April Monday Easter Monday
7 May Monday Early May bank holiday
28 May Monday Spring bank holiday
27 August Monday Summer bank holiday
25 December Tuesday Christmas Day
26 December Wednesday Boxing Day

If a bank holiday is on a weekend, a ‘substitute’ weekday becomes a bank holiday, normally the following Monday.

  • Monday 1 January 2019 is a Bank Holiday
  • Easter weekend is Friday 19 April to Monday 22 April 2019
  • May Day Bank Holiday is Monday 6 May 2019
  • Spring Bank Holiday is Monday 27 May 2019



About NGS The revival of Signwriting   Fees Student finance  Contact us CONTACT US

Check out NGS website for inspiration:


‘Bones of Painted Letters’ – Book 1

Nick Garrett

Product description – 30% Student discounts

A book introducing the London New York and Milan sans-serif letter techniques to the lettering enthusiast.

Now available at Amazon.