Inside the world of Nick Garrett’s classic hand painted signwriting

A London Signwriting and Gold Leaf Gilding company, specialising in traditional, retro and modern brand sign writing. Workshop, on site and studio based quality production and courses.

The complete bespoke service.

Inside the world of Nick Garrett’s
classic hand painted signwriting –

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One Two Five - Nick Garrett Signwriter NGS London


Since NGS began a bespoke signwriting service in 1981 the industry grew, died and is now bursting into life again. We are feeding this great art revival with passion and style, with great signs and great student support.

I love providing a wide range of hand written, gilded and painted lettering. It’s what our forefather’s did and what we continue to invest in today: lettering shop fronts, retail windows, doors, panels and walls.

Message I studied commercial sign writing in Edmonton, Alberta quite a few years ago. I miss the absolute soul and pride that it gives the maker. Thank you for your website. Regards.

Most popular work includes retail displays, hospitality, bars, restaurants, hotels, galleries, homes, objects and offices.

NGS is a leader in quality bespoke sign painting across all London and are always happy to chat over your project and ideas.

Signwriter Nick Garrett at the George Stepney London 003

The George Tavern London Signwriter Nick Garrett NGS 3

Shops, cafes, house numbers, bars, teaching… we try to cover it all.

Nick on the fascia
T e a c h i n g Teaching Irena Szhestakova

Sheen Mortlake Fascia Nick Garrett SignwriterSkiedJet

Fantastic Signwriting!

Leading London Signwriting company specialising in Classic Modern Design, Hand Painted Lettering & fine Gold Leaf works – NGS


Mr happy... with a brand new NGS sign!!!welcomeTattoo detail Love Hate Social club London new sign by NGSTattoo 4 Love Hate Social club London new sign by NGSThe Crew Rockef203-lyle2527srestaurant-teabuilding56shoreditchhighst

A London Traditional Signwriting company specialising in bespoke, hand painted lettering & fine gold leaf works NGS London

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NGS For A Stylish London 

Traditional Sign

modern twist bespoke hand painted lettering,

fine gold leaf and architectural gilding works

A London Traditional Signwriting company specialising in bespoke, hand painted lettering & fine gold leaf works NGS -Patey hats London signwritten by Nick Garrett 001


Lettering detail R Original Features Hornsey London NGS signwriters

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London’s Signwriting experts

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 Origins of a great tradition – Florence Italy
Heritage signwriting
Understanding the Heritage of signwriting and gilding
That is the NGS way.
The truth; by eye, by hand, by heart.

NGS Signsmiths of London –

MORE INFO Course 1:  An Intro to lettering and layout design workshops 1 day ‘NGS Signsmith’ course

Showing how to set out a sign panel and letter it professionally. But there’s much more to it… and a lot of it is really simple logical stuff which will take you to the next level wherever you are.

It is important the first touch of the brush to panel is a positive one and for sure I will make your first step in the journey of signwriting a really confident one.  Nick Garrett

You will get straight into look n learn technique sessions that will describe how to flow out the difficult segments and eat the easy.   It’s fun especially when you see progress at every stage. you will learn:    –  What not to do!  Sounds obvious but a lot of writers use frankly odd techniques that add time and fatigue.   –  Application and using the brush or quill:  The crucial X factor of mix and application for letter segments.    –  Breathing and flowing out the work – again it sounds logical but once you learn how to relax the whole process becomes one big joy. More skills on the day.

  • Specking out a job – pitfalls and what really counts arriving on site
  • Font structure – London fonts and general rules
  • Practice the strokes – this is it!! We’ll play with paint together
  • Hand drawing – a great excuse to get out and about for some live sign analysis and letter sketching
  • Lettering flow – the twists and turns and how to get it right easily… yep easily.
  • Best Materials: fine tuning mixtures, colour mixing and brush care


ARTICLE –  ……………………………………………………………………………………………




Sign crew

Signsmiths weekender NGS London signwriting crew sweep

Signsmiths weekender NGS London signwriting crew

I train you in a clear logical way


Inspirational foundation font structure

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Find project ideas on our dedicated Pinterest board

Ways of painting

51 Linear letter formation

Alphabet of Type

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Understand the Pure Form of Johnston Underground and traditional London Romans. 1926634_10203083070055668_1599659032_n (2) 1911717_10203083073095744_1209455743_n   1901231_10153856684440151_759241244_n  I Like Gill    1798667_10153856680150151_883441284_n

Love to see you next time


NGS Sign Smith Handbook 2014.4

Artist     Lettersmith     Teacher    Creative

PDF Course Guide Front Page

Download our PDG intro course guide.


an enriching creative experience




I first came across this lovely man via e-mail, corresponding with him for some time.  He drew up my SHANGRI-LA TATTOO sign referenced from a fonte That dated back to the turn of the 20th century. On the day of painting the sign,
The piece was executed smoothly without fuss.  In addition I asked if I could assist in the production, bless, (surely a liability), which was received with good humour and reception.
I have had such a craving for this intriguing craft that I prompted Mr Garrett to do a introductory course .
Hence,I found myself on a train to Sydnem!
He was a brilliant host, relaxed yet professional.
We all lunched together in true Italian spirit.
He was Honest and humorous.
The day was enlightening and stimulating!
Thank-you Nick Garrett!
You truly are the Saint of Signwriting. I really liked the painting you did on your birthday. Have asked for One Shot from my family as present s. Hope I’ve got some nice colours.  Dan X
Ciao Nick!
How are u?
I removed the 'old' sign i showed you and do it again with signs brushes, the old one i made it with acrylic and artists brush was messed up. Its been hard to remove it and re-trace it... but at the end i was happy to use the brushes all day. The tricks u taught to me really helped me! Thanks Nick!
I hope to see u soon!


Hi Nick, really enjoyed the class last Saturday although hard to start with. Would love attending 12th April. Please put my name down for that corner space in the gallery. Really wanna develop and eventually go semi pro. Take care. Fred
Nick’s passion and experience both come into play in these courses. His informal but informed approach to the subject combines years of industry knowledge with a clear love of the craft that can’t help but enthuse those partaking and stirring a desire to hone craft and create good work. I’ve been a graphic designer for a few years but have somewhat lost my crafting skills due to the digital age spending my days clicking away on a mouse and so I have initially struggled to grasp the finer qualities of brush and clean lines but in the space of a few hours I saw a marked improvement. With gentle encouragement Nick has gotten me hooked and safe to say I shall be using the skills learned to facilitate my own learning and attempt to incorporate this craft into my working life and personal projects. 
                                             – Ben Anthony 


It’s fun creative experience.


If it shows a 0039 code it is because I am on double sim card (I eurocommute!) – leave a message or email me.


Enjoy the pages

NOTICE:  NGS No longer support the use of Eric Gill fonts or artwork in any form.

Signsmith August weekender workshop

Signsmiths weekender NGS London signwriting crew sweep Signsmiths weekender NGS London signwriting crew Sign crew 1534995_715654881789112_2085898945611053953_n 1150902_10203194999933845_259706787_n


Ghost sign walkabout was pretty awesome with some excellent focused talks about Edward Johnston fonts, Regent Street brand, Austin Reed logo and influence, the massively excellent Dave Smith’s work at Burberry, our work at Penhaligon, Paul Smith and Sister Ray, Soho Ghost sign study and foundations of the Gotham family font.


Studio was an essential dive into the paint and what came out was a superb practice session and application of new skills sets.

Big well done for August 2nd Signsmiths and roll on tomorrow’s session.


Nick Garrett Signs




SIGNS TODAY: Eye Candy at Bunga Bunga Club London: case London – NGS


This page covers the bespoke signwriting practice of Nick Garrett

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You are in the NGS Gilding page – NEW article Case study Leadenhall Market gilding

… it gleams and reflects – an unparalleled beauty

Here is a quick photo case history of our flash splash for Bunga Bunga disco club in Battersea, London.

Creating the sphere mirror ball base coat.

It was really cold and after an hour right at our backs 3 huge reverse cycle air con units started up, blowing FREEZING air into our kidneys!!  Time to move inside!!

Minus 3 degs… brrrrr

Inside was much better but the board was wobble board –  … but we got it under control and stitched in the detailing to the globe which completely transformed the piece..

Finally I laid on Glow in the Dark phosphorous paint to all white areas and the job was done!

Tonal transition on the mirror tile details created the sensation of light and 3D


Nick Garrett – Design, layout, all paint, detailing



Michael Leventis – lettering for the artist

Lettering the fine fine art painting

This lettering commission was really unpredictable with the canvas and different absorptions affecting flow of sign enamel.

The letters actually flowed on beautifully… but the real drama was getting them on in the first place.

Normally the layout drawing traces down onto the surface easily and one uses the chalk line draft as a close spacing guide.

This drawing and trace down decided to completely fail for some unfathomable reason.  It was at that moment I realised there was something special in the way he applied his paint.

”Only oils with turpentine he mused..”

But as I gave up the normal route I realised I had to do it differently and without hesitation.

I grabbed a pair of rusty studio scissors and started hacking out the letters with reasonable accuracy and rising panic… after a fairly desperate activity I laid the drawing back up and flicked chalk across the now newly chopped stencil.  In 32 years this was a first and not without desperation.

I never use the drawing as a final mark… I always take my brush and allow it to command the structure and curves.  The drawing gets you spaced accurately but after that it can get in the way.

At last my pallet was loaded and brush charged to the canvas the chiselled sable went and with a tip led technique I found myself flying around the text!  Ocassionally the canvas sucked in the mix and cause tiny errors, spiders and runs…  I zapped these with tissue at hand and re cut the glyphs.

The font itself was a contrived New york wharf type of 50s font – chunky and hard. Standing back with line one done it looked really hard and perfect.

I was amazed!!  This was good.

After 30 minutes they were done and it was solid… no need for an outline as originally planned.

The painting had taken on a new dimension and talked it’s own poetic message.

Masking the 10mm box line was a job every bit as accurate as Damien Hirst job nay more so… involved taping registers for marking out … marking, straight liner tape as offset guide, then Frog tape, tracking the straight setters… corners all needed re tape cut ins because impossible to razor trim tap for obvious reasons… Frog Tape ruled again with only 2 tiny bleeds.

Curious as I usually am about my clients, I had a number of fascinating kick-back chats with Michael in his fab Rauol restaurant in Maida Vale and talked about his past present and future aspirations..

I can recommend the salmon and avocado sandwich by t’way.

”I started out working with my father… he didn’t want me to head in the ‘wrong direction’ (art college) and so in my early twenties I found myself in the USA … we had a number of businesses in the states… one of which was a bottling plant for Cocoa Cola… ”

But it wasn’t until I met Francis (Bacon) years later and quite by chance on Ios that I realised I had to paint again… Francis demanded I return to England and found me a studio… how could I refuse that?

” You see my father died of lung cancer… and the chap in the Marlborough adverts died of lung cancer too… so it’s deeply ironic.

I physically winced when he told me that.

”How devastating… ”

Michael kep his eyes fixed in his sheltered yet poised way.  he struck me as a tender hearted man and a gifted painter.

Getting up close to his image on the canvas was quite a surprise because at a distance these graphically rendered images seem rather slick. Up close is a different mater.

They are beautifully painted… crafted across the carefully selected shifts and divisions.

Divisions they depict and play with.

TBC shortly


Ben Jones designs: Heavenly Bodies Bridal

Posted 22 hours ago

By Ben Jones

Earlier this week I mentioned that a logo I had designed for one of my clients, Heavenly Bodies Bridal, was going to be hand painted onto their new shop front, by the talented Nick Garrett.

We had originally hoped that I would pop down to film the process, but unfortunately, I was unable to make it down to the store for the time of painting. So there is no video, boo 😦

I do have a photo however! yay!

photo curtesy of Nick Garrett – pilfered from his website

I think you will all agree, it looks VERY tasty!

You can check out more of Nicks work here:


Traditional signwriting means by hand – not by rip-off digital stencil!

What it means to have a sign written by hand – and not by digital stencil!

I am a dedicated professional sign artist with 31 years of experience and dedication by brush… I speak with a lot of writers who have given it up – they have sadly opted for digitally produced stencils (it’s always a good idea to check your signwriter will paint your sign by hand brush – without digital stencil).

The stencil is cut by computer and laid in place – it is low tack after it is rubbed in and flat the stencil is painted with a flat fill-in brush and when that coat is just dry the stencil is peeled off leaving a sharp digital painted letter – a lot like vinyl in final appearance but without the problems of shrinkage.

I find this really quite sad and alarming – are some touting Traditional Signwriting? Often yes and the unsuspecting client pays for a traditional painted sign and gets a quick stencil rip.

When a sign writer crafts your logo with the brush it comes from thousands of hours of dedication – it embodies this dedication in a flowing emblemic quality, that fills the work with a whole essence of artistry and commercial power… and if needed either the warmth of traditional sign romance, classic elegance or cool minimalism.

For example on a straight letter a writer will flair the letter at the corners to add a sharpness, refinement and tempo.

The Traditional writer will adjust letters at will.  I, for example change certain letters if I feel the font is designed solely for paper or on-screen reproduction.  Good writers improve fonts.

Either way a digital sign stencil can’t match the human in human terms can it… and yes while digital is by nature pin point accurate, it should cost you far less, because it is only a shade better than cheap vinyl and incredibly easy to produce.  There are skills involved but zero artistry.

Digital stencils are used and passed off as genuine signwriting and that is what I aim to head you up on here – the final artwork will lack flow, depth and beauty.  But if you want it, go to a non traditional sign company and get a good deal at the right price.

Traditional Signwriting: Sensational painted glass mural by NGS

Desight for kudobadass typography, Product/Brand design, painted signs NGS London

Sensational painted glass mural in Mansion House London


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Mural Mural on the Wall… The Traditional London sign writer in a fair modern setting

A great mural and hands on work experience last winter..

Desight for kudobadass typography, Product/Brand design, painted signs NGS London

  NGS Gallery

Feb 2012 London sign-writer Nick Garrett  07951509238

I am a dedicated master signwriter with over 30 years experience in London and UK… a case history I hope you’ll find interesting.

Notting hill and working in -5 degrees, sleet and snow didn’t deter us from producing this great looking hand painted facade for Strutt & Parker estate agents.  The theme was the Kensington Gardens flora and fauna… Elms portrayed in a distinctively modern way.


The Elms of Kensington Gdns inspired the artwork for this mural… Day 2 and biting cold..

Nick Garrett:  Leading London Sign writer branching out in Notting Hill…

Big thanks to The Churchill Arms, John Pope, and Julian Brown for assisting this stunning mural project.

See my latest Murals across London here >>


Traditional Signwriters London, Murals,

Gilding,  Custom Typeface design, 

Brand design, logo creation

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