Profile: Jeff Marshall

Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia

By signcraft

Posted on Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

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Turn the clock back to 1985, in Papakura, New Zealand. You’ll find a young Jeff Marshall watching longtime sign writer Ron Aplin letter a script headline on a sign panel. Computers hadn’t made many inroads into the sign industry yet. Most signs were still made with a brush and paint.

“I’ve been hooked on script right from the get-go,” Jeff says. “My apprenticeship was in a small sign shop called Designcraft Graphix. It was just Howard Dixon, who was the boss, Ron and me—the young apprentice. I was just 16 and very, very lucky. It was the ideal situation. Ron was one of the top sign writers in New Zealand, and I worked alongside him for five years— about 10,000 hours. I’m really grateful for that opportunity. If it wasn’t for that man, you and I wouldn’t be talking today.

“Ron was known for his script lettering, and it captivated me. He had done a lot of show cards, and had a wonderful loose style, which was common in Hamilton, the town where he learned the trade. Back then, there wasn’t a lot of influence from outside sources, especially from the US or UK, so each city had its own style of sign design and lettering. You learned the style of those you apprenticed with, then you put your own spin on it.”

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