How this Art Instructor is Helping Students Create Fun and Engaging Careers in the Sign Industry

Lindsey Fromm is completing a fellowship through the American Advisory Council for Signage Research and Education with the goal of developing a unique design/build signage curriculum for CNM students
February 01, 2024

From neon to vinyl, signs are everywhere and this industry needs a steady stream of people with design and art skills. 

Recognizing that this could be a viable career path for CNM students, Fine Arts instructor Lindsey Fromm (she/they) applied to the Emerging Fellows program through the Academic Advisory Council for Signage Research and Education, and has spent the last two years finding the best ways to connect CNM students to the industry.

“The ultimate goal of my fellowship is to better understand the employment needs of sign companies and find ways CNM can support their workforce needs,” Lindsey says. “There are more options in signage than students may realize, and many of these positions can become stable, lifelong careers.”

The idea for Lindsey’s fellowship started with their work with Friends of the Orphan Signs (FOS), a collaborative public art organization that revitalizes abandoned or unused road signs along Route 66 in Albuquerque. The sign companies FOS collaborated with shared that they struggled to hire and keep employees, putting these legacy sign companies at risk. 

“A lot of these companies are family owned and have been around since the late 60s,” Lindsey explains. “Without anyone to take over from inside the family or from the community, these companies will go out of business, taking a beautiful art form with it. This is truly the perfect time to share these career opportunities with students.”

Based on their research and feedback from local sign companies, Lindsey wants to develop a design/build curriculum that would teach students both the design and fabrication skills they need to enter the signage industry. The curriculum would include hand and digital design as well as production in 2D and 3D formats.

“There is a disconnect between seeing and experiencing signs and understanding how they are produced and installed,” she says. “There are many moving pieces when it comes to signage, from design to electrical work, which really showcases the overlap of skilled trades and arts.”

Lindsey also held a Sign Day event for CNM students last term, where students met with local sign companies to learn about their day-to-day operations. Moving forward, she hopes to expand these events so more students and sign companies have the opportunity to connect.

As she gets ready to finish the fellowship in May, Lindsey is excited to keep working on the signage curriculum and continuing to shape the next generation of signmakers. 

“The sign industry, like many others, is going to experience a sort of ‘changing of the guard’ in the next couple of years,” they say. “And I’m truly honored to have played a role in making it a successful transition through my fellowship.”

Visit the CNM Fine Arts program page to learn more.