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How to Be a Trader Joe’s Sign Artist

How to Be a Trader Joe’s Sign Artist

Trader Joe’s doesn’t just entice people with their unique offerings and delicious store-made snacks; there’s no denying the power of the Trader Joe’s sign. If you have artistic prowess, you may have daydreamed about creating your own signs for the major grocery chain. 

Becoming a Trader Joe’s Sign Artist is easier than one might expect. While they don’t hire sign artists all the time, you can apply to become an artist just as you would any other job. It’s helpful to have some kind of portfolio of your work to showcase your talents, but it doesn’t seem as though you need experience as a sign artist anywhere else. 

If you have a desire to contribute your own creativity to Trader Joe’s signs, there are some particular skills they look for when they happen to have a position open for a sign artist. 

How to Become a Trader Joe’s Sign Artist

Aside from applying for the artist job directly, you will also need to be artistic. Showing some of your personal work during an interview is recommended as they will be able to interpret how talented you are when it comes to painting/drawing.

One of the biggest artistic skills that Trader Joe’s wants in their sign artists is the ability to create beautiful lettering. Lettering needs to be attention-grabbing while also being clear enough for people to read.

It can be much harder to come up with new concepts for handwriting than it seems, so you’ll want to have some practice. 

It’s also recommended that you make yourself familiar with the art of the Trader Joe’s sign. Make sure you take a look on social media and throughout their online marketing to see if you can pick up themes or common practices.

A good sense of humor is always appreciated for this role, as is the ability to create some amusing food-related puns. 

A lot of the signs are hand drawn with paint pens or something similar, so you want to make sure you get some practice playing with those types of tools.

Many artists have their preference for what materials they like to work with, so it’s important to be as versatile as possible. 

How Much Do Trader Joe’s Sign Artists Make?

The wage is pretty varied for Trader Joe’s sign artists. For some, they might start out around minimum wage, doing part time work for about $14 to $17 an hour or so.

Others with more experience might work their way up to full time. It all depends on the store you work at. For many artists, they make a good enough living to be happy in their role.

One of the perks is that you don’t have to walk in with an expensive graphic design degree or have a substantial portfolio to start working as a sign artist.

Most jobs will start out as entry level positions where they might ask for some samples, but overall, they don’t expect you to be a household name. 

Unlike many entry-level positions, you can also expect to see some benefits which are hard to come by.

While each store has its own atmosphere, it seems that Trader Joe’s aims to have their stores filled with friendly staff members that focus on making the workplace both fun and efficient. 

Are Trader Joe’s Signs Hand Drawn?

The majority of signs you see at Trader Joe’s are hand-drawn, though it can vary by store. Not all stores have access to a lot of technological equipment that allows them to make their sign making more automatic. The organic, handcrafted nature of the signs is part of the charm. 

Even though there are easier ways to make signs, Trader Joe’s, as a brand, seems to be committed to keeping the hand painted signs a staple in their stores.

To be fair, they are one of the many things that customers can rely on when entering their local Trader Joe’s, along with the very friendly and helpful staff.  

What’s It Like Being A Trader Joe’s Sign Artist? 

Being a Trader Joe’s sign artist requires you to be able to think quickly, as there is almost always a sign to be worked on.

You will likely be handed a rough idea of what kinds of products should be highlighted, and you get to take some liberty in your final design from there. 

Many signs tend to bring in humorous elements as well as pop culture references to resonate with as many customers as possible.

This can be a major perk for many artists who might feel like their creative input isn’t appreciated in other types of consistent art-related jobs. 

Can You Make a Career at Trader Joe’s?

While it might take some time to get there, sign making at Trader Joe’s can become a very rewarding and enjoyable full-time career.

This is a job that a lot of people want so there tends to be a consistent amount of competition. 

If you are able to get your foot in the door, you can easily make a career out of being a Trader Joe’s sign artist.

For some artists, they use this career opportunity to be able to refine their skills and build themselves a solid portfolio. It’s an excellent place to gain exposure for your work, even if you don’t plan on staying at the store forever. 

Final Thoughts

For anyone who’s ever perused a Trader Joe’s and thought to themselves that they’d love to draw some of their signs, the good news is that it’s not as hard to become a sign artist as it might seem. Sign artists work in stores, and there is always a fun project to be completed. 

The hardest part about becoming a sign artist at Trader Joe’s is finding a vacant position. When a job does become available, the more you’re able to show your enthusiasm for the role and can highlight how you fit in with the brand, the better your chances will be. 

Overall, many current Trader Joe’s sign artists seem to enjoy being able to channel their creative and imaginative skills into their work each day. The job might be demanding at times, but the end result is something you can take pride in, and not many people can say that about their job anymore. 


Shane is a fitness enthusiast who also has a passion for trying and cooking new foods. His favorite stores to shop at include Trader Joe's, Wholefoods Market, Sprouts, Stater Brothers, and Target.

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