Sunday, August 7, 2011

An Artful New Sign For Montpelier's Drawing Board

Note the picture frame and paint brush blade sign
at upper left, note 4th of July banners aren't
always there!
         About a month ago, our local artist materials and framing store, the Drawing Board in Montpelier, VT installed a new decorative sign supplementing the tasteful sign band already in place above the store.  The sign intrigued me with its artful whimsy and simple yet complex design.  
         Exterior store signage design can if done right serve to really extend the brand promise of the  business.  Done wrong it does nothing but drive people and business away on the street. Your store sign is the first thing many see about your business.  It's your symbolic front door.  It should be memorable and unique while tastefully designed and communicative.
       In the case of the Drawing Board, their new blade sign protrudes out of a corner brick pier in line with their sign band further enhancing the original signage in three dimensions. 
        Being a cultivator of good design, I took pictures and promised myself I'd ask the owners about it later and share what I found out.  So I sent them a few questions which Judy Brown, a co-owner of the store with her husband Ray Brown kindly answered.  
Blade sign depicting the essence of an art
supply & framing store

So here goes....

DC: Why did you add a new sign to the front of your store?  Who designed your sign?  What was the process you and the store went through. 
DB: Ray and I always liked the idea of a blade sign but it was not an option until Montpelier changed the rules fairly recently. My decision was based on a desire to draw attention to the store from the street, particularly to pull people from the center of town down Main Street. I also wanted to add an element of action and fun to the very classical, professional look of our logo and signage.

DC: Who fabricated the sign for you and installed it.
DB: We worked with Sparky Potter and his team at Wood & Wood in Waitsfield. They are incredibly talented and professional. It was a joint design effort. The design that they first came up with felt too conservative and so we came up with the angled frame and color idea.

Other local signs that were inspirational were Capital Kitchen's here in Montpelier and a sign on Main Street in Burlington that always makes me smile; a large scissors at an angle from the building over a hair salon.
Wood & Wood did a great job of getting us through the permitting and engineering. They fabricated and installed the sign. They have a wonderful facility next to The Big Picture Theater off Route 100. 

DC: What kind of reaction have you gotten from patrons and passersby? Have they noticed etc...

DB: Reactions have been really positive. No adverse reactions that I know of. The owners of the new pet supply store The Quirky Pet thought it was fabulous because they were planning to go for a permit for what they thought was a quirky blade sign and they said that the town couldn't possibly turn them down if they had approved our sign! They thanked me profusely for paving the way. Our sign is blocked by foliage from the State Street direction right now but will be much more powerful in the winter months.

DC: Any words of advice to others thinking of doing similar retail signage.
DB: My best advice for others is to spend a good amount of time thinking through what it is you want because design changes add up very quickly. Take the estimate and multiply by one and one half for a budget. Having said that I absolutely recommend going with a professional firm like Wood & Wood, getting a great product that you will love and know that it will last.

To take a look at Capitol Kitchen's blade sign click on this link. It's really interesting too!

Jody and Ray, thanks to you and your team for being a socially responsible small business inspiration in our community! You're a business with a big heart!

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