New NEFCU branch office / February 24, 2014

We recently completed a package of signs and graphics for one of our dream clients, New England Federal Credit Union.  Why a dream client? Because part of their mission is to be a leader in their market, both in the way they present themselves to the community and how they encourage members to use technology. For us that means they want high quality work in multiple media and they want to push the envelope to make themselves stand out.

NEFCU St Albans VTWe have been working with NEFCU for several years, since we were brought on board by their marketing agency, Direct Design, to refurbish the lobby at their main office in Williston. Our latest work together was at the brand new office in St. Albans, VT (left).

This project allowed us to create internally illuminated wall signs, lots of cut-out aluminum letters and logos, vinyl graphics on glass, printed super-graphics applied to walls, custom graphics on a three-sided kiosk, and what Chris Reck at Direct Design calls the “giant logo ball”. It’s the round NEFCU logo icon made as a three-dimensional wall sign featuring LED illumination within, spreading light over the wall.

Here are some highlights: 

NEFCU Logo SignOn the left, the “giant logo ball” on the St. Albans lobby wall. This is actually a baby sister of the first giant logo ball, which debuted at the Shelburne Road branch in South Burlington, VT, shown here:NEFCU South Burlington VT







Some of the 3D cut-out letters and logos, both with satin aluminum brushed finish and painted finish:


NEFCU Video Conference Lounge

The “Community” wall, with a photo collage assembled by NEFCU staff highlighting some of the good works in which they participate within their communities:

NEFCU Community Wall

Printed mural graphics:

NEFCU Printed Mural Graphics

The “Welcome” entry:

NEFCU Welcome Entry Sign

and a small (but fun to make!) projecting sign so that members can easily find the Video Conference Lounge:

NEFCU Video Conference Lounge Sign

and the three-sided kiosk, below. I can brag a bit on this one, not because I personally did anything, but because Jim and Phil on the team here at Design Signs took such care with this piece that the representative from the kiosk manufacturer called it “the best graphic application” he had ever seen on their products.


When in St. Albans, stop in for a visit. New England Federal Credit Union is right off Route 7 North, on the Walmart access road.

Contact us if you have questions about the signs we created for NEFCU in St. Albans Vermont.

A brief history of Design Signs / January 21, 2014

It’s time to start blogging! So why not begin with a very condensed story of how Design Signs came to be?

You could say it started when I was 9 or 10 years old. My dad helped me build small wood projects including a very, um, “rustic” bedside table for my mom. The legs were all different lengths, and never did sit level!

Flash forward 12 years and I’m out of college, putting my BA in English to good use as a retail store manager. I did not particularly enjoy the job, except for when I made window displays and point-of-purchase merchandising signs. After I told a friend I could make a wooden sign for his bar, it was not long before I was asked by other businesses to make signs for them as well. I left retail in the rear-view and have been making signs ever since, almost 40 years now!

Burlington, Vermont carved sign

My first sign in Burlington, circa 1976

One of my early signs was for R. W. Hunt’s Mill and Mining Company in Burlington, known by most folks simply as Hunt’s; a great venue for live music.

The first couple of years I built nothing but carved wood signs; it was all I knew!  Since I was totally self-taught in sign design and techniques, I struggled. So when I had a chance to move to Colorado and work for a real sign company, I jumped at it!

I started at Adcon Signs  in Fort Collins in May, 1978, their fifth employee. I learned everything I could about signs, especially from Jimmy Saffer, a master sign maker. This was in the “B.C.” era, before computers. Every design was created with a pencil on paper; every letter and graphic painted by hand. It was an invaluable education in sign design, letter spacing, and proper use of graphics. After four years there, the staff had grown to over 20.

With this experience under my belt, I moved again, this time to Burlington, VT. I worked a few years in a local sign shop, but itched to have the independence I so enjoyed when I first started out. I became self-employed again, this time actually knowing how signs should be made!

Design Signs started down by the tracks off Home Avenue in Burlington. I did everything by myself the first few years, then eventfully started hiring help. First summers only, then part time and eventually my first full-time employee. Some of you know Jim Narsh, still working with me today. A few years later, after moving to a larger shop in Williston, I hired Phil Seeley (also still with me). Then another move brought us to our current shop in Essex VT, a wonderful space in which to make signs. Stop in for a tour; we love to show folks around!