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A Signage Transformation: From Average to Elegant

Branding, Customer Spotlight, Design/Build, Exterior Signage, Sign Design

The most effective outdoor signage does more than point out the entrance to your business’s parking lot. Well-designed outdoor signs communicate your company’s brand and image. Monument signs, like the one created for J. Borstell Realty, can also help to cement a business’s presence in the area.

When Jeffrey and Kelsey Borstell assumed leadership of the family-owned and operated real estate company, they wanted to update the business image. Established in 1981, the Borstells were ready to evolve and rebrand the business to take it to the next level.

They partnered with Metro Sign for the project. The Metro team’s designer, Jamie Potvin, collaborated with designer and brand strategist Jaime Chemaly, of FoxShop, to bring the new design to life. 

The Borstells sought a more elegant look to align with their business rebranding, which included pivoting their business to attract additional upscale/ higher end clients. The new sign needed to be eye catching and original.

Keeping the Budget Under Control

Tom Dunn, Metro’s VP of Marketing, says, “We love that our clients were so involved and vested in every detail. They visited the shop to review different options like fonts and finishes. At one point, their wishlist exceeded their budget, so we returned to the drawing board to work some value engineering magic that enabled us to keep various design elements that achieved the look they desired while keeping the cost from escalating.” 

To keep the project cost from growing, we planned to use the existing footing and support posts; however, the original sign was shorter than the new design. We extended the inner supports by welding on additional pieces to the posts already in place guaranteed that the posts would easily support the new, bigger monolith sign.

We faced an additional challenge with this project, which had just begun when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Everything shut down — including the town hall. Fortunately, we were able to work with municipality personnel to obtain the permit approval that allowed us to begin work.

Elevating Sign Design to the Next Level

Because our clients also wanted a sign that lit up at night, we worked with them to finesse just the right lighting temperature for the look. Through trial and error, we compared paint samples, lighting techniques, and LED temperatures to get the perfect warmer white.

The monument sign includes various signage techniques. 

  • The JB portion is edge lit and opaque, with brushed gold on the face. 
  • The front letters are push-through dimensional acrylic
  • The blue lighted push-through cabinet is spaced out to allow LEDs to create the glowing halo lighting effect
  • The blue portion features a custom faded painted background to create a more interesting, subtle and soft flow
  • The beige monument base itself employs faux painting to create a stone-like appearance

Metro’s experience in conjunction with the creative input from the Borstells and Jamie Chemaly of Fox Shop formed an exceptional partnership to create a classy, elegant new icon for Main Street in Tewksbury. “The sign exceeded expectations and is truly a work of art,” says Jeff Borstell.


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