A passion for art and advertising brought Dean and Christine Lawrence together. Dean owned a custom sign shop in Connecticut, and Christine was the top employee at a similar shop nearby.
“When I walked into that shop and met her, that was it,” said Dean.
He courted and married the top performing designer at his competitor’s business, and brought her on board to work for his company.
“I’ve been doing everything by hand since the 60’s,” said Dean. “She taught me how to use computers.”
Despite being able to “use computers,” Dean refuses to rely on them.
“You can’t create original, custom designs just pulling stuff off the Internet or using design programs,” he said. “I went to the School of Visual Arts in New York - I’m an artist.”
His wife is also an artist, and has work displayed in galleries. Together, they hand-design logos, pictures and lettering to “match the personalities” of the businesses they serve.
The creative couple left Connecticut, and first opened the doors of Carolina Signworks in the early 90’s.
“We moved to Richmond County to be closer to family and friends,” said Dean. “We saw a need for this type of industry in the area, and we had the experience to make it happen.”
They brought with them a wealth of knowledge about computer-generated vinyl sign production, and alternative materials. The sign-making duo is an award-winning team, noted for their design creativity.
Their work has been featured on the cover of Sign Business Magazine twice, and has received over 150 awards for everything from signs to custom painted autos.
“Our goal has been to change the face of the local business community - literally, with one sign at a time,” said Dean.
The company has designed new logos for the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce, the City of Hamlet, Richmond County Tourism Authority, other government agencies and countless local businesses.
The talents of the couple compliment one another. Christine specializes in portrait design, while Dean excels at lettering design, custom paint and airbrush art.
A flare for artistic design has been passed on to the couple’s children, 14-year-old Joshua and 12-year-old Nicole, who help out at the family’s shop.
“We hand-design everything, and don’t rely on the computer, font libraries or clip art to short cut the creation process,” said Christine. “We spend the extra time to make sure we create a memorable visual presentation for businesses - not just letters on a board.”
The company helps businesses brand themselves with consistent designs across the board - from signs to vehicles. They recently completed a complete branding makeover for Maness Tire Pros Automotive Centers and Maness Tire and Retreading.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with the original, contemporary new look for the Maness Group,” said Mandy Luther, marketing director for Maness. “Dean and Chris made us look like rock stars, and everyone is complimenting the makeover at our Troy and Rockingham locations. Our trucks look like awesome rolling billboards!”
Carolina Signworks is at 704 S. Hancock Street, across from the Economy Motel. For information, call 910-997-4444.
Staff Writer Kelli Easterling can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at email@example.com.