North Loop Sign and Graphics Shop, in the heart of the North Loop IBIZ District, is not a sterile, corporate print shop. Your first hint is the whimsical space cowboy mural out front offering “Greetings from North Loop” alongside a banner promising “full service graphics action” and professing a love for, among other things, “festivals, art, fun, progress, ideas, and people.”
The shop Lisa Bruner opened 15 years ago is now home to a small but mighty team of five. Nick Treviño, who joined forces with Lisa 9 years ago, says, “We’re part of the group of elders here in the District.” And for them, as for most of their neighbors, that means a strong commitment to their neighborhood and neighbors.
A 17-year North Loop resident, Nick loves to live, work and play here, as well as send his daughter to school right nearby. He loves being part of a community that takes care of its own. And he loves to participate in District events like the North Loop Block Party, joining up with the bar next door to provide a beer garden with food, entertainment, and even fireworks!
When they’re not throwing parties, North Loop Sign and Graphics provides everything you’d expect from a printer: digital printing and vinyl products like banners, yard signs, stickers, flyers, postcards, and business cards. But they also do fun stuff like vinyl wrapping, channel letters (electrical signs), neon, dimensional letters, and plaques.
By partnering up with event planners, artists and other service providers, they’ve been able to participate in larger events like SXSW, Fun Fun Fun Fest, Euphoria, and other local festivals. Some memorable projects include:
• Wrapping an entire bus for the Texas Monthly barbecue tour (their largest wrapping job so far).
• Custom printing and panels for 28 foot display.
• Creating an airport for a children’s party.
• SXSW structure takeovers, including a 4-venue project on Rainey, wrapping a coffin, and creating custom flags and cornhole games.
• Wrapping classic arcade games for Bird’s Barbershop, and wrapping downtown pedicabs.
• Museum projects at the Mexic-Arte and Blanton
What couldn’t they wrap? “Bring it in and we’ll see if we can wrap it!” they told us. Musical equipment, drum heads, surfboards, cranial helmets for kids, buildings, you name it! Go ahead, turn your car into a ladybug!
While Austin grows and changes around it, Nick noted that North Loop seems to have a slower growth trajectory, almost magically retaining its character and personality over the years. Even so, the District is happy to welcome newcomers to the fold, and new businesses on the block quickly become part of the North Loop family.
For North Loop Sign and Graphics, that neighborhood character is important. The charm that makes for a great place to live and work also draws customers, a significant competitive advantage. If you can get your printing done in a charming little shop in a charming little neighborhood, why wouldn’t you? You might even spot the naked biker guy with the Crocodile Dundee hat who regularly bikes the area. Bonus!
Given their commitment to local business and partnerships, it’s not surprising that North Loop Sign and Graphics has been a member of AIBA for so long they’re nearly running out of space for new armadillo stickers.
If you’re still not convinced this isn’t an average corporate print shop (“far from it,” agrees Nick), just ask to see Jeff the next time you stop by. Jeff worked at the shop until he passed away last year, but the team wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye. So Nick asked Lucretia across the street at Room Service Vintage to help them find a cool urn for Jeff. And that’s why, on any given day in the North Loop IBIZ District, at the North Loop Sign and Graphics Shop, you can say hello to Jeff in his eternal resting spot: a vintage ceramic frog.
Overall, we’d say Jeff is a pretty lucky guy. If you worked at a shop this fun, with a team this cool, in a neighborhood this cool, you wouldn’t want to leave either.
Contact the team at North Loop Sign and Graphics Shop at 512-407-9409, www.northloopsigns.com or stop in at 102 E. North Loop Blvd.
—Story and photo by Eve Richter Dinnan