Makers of Tomorrow: Drew Juliano

Juliano is an all-around fabrication talent who reinvented the signshop he's worked at most of his life.
2020 Makers of Tomorrow: Drew Juliano

Drew Juliano

Age: 30

Job: Co-owner, Signverse (Stoneham, MA)

After work: Juliano enjoys playing guitar and hanging out with his hound dog in the woods.

Quote to know: “I’ve always loved signs. I always gravitated back to the shop.”

Before Drew Juliano bought and revamped Signverse, he spent his formative years working there. During that period, Signverse’s then-owner approached Juliano with a photograph – not a shop drawing, a photograph – of sign he needed fabricated. “Can you build it?” he asked. So, some of Juliano’s sign education was trial by fire, but much of it was also gleaned from his father, who has been making signs since he was a boy. “He’s amazing at what he does,” Juliano said of his dad, who co-owns Signverse. “I’ve had the gift of both learning on my own and then being able to pick up the phone and ask him, ‘How would you cut something or shape something like this?’ He’s always had an answer or been able to figure that out.”

The shop’s former owner was a sculptor, so Juliano had “two really strong people to look up to” for sign manufacturing. That schooling paid off, as Signverse’s ability to fabricate just about any type of sign – banner, blade, custom, illuminated, pylon, vinyl, carved/hand-carved, dimensional letters and wall graphics – gives it a distinctive work range that seemingly stretches past its size (five employees). And in an odd capitalistic twist, the local competition needs Signverse. “A lot of the work that we do is for other shops in the area that do not do fabrication in-house,” Juliano said. “They’ll come to us for the hand-carving, carving, custom paint jobs or the faux finishes, that type of really custom thing.”

To showcase his company’s fabrication capabilities, Juliano created an infographic for his website. He says the idea was inspired by Sideshow Sign Co.’s (Nashville, TN) website. “I have people tell me, ‘You’re the sign person; you design it.’ I like hearing that, but at the same time, it’s tough to design something when you don’t know what they want,” he said. “If you have something really basic to go by, it’s a good thing.”

After catching the sign bug as a grade-schooler sweeping shop floors, Juliano’s affinity for signmaking endures to this day. He started off with just one year in college – though he eventually got a business management degree – before getting a job at the forerunner to Signverse. “It’s the thing I’ve liked about signs since Day 1. It’s different every day,” he said. “Something as simple as a router table, what you can do with it when you understand it, is really amazing.”