Noella Cotnam has been creating signs that have found a home all around the world since 1982 and says that it is as much fun now as when she first started. From left: Noella Cotnam, Graham Greer.   Tinkess photo.

You never know who you are going to run into at the Ottawa Farm Show.

If you’ve travelled around eastern Ontario, chances are you’ve come across any number of signs created by Williamstown’s Sign It Signs and Design. They are known for their dimensional signs, and they come in all shapes and sizes, but there is one thing they have in common: They were created by someone who has a passion for what she does and has taken branding and turned it into an artform.

Noella Cotnam is the founder of Sign It Signs and Design and She has been creating a visual representation of other’s dreams and identities for 42 years. When speaking with her, it quickly becomes apparent that she enjoys what she does. Could it possibly be as much fun as when you started out?

“It is,” said Cotnam, “sometimes even more fun.”

The company got its start in Williamstown but moved into Cornwall to facilitate the growth of the business. They are back in Williamstown now though and operate in a 4,000 sq. ft. timber frame shop and design studio. In addition to signs, the business can provide logo design, sculpture, vehicle signage, murals and much more. The sky is the limit: you come to Sign It with an idea and they will work with you to create something that captures the essence of who you are and what your business is.

I mentioned earlier that you can see Sign It’s handiwork throughout eastern Ontario, but that’s not the only place you will find it. “Well, I’ve shipped to Denmark, South America, Guam, all over the US,” said Cotnam. “We delivered some signs to Florida in December. I didn’t realise he needed them before the end of the month. So, I threw them in the truck, drove all the way down and came all the way back. We get them wherever they have to go.”

One of the other people who help create the magic that Sign It is known for is perhaps better known for his impact on the music scene in Cornwall and the area. Graham Greer of Barstool Prophets fame again proves that creativity doesn’t usually limit itself to one genre.

“We had been talking about it for seven or eight years easily,” said Cotnam.

“We had mutual friends in common about 20 years ago,” added Greer. “And I happened to mention that I did welding. Okay. And Noella had me come in and weld some bracketry initially. And then we got talking about other things, and over the years, I have helped to do some installs when she was short of hands.

“We hit it off really early. We were fast friends, and then, about a year and a half ago, two years ago now she said, yeah, do you want to come work with me? There you go, now I’m her lackey, I’m her man Friday.”

 That’s the thing about creativity, while you may be fortunate enough to make it your life’s work, it isn’t something you ever think about retiring from. If you’re a creative person you always want to see what you can create next.

“I think Noella is a testament to that,” said Greer. “She does what she loves. And she’s done it a long time and will continue to do it.”

Sign It is located at 18899 County Road 19, just west of Williamstown, Ontario. You can reach them by phone at 613 931 9471 or through their website at or

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