When hanging a sign to welcome customers or update their look, businesses want their message to get noticed more than the actual sign on a post, pole or the side of a building.
“The sign is a backdrop to their brand, so it’s not overstating their message. It’s something that goes along with their theme,” says Kristin Schlegel, head of new product development sales and marketing for Metalcraft Industries, Inc., in Ocala, Florida. “You don’t want to be louder than their message. You want it to be a clean look, so the sign still stands out.”
Companies that make sign display products offer traditional and trendy options for sign brackets and sign display technology to give businesses the attention they need. Brackets are used in various ways, such as connecting the sign to a wall, mounting it between two posts for a post-and-panel system, mounting it on a single post, hanging it from an overhead beam, a bracket mounted on a wall or post as in the case of blade signs.
“Rectangular signs will always be a staple, but I think boldly shaped substrates with captivating graphics attract the attention of customers walking and driving by,” says Charlie Capps, director of Hooks & Lattice for the Sign Bracket Store in Carlsbad, California.
Trending Sign Shapes, Lines
Trending are circular sign blanks and distinctive sign shapes, such as rounds and ovals, Capps says, adding that the items are popular for Sign Bracket Store, possibly because sign shops do not have the CNC equipment to make perfectly round and oval sign blanks.
“We have found that sign shops are more interested in our non-swinging, fixed style brackets that have a more modern, contemporary feel,” Capps says, adding that sign blanks need the right sign bracket to hold them in place since the bracket is the foundation for a good-looking sign. “Lighted sign brackets are up-ticking right now, as businesses want signs to be seen 24-7.”
Schlegel sees a lot of modern, clean lines, straight shafts and silver mill or raw finishes in sign brackets. A popular choice for displaying square and rectangular signs is the architectural modern straight shaft sign bracket, which has clean lines and a straight arm without any twists and is constructed out of steel with a powder-coat finish.
“There’s no ‘Old World scroll,’ and it’s very clean looking,” Schlegel says.
A traditional old-world look with a scroll accent also is a popular choice for sign brackets, Schlegel says, adding that the choice depends on the type of business. A juice bar, for instance, likely would want clean lines, while a retail business or attorney’s office would opt for either, she says. The old-world look is often used for historic areas or more traditional business and retail locations, she says.
Metalcraft Industries’ deluxe scroll bracket with a twisted shaft arm is another popular option for sign displays. Company owner Kevin Liles developed the signature bracket with a twisted shaft to give the look of a traditional wrought iron bracket that also is substantial and durable. It is handcrafted from a twisted tubular steel shaft and adorned with scroll ironwork.
“It really is a signature look,” Schlegel says. “It goes with old-world architecture.”
Metalcraft Industries also sells a new oversized version of extruded frames with printed graphics on aluminum, referred to as decorative street components or architectural metal fabrication, which the company recently displayed at the Southeast Building Conference in August in Orlando. The sign displays, which are standalone or panel to panel, are a fit for the hospitality, spa and restaurant industries, plus generated interest among interior designers and architects, Schlegel says.
The extruded frames created by Metalcraft Industries are a sign display that allows messages and colors to be interchanged, often used in the retail industry, Schlegel says.
“It looks like a piece of artwork because you’re doing bending or weaving between other pieces of metal and utilizing colors and graphics that can be quickly changed out for seasonal and sales events,” Schlegel says.
Most of Metalcraft Industries’ sign brackets can fit on a round pole or square post and come in aluminum or steel and have a curved or flat channel mount, or they can be customized to order. The widths generally are 24, 36 or 48 inches or can be larger or smaller. The brackets are powder coated to provide a long-lasting, durable, peel-resistant finish.
Another option for anchoring signs is a post-and-panel system that doesn’t use any brackets or hardware, is easy to install and is intended for outdoor applications, Schlegel says.
“It’s a nice routed, shaped piece of aluminum,” Schlegel says. “It has ears off the side of it. Poles are slotted to the thickness of the ears. You drop it into the pole.”
Sign Bracket Store, which creates sign brackets and blanks, makes its sign brackets out of steel that are hand-forged and formed. Once the brackets are welded together, they are powder-coated to resist rust and corrosion. They can be mounted to poles or posts, and most styles can be customized.
“All of our sign brackets are hand-assembled and forged and, while they have a ‘wrought iron’ look, are fabricated from steel, which is stronger and longer-lasting,” Capps says.
The brackets have steel backplates that are created to work with their weight and length. Pre-drilled holes on the plates allow sign shops and business owners to bolt the brackets on to almost any surface.
The brackets come in “distinctive shapes with a modern approach to signage,” Capps says. They offer “eye-catching designs that will grab the attention of customers when sign shops add their graphics and company logos,” he says.
Sign Bracket Store sells a new fixed-mount Eclipse bracket, available for the past year, and because of its success, has added another style called the Cerchio Bracket. It’s a banner bracket constructed out of one-inch square steel tubing, powder-coated and finished in black, presenting a modern minimalist design.
“These products come with a PVC sign blank option, so sign shops just have to add graphics and install the bracket,” Capps says. “They look like a custom-grade bracket but are just one of the standard brackets we offer.”
The brackets have many benefits, but the one drawback to the larger brackets is they cannot ship UPS, Capps says. Instead, they have to ship common carrier on a pallet, adding to the overall expense, he says.
“Many of our styles are in stock and ship quickly,” Capps says. “We can customize sign brackets for the discerning customer or if you have very specific mounting conditions.”
Some More Options
Gyford Décor, which brands as Gyford Standoff Systems, in Reno, Nevada, offers brackets and other products for a modern or old-world look.
“We have noticed appealing trends blending old and new,” says Brad Wass, who works in visual communications in graphics and marketing for Gyford Décor. “Our satin aluminum finish and overall component design lends itself to a modern feel. However, customers designing for a surface with warm wood, brick, iron or patina take advantage of our custom powder-coating options.”
Gyford Décor makes many of its sign display products out of aluminum and stainless steel-aluminum is lightweight and strong and stainless steel is even stronger with anti-corrosive properties that protect against the elements, Wass says.
“Brackets are available in so many options from simple function to highly ornate and when chosen discerningly will complement your customer’s brand,” Wass says, adding that some brackets are not made for the elements and that the type of surface and weight of the sign should be considered for mounting. “Unique signs receive a second look and a longer gaze. Sign brackets add dimension and visibility from different angles.”
Art SignWorks, Inc., in Murrieta, California, makes custom steel, wrought iron, aluminum and wood hardware brackets, fixtures and supports with the woods less common, including cedar, redwood, oak and mahogany. Steel or aluminum brackets, when properly designed with thick cross-sections, have the strength to support the sign in the elements.
“These are works of art and can enhance the beauty of the sign if designed properly,” says Paul Williamson, president and principal owner of Art SignWorks. “They look great, are strong, last 20 years or longer and require little or no maintenance.”
Popular choices for sign displays are wrought iron scroll brackets, custom overhead and side steel brackets, and overhead wood beam brackets for blade signs, Williamson says.
“Elaborate and interesting blade signs are very popular in downtown shopping areas, strip malls and shopping malls where there is no room to put up large monument or post-and-panel signs,” Williamson says. “Projecting blade signs are much more noticeable and can be more interesting than wall signs over a store’s or restaurant’s door. An important part of a blade sign is an attractive, impressive overhead steel bracket projecting from the wall that supports and displays the sign.”