In some cases, signage with graphics that scream for attention do the job. But there are other times when a subtle yet enhanced effect is just the right fit, and a standoff system can fill that need. Adjectives that people use to describe the appearance of standoff systems include sleek, stylish and modern. Today’s standoff systems are practically a mainstay for today’s office environments, as well as other locations where a company wants to promote an air of professionalism.
With a standoff system, the clean hardware complements almost any environment while also giving an added flair to the signage.
Benefits Of Standoff Systems
In particular, using a standoff system takes an ordinary signage panel and gives it a three-dimensional look, which not only enhances the sign itself but also the surrounding area, says Paul Bernstein, vice president of Metomic Corporation, a manufacturer of standoff systems in Chicago. Plain signage sits flushed against the wall, but that added dimension turns more heads and gives the space a more luxurious feel.
Standoff systems now have unique presentations, such as these wire-hanging signs. (Photo courtesy of Gyford StandOff Systems)
“A standoff system absolutely makes a sign more effective,” Bernstein says. “It makes the sign look richer and definitely helps gain more impressions. Whether it’s strictly being used as a directory sign, guide sign or to merchandise a product, it makes a better impression on the market that you’re trying to reach.”
Standoffs are also compatible with many types of substrates, including acrylic, wood and glass—all of which work well in those high-end settings, says Emily Cordes, fabrication shop manager of Rowmark, a plastic sheet manufacturer in Findlay, Ohio. Substrates that are too thin or lack structure, however, don’t work well with standoff systems.
Among standoff end users, some markets that are seeing especially strong growth include ADA signage and the retail segment, Bernstein says. The three-dimensional effect of standoff systems helps these displays stand out in their environments, which is particularly important in these applications where the messaging must be noticed. Retailers can also use standoff systems to change their graphics to promote new sales or products as needed, and for this market, the need for message flexibility is a common requirement.
“Standoffs allow retailers to focus on particular products they want to draw attention to or market at a different time,” Bernstein says. “They also give the sign manufacturer the option to use multiple substrates or different colored media that can be combined with a group of standoffs to give it a substantially different effect away from the wall, which helps bring more impressions to the message.”
Corporate environments are another popular place for standoff systems. (Photo courtesy of Gyford StandOff Systems)
The health care and higher education industries are also popular markets for standoff systems, Cordes says. Both of these markets often display donor walls, giving the displays a sophisticated look and, like the retail market, access to making quick updates.
Working With Standoff Systems
While the process can vary depending on the application, installation of standoff systems tends to be simple. In the most basic installation, the installer first screws four standoff barrels into the wall with one going in each corner, Cordes says. The panels are then affixed to the system, and from there, the system can be tighten with a set screw. The typical required tools are a drill and the pieces that come with the standoff system. Of course, there are different processes for complex standoff systems.
“For a more complicated installation, you might want to use a stud finder if you’re installing a heavy panel,” Cordes says. “A lot of times, people want to at least get part of their standoff into a stud for extra security and weight, and you’re also going to want a level to make sure everything is aligned correctly.”
Before mounting the system, the installer should note the type of wall that will be used, says Lauren Lake, marketing coordinator of Gyford StandOff Systems, a designer and manufacturer of aluminum and stainless steel decorative mounting hardware. Various wall surfaces call for different mounting requirements, and the installer should be prepared before he or she starts the process.
“For example, if you are mounting to drywall, you will need a nylon wall anchor and combination screw,” Lake says. “To install, you simply drill a pilot hole in your surface, tap in the nylon anchor with a hammer until it is flush with your surface, and drive the combination screw with a hex bit into the anchor. Then, you are ready to thread on your standoff barrel.”
An installer should be aware of a standoff system’s environment, as well, Cordes says. Standoff systems that are in high-traffic areas are more likely to face damage and vandalism, and some units are better equipped to handle the extra tampering. For example, some standoff systems simply screw off while others have separate caps from the studs, making them potentially more susceptible to vandalism. However, in a busy environment, Cordes recommends using a standoff system with a tamper-proof set screw that locks.
When buying a standoff system, a sign shop should consider its future before making purchasing decisions, Bernstein says. Typical standoff systems measure at 3/4 inch and 1 inch in diameter, and for sign shops that anticipate a good deal of future projects at those sizes, buying in bulk may make the most sense. Many manufacturers offer discounted prices when buying in bulk, which also allows a sign shop to always have inventory on hand for that last-minute project.
“Our prices are strictly based on quantity, so the more you’re able to purchase, the greater your discount is going to be,” Bernstein says. “We always advise stores that if standoffs are something you’re going to be promoting and there’s a size you are comfortable with using on a regular basis, your money is better spent buying a larger quantity and keeping them in your inventory, so you have them readily available for your customers.”
The high-quality materials of today’s standoff systems are evident by their appearance. (Photo courtesy of ClearPath)
Moving forward, Corde expects standoff systems to keep gaining ground, particularly as more shapes, such as hexagons and triangles, are introduced into the market. The traditional standoff system has always taken on a four-corner design, but these unique shapes add a new element that attracts more eyes. Today’s standoff systems also offer a new bar-style display clamp for added interest.
“Standoffs are only going to continue to grow,” Cordes says. “People are backing away from framing substrates, especially with the more beautiful substrates coming into market. They want to showcase those and a standoff system is a good way to do that.”