Category Archive: Design Tips

Common Shapes for Nameplates

Popular Shapes for Nameplates

A nameplate’s shape is an essential consideration in the design process. A specific shape can help with brand identification or communicate a warning or other message. Instead of getting stuck in your branding efforts, looking at popular nameplate shapes and considering which work best with your specific nameplates can help you pinpoint the perfect design for your industry and uses. Here are some tips for choosing the right nameplate shape.

Common Nameplate Shapes

If you can’t decide which shape would work best for your nameplate, sometimes a simple design can solidify your brand. Some popular nameplate shapes include:

  • Rectangles
  • Squares
  • Ovals
  • Circles

Use your product design to determine which configuration works best for you. Then you can play around with different logos, taglines and graphics to figure out which shape looks best with each element. If you use one of the popular nameplate shapes listed above, keep in mind that you will also need to choose a specific size large enough to include multiple elements of your branding.

What Shapes Work Best With Nameplates?

Your nameplate shape matters. It allows you to display your branding, maintain within a particular budget, and stay compliant with particular military specifications if this applies to your blueprint. However, no one shape works best for a nameplate. You have unlimited options, and you don’t need to feel trapped into choosing the most common ones. You can design an emblem to fit a unique shape or use a combination shape to stand out from the crowd.

A unique shape can draw attention to your brand — away from the competition. A custom shape, may help your design resemble your logo or perhaps you need to blank out specific holes for a fitting purpose. However; keep in mind when designing a special shape, your custom tool may need to be manufactured in order to blank out your custom-designed parts. While we do have many stock tools in house, a custom tool can be quite costly. Ask us for a tooling quote with your project for larger runs or even consider water jet pricing for smaller quantities.

Tips for Choosing Nameplate Shape

Instead of automatically opting for a rectangular nameplate, take a look at what your company does and how you can create a nameplate that represents your core products.

Another key tip for choosing nameplate shape is to pick the right material. If you need a nameplate for outdoor uses, you should use a weather-resistant material that will hold up and retain whatever shape you choose.

Contact American Nameplate

Whenever you need a custom nameplate, American Nameplate is here for you. We work hard to find the shape that works best for your business, and we have one of the fastest turnaround times in the nameplate industry. Contact us today to learn more tips for choosing a nameplate shape so that we can help you improve your branding.

How Nameplates Promote Your Brand

Using Nameplates to Promote Your Brand

When you think of your brand, you may think of all the products you have created to promote it. Maybe you’ve placed your logo on a t-shirt or mugs, or it’s reflected on the signage around your building. Why shouldn’t your nameplate promote the same brand? You should include your brand on your nameplate for multiple reasons — and once you do, you’ll find you stand out from the competition even more.

What Is a Brand?

A brand is your company’s name, but it’s also more. It’s what your clients think of when they hear or see your name or what they know about the products you offer. To develop a brand, you have to establish a positive relationship between your company’s name and what people think of your business. Luckily, you can influence your customers through an eye-catching logo and a unique nameplate that makes you stand out.

How Nameplates Improve Product Brand

Your nameplates may not be the first thing you think of when establishing your brand. However, a nameplate provides a visual cue that introduces your products to the world. Once you pinpoint specific features associated with a particular product, try to create a nameplate that encompasses those features.

As you think about how your brand can benefit from nameplates, ask yourself a few questions:

  • What shape fits your product?
  • Do you have a logo you want to include?
  • Does a certain color match your brand?
  • Would metallic finishing make a difference?
  • Is there a way to make your nameplate stand out over the competition?

Consider a standard metal nameplate. Embossing can raise the characters on the plates to make your name stand out, giving your company’s name three-dimensional features. These embossed plates are often the most memorable, which can improve your product brand.

Reasons to Include Branding on a Nameplate

A nameplate is more than merely a sticker on your products. A particular finish can add depth and increase your product’s value. Quality nameplates make your products look even better, and as more people become familiar with your brand, they will be willing to pay more for a product.

You shouldn’t overlook the importance of nameplates in product branding. If you haven’t taken the time to flesh out your brand identity, it’s a great idea to consider what your company stands for the next time you want to create custom nameplates. You can also look at what your competitors are doing with their nameplates to see where you are already excelling or currently fall short.

Work With American Nameplate

American Nameplate is here to show you how your brand will benefit from nameplates. We create custom nameplates that will fit a variety of needs for your company. Our turnaround times are some of the fastest in the industry to ensure you get the products you need quickly. Contact us today for more information.

Guide to Designing Industrial Safety Labels

How to Design Industrial Safety Labels

Designing industrial safety labels is not a task to take lightly. The right labels can simplify actions, make people conditions safer and give workers a better idea of what to do with or around a particular object. Like common traffic symbols, specific colors, shapes and written content can make a notable difference in how people interpret a safety label, and these features can even save a life. If you need to design new industrial safety labels, consider these important elements to stay compliant and safe.

Important Elements of Safety Label Design

Any safety label design should include several key elements, including:

  • Content: Your safety and warning labels should convey exactly what a person needs to know and do to avoid getting hurt. Make sure your content is action-oriented and tells the reader precisely what will happen if they don’t follow instructions.
  • Pictures: Another factor to consider for your safety labels is the pictogram symbol you should include. This step is critical for communicating with anyone who does not read the label’s native language well. A professional pictogram will convey a severe hazard for the reader to avoid.
  • Signal word: A signal word is similar to a headline that will grab someone’s attention. A signal word such as “Warning” can communicate both the probability and severity of the hazard.
  • Durability: Finally, you should use a durable material that will stand up to the elements. Choosing squared or rounded corners that will prevent dangerous handling and opting for process that will hold up to chemicals is important depending on the industry you’re in.

Safety and Warning Labels Design Tips

As you consider how to create safety and warning labels, you’ll also need to look at the impact of color and shape. Color impacts everyday life as well as the subconscious. In the U.S., for example, red often means “stop” while green means “go.” The colors on your safety labels should be bright, bold and easily visible. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) have created a chart that shows what colors mean in the workplace to aid in creating safety label designs.

Symbols and shapes are some other essential elements of safety label design. Consider, for example, the octagonal shape of a stop sign that lets drivers know to stop. The appearance of safety labels conveys similar information. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has developed symbols that communicate information when words aren’t enough. For example, yellow triangles with exclamation points inside usually mean danger, warning or caution.

Choose American Nameplate

If you need more tips for designing industrial safety labels, American Nameplate can help. We have years of industry experience and one of the fastest turnaround times in the nameplate industry. We can get you safety and warning labels quickly and help you through the design process. Contact us today to learn more.

Signs You Need to Update Your Nameplate

How to Know When to Update Your Nameplate

Your brand should be evident in your products and in all that you do, including your nameplates. If it’s been a while since you last looked at your nameplates or your company has recently undergone significant changes, these could be signs you need an upgrade. Stay ahead of the competition by watching out for these common reasons you should change your nameplate.

1. You Changed Your Logo

Consistent corporate branding is necessary to generate company recognition. Everything from your email signatures to your store displays should feature an easily recognized logo. Whether you changed your font style or colors or completely redesigned your logo, you should update your nameplate to match this new theme. American Nameplate can use chemical etching, screen printing, and even stamping or embossing processes to revise your nameplates to reflect a logo change.

2. Your Company Merged With Another

Another reason to change your nameplate is if your company recently merged with another. Similar to a logo change, a merger will typically result in updated branding. As you start reviewing your products, take some time to look at your industrial labels as well so that the entire product reflects the branding change.

3. You Expanded Your Product Line

Expanding your company to offer more products is an exciting time, and it’s also a way to know your nameplate needs a makeover. Your nameplates’ current design may not work for additional product models. You may need to add a new model or product numbers, manufacturing dates, and additional safety information. It’s a good idea to check for any changes you should make, then build off your existing design to create a nameplate update that better fits your new products.

4. Your Product Changed

Likewise, you’ll know when to update your industrial labels if your product has changed. Maybe you haven’t released a particular product to the market in a while, or you’re upgrading some well-known merchandise with additional features. You can enhance your brand awareness by redesigning your nameplate to reflect these changes.

5. Your Competitors Updated Their Nameplates

Most companies are in tune with what their competitors are doing, including a change to their branding. If you notice that your competitors’ nameplates are more recognizable than yours, then you will know it’s time to update your industrial labels. Take a hard look at how your branding and messaging compares to your competitors, and work to catch up if you’re behind. Our nameplate specialists can help you stay up to date with the market and walk you through the best eye-catching nameplates or labels in the industry today.

Redesign Your Nameplate Today

When you notice signs you need to update your nameplate, don’t wait. American Nameplate is an industry leader with one of the fastest turnaround times in the nameplate business. We’ll work with you to create custom nameplates that will wow your customers and make your products stand out.

Contact us today to learn more about when to redesign your nameplate.

Guide to Namplates

Guide to Nameplates

guide to nameplates

We’ve all seen them. Yet few know the intricacies of their creation, materials and types — or fabrication, substrates and make in industry speak.

They’re metal nameplates, and today we’re outlining everything you need to know about these manufactured products to make your ideal selection.

In this in-depth guide, we’ll explore different types of metal nameplates, base nameplate materials and uses, and the detailing that transforms these items into hyper-custom products curated for a range of applications — as well as what to consider when it comes time to pick a metal nameplate.

What is a Nameplate?

Metal nameplates are a form of labeling commonly uses in commercial, industrial and aesthetic applications. They’re a bold way for businesses and individuals to imprint and mount messages, whether relaying product identification information per compliance rules, mounting safety instructions or — most commonly — branding names in a unique and long-lasting way.

Depending on the nature of the nameplate design as well as its intended application, metal nameplates can be fabricated from nearly a dozen substrates, molded to multiple sizes, scales, and thicknesses, attached with various adhesives and finished with many polishes and treatments. Their versatility is their hallmark, as is the branding potential for businesses employing them.

common industries include automobile nameplates, warehousing nameplates, appliances/equipment nameplates and apparel nameplates

Metal nameplates are particularly many in the following industries and for the following products:

  • Automobiles: From metal door plates and car logos to the serialized parts, makers and manufacturers place within their vehicles, metal nameplates are a mainstay in the automobile industry.
  • Warehousing: Regulatory requirements outline rigid standards within warehouse environments to display warning signs, safety instructions, and other security messages. Depending on that warehouse environment, metal nameplates become the perfect wall-mounted option for durable instructions signs that can weather dents, knicks, moisture exposure, chemicals, and high and low temperatures.
  • Appliances: It’s virtually standard for appliances to come with metal product tags and IDs displaying their brand or make. These machine labels constitute a popular application in the industry and one that sets the trend for other product identifiers, both household, and commercial.

Different Types of Nameplates

Metal nameplates are a prime choice when you have a sign or message requiring durability — but you don’t want to sacrifice appearance. At American Nameplate, we frequently see orders for the following metal-based products:

type of metal nameplates

1. Corporate Nameplates

Leave printed posters behind. Your company’s name grabs attention and imbues presence and power through a metal nameplate. With the right adhesive backing or wall fastener, corporate nameplates can be mounted in strategic branding locations beyond just the lobby. What’s more, the right metal nameplate partner can scale down larger versions of company branding signs into smaller logos or machinery, boxed products, and more, keeping branding consistent and further elevating metal nameplate impact.

2. Permanent Safety Signs

Fire-exit labels, warning signs, eyewash station designations, PPE-outfitting areas, traffic route labels on warehouse floors — the list of ways metal nameplates can be turned into long-lasting, regulatory and compliant safety signs is vast.

3. Operating Instructions, Tags and Plates

Metal nameplates are a dynamic way to add weatherable instructions on tools, equipment and more. This is particularly great for items installed in harsher environments, near heat or those requiring in-the-moment, on-hand instruction, such as certain metal valve plates or pump tags in boiler rooms.

4. Machine Labels

As noted above, machine labels are staple applications for metal tags and nameplates. From household and commercial appliances to industrial equipment and machinery, this high-use, highly robust pieces of equipment require equally robust branding.

5. Engraved Tags

From small run or large runs, metal and plastic tags engraved with your company name, information and logo are stand-out paraphernalia. They’re fade-resistant, and engraved plates can come in a range of metals or 2 toned engraver plastic colors picked to complement your brand.

6. Serialized or Product Identification Plates

For products used in demanding and harsh environments, things like product identification information, serial numbers and company information cannot fade. These directly comply with industry regulatory standards as well as are required for proper machine handling and maintenance. Metal plates ensure product and printed or stamped serial IDs last as long as the machine does, regardless of surrounding conditions.

Common Nameplate Materials

There are nearly a dozen base materials that can be manufactured into metal nameplates. These substrates provide the foundation for your nameplate selection, as different nameplate materials will come with different strengths, weatherability and reactive properties that must be keenly considered to choose the right nameplate material for you.

1. Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is one of the most common nameplate materials in today’s metal etching and plate fabrication market.

Stainless steel is incredibly long-lasting. It is stain-resistant to the vast majority of environmental taints, corrosions, and moisture-related damage, and hyper-durable. It will take a lot to dent or nick a stainless steel nameplate.

What’s more, the natural metallic sheen and clean finish of stainless steel are attractive in a number of environments, ensuring you get the most for your money without forgoing appearances.

2. Aluminum

Aluminum is the next most common metal nameplate material — and for good reasons.

The metal is relatively common, making it a more cost-effective alternative to other pure metals or alloys on the list. It is also on the malleable side, ideal for custom nameplates where intricate detailing, etching or shaping work is required. Finally, aluminum is one of the lightest and least dense of pure metals. Depending on your plate application, this can provide benefits when it comes to shaping and hanging the finished plate.

Many are attracted to aluminum’s natural coloration as well, which can vary depending on geographic sourcing as well as treatments during the fabrication process.

3. Brass

Brass is notable for applications such as plaques, mounted nameplates, designated awards, emblems and more. It comes across as more luxe and decorative than other metal nameplate types, namely because of its distinct coloration that can range from gold to scarlet.

For commercial and professional uses, brass’ copper and zinc-alloy base gives it solid durability and malleability when heated. The more zinc used in the mixture, the stronger this nameplate substrate will be.

4. Bronze

Bronze, like brass, is a copper-based alloy mixed with other metals such as tin, aluminum or manganese to increase its natural strength and bolster its resistance properties. It is one of the darkest naturally dark substrates that can be used with metal nameplates, more commonly applied on aesthetic or branded features rather than signage or metal posts meant to be read quickly.

5. Cold-Rolled Steel (CRS)

Cold-rolled, or cold-formed steel, is a common fabrication technique that uses low temperatures to morph steel into its finished form.

In the case of metal nameplates, cold-rolled steel allows a blank steel canvas to be the base for insignias, apparel labels, tags and more. It’s a maintenance-friendly and tough substrate with a variety of nameplate uses.

6. Zinc

Zinc nameplates give off an industrial look with an equally industrial level of durability. Considered a “living” metal, pure zinc changes color over time and will react to moisture, chemicals, and other environmental factors, turning soft shades of green, brown and blue. However, it’s malleable and rather soft, rendering zinc nameplates more likely to scratch yet also more responsive to decorative embellishments, detailed lettering, iconography and more.

7. Nickel-Silver

Also known as German silver, nickel-silver is a cost-competitive nameplate substrate close to brass in the alloy family tree. The two alloys carry similar properties, including high malleability but some susceptibility to nicks and dents. Nickel-silver is a popular choice namely for aesthetic reasons, as its natural silver sheen and polished look adds clean and bright pops to nameplates even before they have their finish.

8. Monel

Monel is a nickel-dominant alloy comprised mostly of nickel and copper. It also contains traces of iron, carbon, and silicon, contributing to its durability and strength as well as its strong anti-corrosive properties. It is stronger than both pure nickel and pure copper.

For nameplate applications, monel is often used for signage and plates in outdoor applications, where materials need to hold up to wind, rain and other exposure to the elements.

Things to Consider When Selecting a Nameplate

Nameplate specifications are critical when selecting the right, long-lasting metal nameplate. While the principal factor that goes into picking a metal nameplate will be its intended purpose, application is only the first of a few key considerations:

things to consider with nameplates

  • Nameplate material: The intended use of a nameplate goes hand-in-hand with what substrate you select. For example, any nameplate that will be outside and exposed to the elements needs an anti-corrosive, elemental-resistant metal base like stainless steel, while an indoor metal nameplate can prioritize color and malleability over durability.
  • Dimensions: Height, length, shape, and nameplate thickness are also essential to relay during ordering. These variables will further determine which substrate is right for your desired dimensions, as well as what detail work can be added to the finished product, such as squared, scalloped edges or rounded corners.
  • Finish: Depending on the decal or nameplate’s application, it may be pertinent to apply a protective coating or laminate to increase both the product’s durability and the lifespan of the overall plate. Finishes can also be for visual effect, making a nameplate stand out that much more.
  • Environmental conditions: How and where the metal nameplate will be on display directly influences all of the factors above. You will need to review the wear-and-tear your nameplate will be subjected to across its lifespan — think water, air, chemicals and oils from hand contact — plus any industry-specific conditions beyond these.
  • Adhesive or fasteners: How do you plan on mounting your metal sign or nameplate, if doing so? Adhesive backings or holes for wall fasteners bind your nameplate to a surface and influence its feasible dimensions, substrates or alloys. Different finishes such as a wood, plastic, or powder coat surfaces can affect the way your adhesive choice will adhere to the product over time.

What Are Metal Nameplate Manufacturers?

Metal nameplate manufacturers are your partners in the design and creation of commercial, aesthetic or industrial nameplates.

metal nameplate manufacturers

Our operations provide full-service, custom plate fabrication to cater to both small and large nameplate runs. We can consult with new and existing clients that require assistance on what kind of nameplate to choose, navigating the different types of nameplates and understanding the lifespans, affordances, and technicalities of each.

The best metal nameplate manufacturers can assist in end-to-end nameplate production. From reading blueprints and mockups to submitting final proofs and mass fabrication, our sales representatives give expertise and guidance across the entire production process to ensure you’re getting the product you need, when you need it.

Tips When Choosing an Industrial Nameplate Manufacturer

Metal nameplates are more than etched words or mounted signs. They relay what’s important, who you are and what you’re about, convey branding messages and instill a personality or set of characteristics into the goods and products associated with your name.

Whether you’re an small or large manufacturer of your own products or merchandise, there are a few tips and tricks to bear in mind when picking a metal nameplate supplier.

  • Stay on-brand: Overly-embellished nameplates can appear unprofessional. On the other hand, unadorned plates or tags may work against the brand you’ve curated or even make your products appear bland and simplistic. Match your metal nameplates with current branding aesthetics, finding a supplier with the customization capabilities to do so.
  • Research vendor run specialties: What is a potential supplier’s average production capacity? Will you be ordering tags, nameplates, signs, and plaques at run rates that exceed what they’ve done before — or potentially worse, are so small your orders aren’t given proper attention? Run capacities are imperative to know from the get-go to assure you don’t see production and delivery hiccups hurting your bottom line.
  • Look for supplier certifications: Nameplate manufacturing has its own industry certifications that indicate independent parties have vetted a company for nameplate quality, compliance, transparency, and production protocol. There are numerous certification agencies to inquire about when vetting potential metal-fabrication partners, including FM ApprovalsUL Marketing and Labeling Systems and UL Authorized Label SuppliersIntertek Quality Assurance and RoHS 2 compliance.
  • Check your own certifications and requirements: Will your nameplates need to adhere to OSHA or ANSI standards? Do they require inclusions like QR Codes or barcodes? What about military-grade industry specifications listed on the drawing or blueprint? If so, have the suppliers you’re vetting produced similar products in the past — or at least proven they’re capable of meeting these production demands?

Take Your Metal Nameplates to the Next Level

take your metal nameplates to the next level

With American Nameplate, you get a metal fabrication partner that knows the importance of information and brand display — and has made a business of it for over eight decades.

We’re industry leaders in etched, engraved and screen-printed industrial metal nameplates and decals, as well as many other metal-based substrate products produced to make a mark.

Explore our portfolio of metal nameplate work or contact us today to get started on your ideal metal manufacturer partnership.

Before ordering a Nameplate – Here are some things to consider…

There are many different aspects to consider before buying a nameplate, decal, graphic overlay, dial, or label for your company.

First, consider its main and primary function. Will this be used for product identification, safety, serial numbering, or just branding purposes?

Determining the use can help narrow down the process which works best for you and your company. For example, if you’re looking to have your brand “stand out” above the rest, embossing is a great way to create a lasting 3D impression. Keep in mind that embossing a nameplate can have its drawbacks for its impeccable style. Some of these draw backs will be highlighted later in our blog, but one main concern is the cost produce a male and female die set special for your 1 of a kind nameplate. Perhaps you’re looking for a nameplate that’s main focus is safety or legibility? This type of nameplate may be better suited for an Etched process. Etched nameplates can hinder fading or illegibility over generations of use.  Looking for a more economical route with a bit more color? Check out our Screened nameplates as an alternative.

Second, consider is how the nameplate/label will be handled?

This is essential in determining if any corner fabrication is needed. For example, is the nameplate being handled daily by workers? In these cases, rounded corners are often preferred. We here at American Nameplate have various corner radius sizes to fit your needs including scalloped, squared, rounded, and if a specific size/shape is needed for your design, our specialists can always quote a specific tool for the job at a premium cost.

Lastly, Where and how will the nameplate/label be displayed?

We offer multiple fabrication options such as holes and a variety of adhesives. Concluding the final placement of your nameplate is imperative to configuring location and size of holes in order to mount your nameplate with screws/fasteners. If you don’t have a need for holes, we stock various types of adhesives that may work best for your product and surface. Different finishes such as: paints, bare metals, power-coats, wood, heated surfaces, and etc can affect the way your adhesives bonds to the surface.

Our specialists can help you determine which nameplate will best fit your needs based on quantity, purpose, needs, handling, and surface material. Call our office today to speak directly with a member of our sales team!