Category Archive: Guides

All About Engraved Nameplates

Engraved Nameplates

engraved nameplates

If you are looking for nameplates for your products that will fit your industry’s standards, you have probably stumbled upon engraving. You may be wondering if engraved nameplates are the right option for your business’s needs and how the process works.

Etched, engraved, screen-printed and embossed nameplates all have their benefits. But an engraving can offer many advantages, such as resistance to fading and abrasions and a superior aesthetic that will stand the test of time.

In this guide, we’ll discuss how engraved nameplates are made, their unique advantages and how they can work for your business.

How Are Engraved Nameplates Made?

Engraving nameplates is a precise science. First, you must choose the best material for your purposes. While some textures have a beautiful appearance, others are more durable and better suited to withstand the elements. After you choose a material, submit a design and select a shape, your nameplate will be engraved. A computerized process produces accuracy that’s impossible to get using other imprint methods.

Materials for Engraved Nameplates

The most common materials for engraved nameplates are plastic and metal. Popular choices for engravings include:

material for engraved nameplates

  • Aluminum: Aluminum offers a durable and cost-effective material. It’s more common than other pure metals and alloys, making it less expensive. Aluminum is malleable, which makes it great for logos, diagrams or custom fonts with intricate details. As one of the least-dense pure metals, it is easy to shape and adhere. Many admire aluminum for its natural coloration, which varies depending on the metal’s source and its finish.
  • Brass: This metal gives off a brushed finish and has many aesthetic nameplate applications. Plaques, mounted nameplates, engraved awards, and emblems all standout against its gold or scarlet color. In industrial settings, this zinc and copper alloy is durable and malleable when heated.
  • Stainless steel: A popular choice for almost any nameplate, stainless steel is stain resistant, anti-corrosive and sturdy. Impervious to most nicks and dents, stainless steel also provides a mill finish and a natural sheen, making it as attractive as it is tough.
  • Monel: Monel is an alloy of nickel and copper that offers another choice for outdoor use. With traces of iron, carbon, and silicon, monel is resistant to wind, rain, and other elements. The naturally dark bronze or the high-polished finish of nickel-silver offer elegant branding.
  • Phenolic: If you need a non-conductive material, try phenolic. Phenolic is a material made from a thermoset resin that is low-glare and scratch-resistantWhile it’s not recommended for outdoor use, it is a great option for nameplates on indoor electrical equipment.
  • Engraver’s stock plastic: Engraver’s stock allows for a two-toned finish, so the print will match your brand’s color palette. Plastic is a low-cost option that will work for most indoor applications.


How Engraving Works

Engraving creates a recess in whichever material you’ve chosen for the engraving. The process uses a rotary cutting tool synced with a computer, which creates a clean edge and cuts to a small depth.

Engravers might also use a carbon dioxide laser, which creates a more shallow incision. Laser engravings can also produce barcodes alongside custom text and graphics. With laser engraving, a high-heat laser beam cuts into the metal or plastic and vaporizes this material to reveal a cavity.

An engraving can be filled in with paint or left without fill, depending on your preferences.

If you have specific needs, you can choose to send a blueprint of your design and specifications to our specialists to confirm an engraved nameplate will meet your needsOr you may send an artwork file and select from a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials from our quote form. At American Nameplate, we accept AI, EPS, PDF, CDR, DWG, and DXF file types.

After submitting materials, you will receive a proof to ensure the plates meet all of your requirements. After your approval, the nameplates will go into production. Production time will vary depending on your order specific variables.

At American Nameplate, we offer some of the fastest turnaround times in the business, with a standard of two to three weeks. We also provide an Eagle Express service for time-sensitive requests. If you need to reorder a nameplate you’ve already ordered from us in the past, Eagle Express will send your order within three business days. For new requests, we will ship within six business days after proof approval.

Benefits of Engraving Nameplates

Between its durability and superior workmanship, engraving offers several key advantages. Engraving allows you to meet the highest standards, so crucial information will last as long as the products you manufacture do. Engraving is precise enough to carve bar codes, specific fonts, and logos.

These benefits combine to produce nameplates a cut-above those created using other techniques. Some of the most significant benefits of engraving nameplates include:

benefits of engraving nameplates


Some engravings carved in ancient Rome are still readable today. On the face of historic buildings or churches, you’re likely to find plaques that were engraved hundreds of years ago. Engraving stands the test of time. Engravings have a deeper and cleaner line than etchings or stamps, which helps them resist wear.

Thanks to detailed computer codes and precise cutting tools, engraving is more accurate than etching or silk screening. Against the right material, the crisp edge can endure many environments, including:

  • Extreme temperatures
  • Rough surfaces and abrasion
  • Demanding weather conditions
  • Corrosive substances

Customization and Flexibility

Engraved nameplates offer more customization. While you can stamp a nameplate, you’ll be limited to the typefaces that the nameplate manufacturer has in stock. But with engraving, screen printing, and etching, various fonts, graphic, or design you come up with can be engraved into metal or plastic.

You can carve essential safety procedures alongside illustrative pictographs, or serial numbers and contact information alongside a beautifully rendered logo.

With laser engraving, you will get even more flexibility. You can work with varying degrees of thickness for both materials and line depth. But, laser engraving also allows you to engrave onto rough, rounded, or uneven surfaces with ease.

Superior Quality

The strength, legibility and professional look of engraved nameplates make them so versatile. They also stand out for their distinct appearance, perceivable by sight and touch. It’s easy to see the craftsmanship of an engraved nameplate, and using one on your products will be a testament to their quality, too. Engraving has a long history, so engraved fixtures look old-fashioned, smart and sophisticated.

Because both rotary and laser engraving uses such precise cutting tools, you can expect the quality and accuracy of the engravings will be consistent, even on orders in the thousands or higher.

Common Uses and Applications for Engraved Nameplates

Many industries use engraved nameplates when their products or machinery need to be custom. Logos, branded graphics, informative diagrams and more look best engraved.

We often think of engraved nameplates for plaques, awards and mounted plates, but they are practical in the industrial space as well. You will often find engraved labels on motors, pumps, asset identification tags, and industrial machinery.

Engraved nameplates last for years, which makes them ideal for permanent signage and safety information. For example, industrial laboratories use engraved nameplates to label fixtures, such as eyewash stations, and to print safety instructions on the equipment. Engraved signage for fire exits, warning signs and traffic route labels on warehouse floors are visible and permanent.

Manufacturers, rental companies and businesses with lots of equipment to keep track of should consider laser-engraved asset identification tags. Engraved barcodes are peel and fade resistant, helping you track your assets for years to come.

Engraved metal nameplates are heat resistant and can provide readable instructions, even in harsh environments. In areas like boiler rooms that need quick in-the-moment instructions, engraved nameplates can provide quick operating instructions for valve plates or pump tags.

uses for engraved nameplates

Some other industries that can benefit from engraved nameplates include:

Automotive Industry

Vehicles must pass thorough inspections and federal regulations, so proper identification should be visible on all parts of an automobile. To keep up with competitors, branding that won’t fade with time is critical for the automotive industry. Because of this, engraving is an excellent way for automotive manufacturers to display information for dealers, mechanics, and customers. Serialized parts can help ensure replacement parts are correct for a car’s make and model.

Nameplates preserve records for companies and contractors, making it easy for them to keep track of parts and reference information during resales and accidents.

Aerospace Industry

Airplanes and airplane manufacturers face increasingly high standards for machinery and parts. In an industry where safety is paramount, proper labeling can save lives.

In the aerospace business, we recommend pairing your engravings with durable metal. Metal engraved nameplates can show inspectors and workers vital information, such as technical specifications, serial codes, dates, places of manufacturing and warning labels. This helps planes pass inspections and pilots avoid disasters.

Labeling lets employees keep track of parts, eases navigation through supply chains and aids in resales, organizational changes, and disasters.

Construction Industry

If you manufacture construction equipment and tools, your instruments are being used every day at job sites. Having branded nameplates will help associate your quality products with your name. Construction workers and site managers will be able to tell whose products they are using with a customized nameplate featuring your logo.

For construction businesses, engraved nameplates offer a way to improve communication with your employees. Having printed safety instructions, policies and OSHA regulations on heavy-duty equipment keeps your employees safe and increases trust. While you should always train workers before they operate machinery, it can be easy to forget information like weight limits or the proper PSI needed for tires. Nameplates make this information readily available.

Whether you are a manufacturer or a construction manager, engraved nameplates can help you clearly label your equipment and resist wear. Your signage can be read even in bright light, and will not fade even after years of harsh sunlight.

Furniture Industry

In the furniture industry, an engraved nameplate adds an elegant branded element to any piece that will last as long as the product does. Branding lets customers know who manufactured their goods years later when it’s time for them to redecorate. In addition to adding brand visibility to these pieces, a nameplate offers a space for contact, warranty or manufacturing information.

Proper labeling of furniture can offer a benefit to inventory management for both furniture manufacturers and furniture rental companies. They can help you record pieces during large production runs, or help you track and prove ownership of your rental collection to prevent property loss.

Original Equipment Manufacturing Industry

For original equipment manufacturers, nameplates are essential for helping end-users stay safe when working with new equipment and tools. For items that will withstand harsh weather or wear and tear, an engraved nameplate will ensure that all safety information and protocols stays firmly adhered to their surfaces.

Engraved nameplates can feature technical specifications, manufacturing locations, serial numbers and warnings for products. The durable markings of a recessed engraving ensure this information stays clean and readable, no matter the conditions. Original equipment manufacturers need to meet strict regulations on the permanence of markings and labels, so make sure to source your engravings from an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) recognized provider. Make sure to contact American Nameplates before selling your products to ensure proper labeling that meets the regulations of your industry.

Custom Designers

For custom designers, one of the most significant benefits of engraved nameplates is their high-customization. When you create one-of-a-kind commission pieces or limited-edition runs, an engraved nameplate offers a high-quality label or branded element to the finished product. The precision of engraving allows you to produce nameplates as unique as the work you create. Including sleek contact information that lets those who work with your product know who to call for their custom-design needs.

American Nameplates allows custom designers to order nameplates in batches as small as one, so you can give yourself credit for the work you produce without worrying about minimum order quantities.

Trust American Nameplates With Your Engraved Nameplates

trust american nameplate with engraved nameplate

Engraved nameplates can offer a superior appearance and a durable alternative to other nameplate options. At American Nameplates, we can work with you and the regulations of your industry to ensure an inspection-passing, long-lasting engraved nameplate.

If you are unsure of where to start, we can recommend materials that can withstand the necessary conditions and provide you with the most cost-effective options. If you already have a blueprint or the exact specifications you need for your plates, we can execute your engraving flawlessly in any quantity. Request a free quote today, or send us your artwork and specifications to get started.

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.

All About Etched Nameplates

all about etched nameplates

When it comes to the world of nameplates, there’s an impressive amount of variety. There are paper nameplates, cardboard nameplates, wood, cardstock, and metal nameplates. You might even see printed or embossed nameplates. There’s nothing wrong with any of these options and, given the right situation, they may be the perfect solution for your company. But we think there’s nothing more beautiful, classic or functional than an etched metal nameplate.

What is an etched nameplate? What’s the process of making one? What advantages do they offer over other sorts of nameplates? Whether you’re thinking of getting one or have already gotten one and are looking to learn more information, this guide will be valuable for you.

What Are Etched Metal Nameplates?

A nameplate is often an identification label with many uses, such as equipment identifiers, instructional directions, valve tags, serial numbered plates, labeling fire doors, indicating OSHA or ASME regulations and many more.

Manufacturers use a few different options to create etched metal nameplates. Here are a few of the most common ones:

  • Brass: Brass gives your nameplate an elegant gold sheen.
  • Bronze: While brass gives more of a true gold color, bronze offers a color that’s closer to reddish-gold.
  • Aluminum: This metal is an incredibly plentiful resource, meaning aluminum is easy and inexpensive to acquire and extremely cost-effective to work with.
  • Stainless steel: Stainless steel offers the advantage of being the most durable material to work with, as it boasts resistance to corrosion, scratching, extreme heat, acids and more.

Finally, the etching element refers to the way the information or design gets written onto the plate. The letters themselves get etched onto the metal, creating a copy or background indent. That copy then either remains natural or gets filled in with a specific color of your choice. The overall finish is sleek, classic and highly refined, presenting a more polished appearance than a typical label plate where the name is on a sticker or glued to a piece of paper.

To define an etched nameplate, then, we would say it’s a small metal plaque with a word, phrase or image etched directly into the metal.

Nameplate Etching Process

how to make etched nameplates

Just as there are multiple different metals suitable for making nameplates, there are several methods for creating etched nameplates. All these methods have their pros and cons, and some are more practical in one situation, while others may be more practical in another. While these different methods have their place, we create etched nameplates here at American Nameplate using chemical acid etching.

What does the acid etching process entail? First, we create an artwork film based on the proof approved for your metal nameplate. The film is then carefully shot in our film room onto a silk screen using vacuums and UV light to burn it into our industrial mesh screen. A specific emulsion compound is used to block parts of the copy intended to be left natural, while the rest of the design remains exposed. The plate is then prepped to be dipped into our acid tanks for etching. Submerging the plate in acid allows it to wear away the exposed sections of metal, “burning” the design right into the metal’s surface and creating the finished etched look. Once we have reviewed the finished metal sheet thoroughly for the correct copy and any other defects, the etched nameplate can either be finished with different fabrication options, like polishing, rounded corners, added adhesive or holes, or sent back to production and filled in with a specific color of your choice.

Common Applications of Etched Metal Nameplates

Wondering when to use an etched nameplate? They’re appropriate for industrial companies looking to mark their products with information such as model numbers, manufacturing dates or serial numbers. They can also be found on products displaying specific safety information or directional instructions. You’ll often see them on fire doors, aircraft and even military vehicles, submarines or weapons. Many companies offer plenty of opportunities to use etched metal nameplate applications.

common applications for nameplate 2

Some of the most common places where you might expect to notice these types of etched plates include:

  • Manufacturing equipment
  • UL-approved or certified products
  • Military products
  • Company branding products

These are all familiar places where employees or the public might look for confirmation that they are following the appropriate protocol or safety precautions. As such, it’s a courtesy to provide these helpful nameplates to let people know they’re moving in the right direction.

Just a few of the industries that commonly use nameplates such as these include:

  • Automobile
  • Warehouse
  • Apparel
  • Appliances

While these industries are some of the heaviest users of etched metal plates, these nameplates can be useful virtually anywhere there’s a need.

Although information and labels are the most common things to get etched onto plates, they’re far from the only things. It might also be appropriate to etch out the company’s logo, as well as the company’s name. Even a phrase such as a company’s motto could be an excellent choice.

The Benefits of an Etched Metal Nameplate

Etched metal nameplates represent the very best, offering advantages and benefits comparable types of plates can’t provide. Every material has its pros and cons, and it’s up to you to evaluate those and decide what’s best for your setting. Despite this, we think an etched metal plate is the clear choice in almost every situation.

Here are a few of the reasons that’s true, and some of the advantages of etched metal plates.

1. Cost Efficiency

A good nameplate is an investment. Because of this, when you buy one, you want to choose one that’s going to stand up against years of life without fading, staining or succumbing to the natural wear and tear of life. Often, this means paying slightly more up front to make up for the cost of replacing the etched nameplate or having it repaired year after year. Rather than going for a cheaper model, it makes more sense to buy the best quality and watch as it lasts for years.

Because etched metal plates are so durable, there isn’t a lot that can truly damage them. They’ll easily outlast the competition, making them the smart and economical choice.

2. Durability

The durability of these plates is, of course, inherently tied to their cost-effectiveness. Still, this is a benefit unto itself as well. These plates are difficult to damage, vandalize or deface, even if you wanted to. Because of that, you can be sure they’ll remain shining brightly, no matter how rough your environment is.

It’s also worth mentioning that durability is tied to the specific metal you choose for your plate. Stainless steel is inarguably the most durable and sturdiest choice, although aluminum and bronze are also suitable choices.

3. Minimal Stress to the Metal

Stamping, punching, water-jet cutting and many other practices are available when etching. Metal nameplates are very durable and can be fabricated during production to fit your needs. Whether it’s water-jet cutting to fit within a specific panel or stamping serial numbers, metal nameplates are your go-to choice.

4. Capacity for Fine Details

Etching has earned a reputation as one of the best methods for creating fine and intricate details in the design of the nameplate. Whether you’re interested in displaying your name in an elegant and complex script or wanting to show your company’s logo, etching will be your best bet for getting this done accurately.

5. Option for Colors

When you choose an etched nameplate, you have the choice to either fill in your design with color or leave it natural. Because the design gets imprinted directly into the metal itself, it will remain clearly visible even if you choose not to add colors.

However, the option also remains open enough to allow you to add color if you prefer. Sometimes, this addition of color can even help make the design pop a little more, creating an extra level of dynamic beauty and interest.

benefits of etched nameplates

How to Maintain an Etched Nameplate

Once you’ve got your beautiful etched nameplate, it should last you for years to come. To help it do this, however, it will benefit from a little care and attention on your part. And while the surface of the plate may be easy enough to clean, it can be a bit tricky to clean down in the groove of the letters. Follow these etched nameplate maintenance tips to get the job done.

1. Create a Schedule

To keep your etched nameplate clean, you’ll want to get into the habit of regular maintenance. Maybe you’ll clean it once a month. Perhaps you’ll clean it once every season, or you may even maintain it once a week if you feel it gets dirty that quickly. The important thing is to develop a regular schedule, so your plate doesn’t go years without attention.

2. Clean the Surface

To clean any grease prints, smudges or stains off the surface of the metal, mix a solution of warm water and a mild detergent. Wet a soft cloth with this solution and use it to gently wash away any grime off the surface of the metal plate. Beware of using a rougher material, as it may cause scratches to any non-scratch-resistant metals.

3. Clean the Grooves

Of course, the trickiest part of cleaning your etched plate is to clean out the grooves and channels that form the plate’s design. To do this, we recommend using the same gentle soap solution you used to clean the surface. However, instead of a cloth, you’ll need a narrower tool. A cotton swab works well for this gentle application. Experiment with what works for you and your company.

4. Dry the Plate

Because excess moisture can lead to corrosion over time, it’s essential to remove all water from the plate. Use a soft, dry cloth to wipe down the surface, and/or a dry cotton swab to make sure no tiny water droplets are hiding down in the indents.

5. Spot Clean

If you notice any evident damage to your plate, it’s a good idea to clean this up right away, before it has time to stain. Wipe these marks off with a cloth, or, if they seem more severe, go for your usual soap-and-water clean.

how to maintain an etched nameplates

Purchase Etched Metal Plates for Your Building Today

Interested in giving your company a little extra bit of class and sophistication with the addition of an etched metal plate? We invite you to take a look through our catalog of products here at American Nameplate. Our nameplates are available in a range of materials, including stainless steel, aluminum, bronze, brass and even more, allowing you the freedom to choose the color, design and material that best represent the look of your choice.

purchase etched nameplates

Learn more about our etched metal plates today and how you can customize them for your business.

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.