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Nameplate Archive | Fun Embossed Polycarbonate Overlay

Posted by Vicky Bowie on Thu, Apr 17, 2014

Embossed Polycarbonate Overlay

I'm a kid from the 70's so when I came across this blast from the past I couldn't help but chuckle out loud. Seeing Cookie Monster conjurs up memories of his insatiable appetite for chocolate chip cookies - suddenly I was humming the "C is for Cookie" song from Sesame Street. This is a great example of a functional polycarbonate overlay that grabs attention. The bright colors and embossed buttons for the control pad area are inviting for small fingers. Overall textured polycarbonate means durability and easy cleanup. The notches at the top and bottom make sure that the overlay stays in place on the controller and that everything lines up for the arrow and function buttons. 

Cookie Monster Munch

Does your overlay make a memorable impression for your brand? 

Aluminum Nameplate and Plastic Label Options Whitepaper

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How to Select the Perfect Aluminum Nameplate Process

Posted by Vicky Bowie on Tue, Apr 15, 2014

Aluminum Nameplates, Metal name plate

It's a common question raised by brand owners in every industry and on just about every consumer product out there. Which decorating process should I use for my aluminum nameplate? Visually appealing aluminum labels and badges can increase your brand awareness and draw customers to your product versus your competition. 

Reviewing samples in person or looking at image after image online can make you feel like you are in a candy store with all the endless options! Before you know it, your head is spinning and you start experiencing that sugar-high which ultimately leaves you dazed and confused. 

Don't give in to that whirlwind feeling. Instead, take a deep breath and use this quick checklist to help narrow in on the look that you want.

3 Things to Consider When Selecting the Perfect Aluminum Nameplate Decoration Process

  1. What is the purpose for your nameplate?
    Keep the purpose of the part in mind so that you don't overdo the design. Asset or ID tags which provide product information or instructions typically can benefit from basic decorating processes like lithography or screen printing. Nameplates and badges which are showcasing a brand or company logo may require more attention and enhanced decorating processes such as doming or diamond cutting.
  2. What type of environment will the name plate be exposed to?
    Is your product used indoors or outside? Is there exposure to chemicals or cleaners? Will the nameplate be exposed to hot or cold temperatures? These are all important to know so that the correct top coats and surface treatments are used in production. The more information you can provide, the better the outcome for a quality emblem.
  3. How much does your budget allow for branding?
    It's important to identify how much money is available in your project for branding. Projects with low budgets typically will want to explore designs using one or two colors to keep costs at a minimum.  Two-toned nameplates are cost effective solutions. Selective areas of texture, brush, spin or other mechanical finish can be used for accent or dimensional looks. Piece price will increase as more processes are used. 


Aluminum nameplates and emblems have wide open possibilities for the look and the message that is given in the marketplace. Whether you are designing or sourcing for a basic asset tag or need that premium "look at me" brand awareness badge, selecting the process used to produce the name plate doesn't need to cause a headache. Use the the three items above to keep things in perspective.

Need to know more? Let us help!

Aluminum Nameplate and Plastic Label Options Whitepaper

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Favorite Nameplate | Aluminum Nameplate shows Dimension

Posted by Vicky Bowie on Thu, Apr 10, 2014

Guest Blogger

This article is part of a series of articles from my co-workers on their favorite nameplates. Jerry Chenoweth, our guest blogger this week, chose an aluminum nameplate which he uses to showcase possiblities of decorating aluminum for a dimensional look without the cost of a custom embossing tool.

textured aluminum

I especially like to show this part if the customer is talking about embossing their graphics but I suspect the tooling cost may be prohibitive to do so. It is a nice looking example of a common size and shape being available using a stock die.

The mechanical finish engine stripe on the aluminum graphics creates movement and the visual effect that those graphics are higher than the background. Perceived depth is also achieved by the texture design of the pattern in the background and how it appears to move and sway depending on the viewing angle. 

Due to the way the light reflects off this part it is very eye catching and eye pleasing. The tactile feel to the background pattern adds to its elegance. The overall effect is a very high end looking nameplate which adds perceived value to the product it is adhered to.    

Jerry C


Jerry Chenoweth Regional Sales Manager

Jerry is a Regional Sales Manager with great knowledge of decorating processes. He works closely with the designers and engineers of key accounts, keeping relationships strong.

Can your nameplate design benefit from a stock tool? Let's find out!

aluminum stock dies, flat blank stock hits

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3 Considerations for Right and Left Side Nameplate Design

Posted by Vicky Bowie on Tue, Apr 08, 2014

Are you designing a nameplate or trim piece which needs to be seen on opposite sides of your product? This is a common need across many markets including sports equipment, automotive trim, motorcycles, and boat trim. Keep these considerations in mind so that uniformity in your brand is maintained no matter from which angle your product is viewed. 

Hoyt carbon fiber aluminum nameplates


1. Shape - Common shapes like circles and rectangles should not pose major concerns and most likely will be able to utilize one tool for each side of your product. However, if you have a unique shape, separate tooling for each side may be required. 

2. Artwork - Will the graphics and text be the same on each side of your product? Be sure to call out differences within your artwork files.

3. Finish - is there specific lines or registration for the rest of the housing that need to be taken into consdieration? Special attention to the finish may be needed for alignment and any allowances that need to be made.

Hoyt RX product 4

You can see each of these elements were thought through for this piece of archery equipment. A custom shape with embossed aluminum was specified for each side along with similar artwork so that the two sides coordinate and look like they belong together. The result is branding for the product which clearly shows the model as well as the corporate logo. 

While the example nameplates shown here are made from aluminum, these considerations apply when working with plastic substrates such as polycarbonate or polyester as well. 

Need help working through your product identification? We can help!

aluminum tooling ebook, aluminum nameplate tooling, nameplate resource

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Achieve Contrast using Metallic Finishes for Nameplates and Labels

Posted by Vicky Bowie on Thu, Apr 03, 2014

Metallic Inks for Nameplates and Labels

Are you working on your brand identity and struggling with how to differentiate between background decoration and your graphics? You are not alone. This is a common question. A cost effective solution is to incorporate metallic inks to create contrast between the background and graphics. 

Metallic A resized 600


Metallic inks are developed using a base color enhanced with metal pigments in the form of a fleck, powder or paste ranging from fine to coarse metallic look and feel. The more metal pigment that is used, the more coarse the finish. Popular colors for metallic inks are silver, gray and gold. However, nearly any color could be interpreted and developed as a metallic ink. 

You will find metallic inks used on both metal and plastic substrates including aluminum, stainless steel, polycarbonate and polyester (Mylar®). The use of metallic ink continues to be a popular choice across markets and products including boat gauges, bicycle trimfurniture labels and appliance trim.

Cost Effective Contrast

Metallic inks are many times used to create a tone-on-tone effect. This is cost effective because the natural matte look that is achieved with the metallic ink contrasts with aluminum or chrome mylar. The result is appealing to the eye without causing distraction to the design.

Could your nameplate or label benefit from using metallic inks for contrast? Let's find out!

color guide, aluminum decoration options, color options on aluminum

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Black Texture on Aluminum Namplates

Posted by Vicky Bowie on Tue, Apr 01, 2014

Black texture aluminum nameplateBlack and near-black finishes on aluminum was the focus of an article last week on our Design Surfaces on Aluminum Blog. This post has had quite a bit of interest with requests for more information on the types of finishes available as well as seeing black finishes in application. As a result, I thought I'd share this quick video compilation with some great examples of aluminum nameplates which have made use of interesting black finishes. In this, you'll see brands represented from motorcycles and medical equipment to golf clubs and boats. Enjoy!

Ready for more discussion? Great! Let's talk!

Northern Engraving Contact Us

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Nameplate Archive | Anodized and Diamond Cut Aluminum Nameplate

Posted by Vicky Bowie on Thu, Mar 27, 2014

Premium Aluminum Finish for High End Electronics Brand

This speaker nameplate is one of my favorites. It speaks to the richness of the high end brand. The premium look is carried further with anodized copper color and embossed graphics enhanced with diamond cut decorating process. The result is a very attractive part which builds up the high end image of the brand.  

diamond cut aluminum, anodized aluminum, copper finish

How can we help you set your brand apart from your competition? Let's find out!

Namplate Samples, Aluminum Nameplates, Plastic Labels

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How to Maximize Nameplate Design across Different Product Lines

Posted by Vicky Bowie on Thu, Mar 20, 2014

Maximize Branding in Nameplate Design

Your brand speaks to consumers. The logo you use becomes familiar as do the colors and shape of the nameplate. These all work together to raise awareness in your market. There are times where your brand and identity are used across different sizes of final product. Each size product requires that your nameplate differentiates yourself from your competitors. The message and look that you send is important and needs consistency. Does your brand or product offerings place you in this situation? If so, consider building from one design and maximize that look and message across appropriate sizes for your aluminum nameplates or plastic labels.

GE Various Sizes


Here are some items to consider when reviewing different sizes for your name plate design.

Do all products require the same adhesive and attachment method?
Make sure that the requirements for bonding and attachment do not change with the different sizes. The surface material will help determine this direction.

How many sizes are needed?
Maximize your tooling investment by identifying as many common size name plates as possible across your product lines. Slight differences in product dimensions may be best suited by one tool. Significant changes in product dimensions warrant review for additional tooling.

Can artwork be scaled to fit multiple sizes?
Consider the type of graphic detail that is needed for your brand and how it will look scaled to the different sizes that are needed. Keep in mind standard stroke width for printed text of +/- .010".

How will you differentiate between the sizes?
Each size of your nameplate or label should have its own unique part number. This part number should be identified on your artwork and blue print files for production. This will help keep quotes, purchase orders and inventory items clear. 

What opportunities can you identify to carry your nameplate design across different product lines? Let us help!

Aluminum Nameplate and Plastic Label Options Whitepaper

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Domed Label Stands up to Exterior Application

Posted by Vicky Bowie on Thu, Mar 13, 2014

Durable Exterior Application

A common concern when designing nameplates and labels is durability. This especially true if the product will be exposed to the elements - rain, snow, hot or cold temperatures, and sunlight. Certainly it is important to communicate these areas during discussion and review of your project so that appropriate inks, coatings and processes are taken into consideration. The more that is understood for the type of environment and application that the decal will be used in, the better the outcome with an attractive and durable label for your design. A variety of tests are performed on a routine basis for continued positive results.

chrome mylar label

In the image above the contoured surface of the motorcycle helmet is met with a flexible bright chrome mylar substrate for an attractive metal looking label. It will not lose its appeal over time and after exposure to the elements. The unique shape draws attention to the brand. Height and dimension are achieved with Flexlens, an overall urethane domed surface. 

Benefits of the Doming Process 

●  Durable - stands up to exposure to the elements in outdoor settings
●  Self-Healing - chemical and abrasion resistant
●  Versatile - appropriate for interior or exterior applications
●  Visual Depth - adds dimension, height and jewel-like appearance

Where could you use doming? We can help figure it out!

Aluminum Nameplate and Plastic Label Options Whitepaper

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Favorite Nameplate | Premium Branding with Aluminum In-Mold Graphics

Posted by Vicky Bowie on Thu, Mar 06, 2014

Guest Blogger

This article is part of a series of articles from my co-workers on their favorite nameplates. Garth Stockbauer, our guest blogger this week, chose an aluminum nameplate in the golf industry which incorporates mixing of materials between the metal nameplate and molded plastic resin for a premium look and increased perceived value for the brand.

through mold graphics, spun aluminum

My father introduced me to the game of golf at an early age and I have wonderful memories of our time together out on the links. When I first saw the collection of nameplates we produced for Callaway many of those emotions raced back to my mind. Of all the variations we have crafted for the company, I think my favorite would have to be the X20.

A branded identification plate for the back of the golf club, seems simple enough. In reality there is nothing simple about it. The nameplate was crafted using some of the most innovate techniques in the industry: spun aluminum for movement, textured pattern to add interest, multi-layered embossing for height and through-mold (over-mold) injection for a truly magnificent effect. 

Callaway is a company that understands technology and prides itself on manufacturing some of the best equipment in the market. I believe we embraced that ideology and created a nameplate that is worthy of the Callaway name. I now have the pleasure of sharing the game of golf with my two sons - a great pastime that will be shared with generations to come.                         

 Garth S


Garth Stockbauer Regional Sales Manager

Garth is a Regional Sales Manager, working closely with the designers and engineers of key accounts, keeping relationships strong. 

Do you want a premium look for your aluminum nameplate? Let us help!

Namplate Samples, Aluminum Nameplates, Plastic Labels

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