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This article is an excerpt from Northern Engraving's presentation at the IDSA Midwest District Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The presentation was part of the IDSA Materials and Processes Section's efforts to share information on materials and processes used in product design.
Paul Wuensch Account ManagerPaul is responsible for bringing tank badges, trim and emblems to life on aluminum. His background in graphic design and manufacturing bring a unique perspective to the table when discussing options and considerations in part design.
Traditionally a nameplate is used to identify or brand a product. We can tell one brand from another this way and depend on this branding for distinction. Another use for a nameplate is differentiation between models of a specific brand.
An example of this differentiation is illustrated well at Harley-Davidson. While the Harley-Davidson brand is recognizable around the world, the different models of motorcycles they produce are distinguished by the nameplates that are used to embellish them. All Harleys have the iconic V-twin motor. The motor has always been the heart and soul of the company’s brand. We know a Harley-Davidson when we see one. But what style of Harley is it?
To differentiate one model from another the designers at Harley-Davidson have used air cleaner inserts with a variety of finishes, colors and text. This way a Fatboy is set apart from a Softail. A limited edition 103 Cubic Inch motor that looks the same on the outside is distinguishable from the standard V-twin.
The idea behind this simple yet effective format is to standardize tooling and minimize the capital investment while providing a unique look for individual models. They use one common set of stamping dies, but by changing up the look and finish the models appear unique from one another. Often times the design of the air cleaner insert is tied to other finishes on the motorcycle. The concentric spin, a color or a pattern on the insert is carried over to other parts of the motorcycle.
In 2008 Harley-Davidson celebrated its 105th Anniversary. In honor of this milestone all of the anniversary edition motorcycles sported an anniversary copper color in the paint scheme. This copper color was carried over to the air cleaner inserts as well. The individual models were distinguished by the text on the insert, but all of the anniversary motorcycles carried the copper colored inserts.
Decorating aluminum is what Northern Engraving does best. Working closely with our customers and designers is one way we can provide one of a kind products while minimizing burdensome one-time expenses in order to create a unique brand solution.
Tags: Nameplate, Motorcycle
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