Utility and telephone poles line our streets and highways, and most of the time don’t get much more than a passing glance (unless there’s an issue). Yet they are very much the backbone of our electric power and communication systems.

It takes a lot of work to keep those systems running smoothly. Inspecting and servicing utility poles is not the easiest job in the world. It’s also very time consuming. High durability telephone pole tags make the task manageable.


Telephone poles always feature some sort of pole identification system. Whether it’s plastic signs, metal nameplates, or carving in the wood itself. Sometimes it is a combination of all three.

Every pole must be inspected individually which is a very time consuming process. As a result, having clear and accurate information on each pole is an absolute must. This not only saves the inspector valuable time, but also ensures reliability of data.


Material selection is about what works best for the application they will be used in.

Some of the most common materials include:

  • Aluminum
  • Photo Anodized Aluminum (MetalPhoto)
  • Stainless Steel

Every company, environment, and situation is different.

For example, some telephone companies may use a color coding system, making anodized aluminum a perfect fit.

Highly durable and also lightweight, the material is perfect for outdoor settings. Plus the option for colorization means it will fit right into a color coded system without a hitch.

Stainless steel embossed tags are the most durable solution, which is a great benefit to have for a permanent outdoor solution.


When it comes to pole tags, durability is the name of the game.

In short, utility poles do not sit inside air conditioned offices (and neither do their inspectors). They are out in the elements 7 days a week. It doesn’t matter if it rains, snows, or freezes; pole tags need to endure.


Not only do the pole markers have to survive in tough environments, they also need to last for a long duration. Replacing thousands of tags on a yearly basis would be incredibly expensive and time consuming. Selecting nameplates which last for upwards of 20+ years outdoors makes much more economic sense.


These nameplates require processes which hold up to all weather conditions. The two most popular processes for this application are Embossing and MetalPhoto.


Embossing is probably the process you picture in your mind when thinking about the plates on utility poles. The characters are pushed up (raised) in the metal using a custom die set.

This process is perfect for serialized numbers, which is common for this use. Serialized numbered nameplates make numbering large quantities of poles seamless. Companies also frequently include the last inspection date and company name as well.


Additionally, embossed pole tags are easily readable even at distances, making them great for quick inspection. They also have the ability for color when using anodized aluminum for added visibility or color coding.

The best part is that they are also extremely cost effective without sacrificing quality or durability.


Another option is utilizing the photo anodization process. This unique process directly embeds a design underneath an anodic layer of the aluminum material. This creates tremendous durability, lasting upwards of 20+ years.

MetalPhoto Sample Metal Marker Manufacturing .020 Satin

With MetalPhoto, the sky is the limit in terms of customization. Companies typically identify pole location, number, or both. They may also add a logo or a contact number, specific designs, or additional text.

The anodization process makes adding color a possibility. Pole tags often feature large black text on a colored metal background.

MetalPhoto also features the potential to add QR Codes and Bar codes.

Why Would Utility Poles Use a QR Code?

Code scanning is an incredibly useful tool for an enormous number of industries. From logistics firms to companies needing a better way to track and manage their assets, the uses are endless.

Tracking software provides a wealth of information about a given asset.

For telephone poles this may include:

  • GPS Location
  • Condition of the pole
  • When it was last serviced or inspected

This information makes inspection incredibly easy. Instead of writing down a bunch of numbers in a notebook, a scanning app can both read and write the information necessary. This makes for quick and easy identification.


Maintaining utility and telephone poles is incredibly important. Proper identification makes inspections easier, more effective, and more efficient.

Getting the most use out of the poles as possible while maintaining safety standards is crucial. By correctly utilizing embossed and photo anodized tags, pole companies can make the most out of their assets.

Need Pole Tags?

Call 1-800-428-0095 to get started with your FREE quote on utility pole tags.

Metal Marker’s knowledgeable customer service representatives are ready to assist you in finding the perfect solution.