When you are new to the world of custom metal nameplates it might be a little overwhelming at first with so many options.

No need to stress – this quick overview will point you in the right direction and get you headed toward your perfect identification solution.

3 Most Important Factors to Consider

You won’t be an expert the first time you order metal nameplates – and that’s fine. Use what you do know to help make the process easier.

For example: why you need the nameplates, where they will be used, how they will be used, etc.

Here are the 3 most important factors that help when you’re not sure where to begin.

1. Know Your Application

You need to know the environment your nameplates are going to be in. Will your nameplate be in an outdoor environment 24/7? Will it be exposed to grit and grime from a construction site? How is the name plate going to be attached?

If you are putting a nameplate in an indoor office, you probably don’t need the same solution as a tag for heavy machinery in a manufacturing plant. For example, screen printed placards are not suitable for tough outdoor conditions, whereas MetalPhoto nameplates excel in these environments.

2. Longevity

Take into consideration how long you expect your tag solution to last. Are they a temporary solution? Do you want to replace them every few months? Would you prefer a nameplate that lasts for 20+ years?

Every application is different. Every usage is unique.

3. Quantity

Quantity has a big effect on the pricing for metal nameplates. Ordering 1 or 2 stamped nameplates is not typically economical as a stamp needs created and a setup is involved. In comparison, an order of 1000 stamped nameplates means your price per tag is reduced significantly.

If you are looking for smaller runs, a great option is the MetalPhoto process, as it is suitable for both small and large runs.

Other Factors to Consider


  • Embossing

  • Stamping

  • MetalPhoto

  • Engraving

  • Etching Stamping

  • Decals/Labels


Selecting the right metal material for a nameplate is very important to the success of your nameplates.

For example, if you are in a tough work environment with chemicals and dirt, vinyl decals probably aren’t the best choice. You would be better with an anodized aluminum or stainless steel.

  • Aluminum
  • Stainless Steel
  • Cold Rolled Steel
  • Brass
  • Vinyl/Lexan/Poly (For Decals and Labels)

Data and Design

Need a name, numbers, and a logo on your nameplates? Different info on each tag (variable data)? Maybe a photo image or full color design?

The information you need on the tag or nameplate has a big impact on your process (and pricing).

Some processes are better suited for certain information. For example, full color designs are best with screen printing or decals. If you just need serialized numbers, stamping or embossing are better choices.


Of course you also need to determine the specs for the nameplates you would like. This includes shape, thickness, dimensions, corners (rounded, square, etc.), as well as using holes or adhesive backing for application.

Certain materials and processes are going to have restrictions. The manufacturer you select will work with you to find a solution.

How Soon Do You Need the Nameplate?

When ordering custom nameplate you must keep in mind that they are not sitting on a shelf ready to ship; they have to be made for you. This means an instant turnaround is not always possible.

Expedited orders may be available, however, depending on the order and specifications it might not be doable.

The best course of action is to plan for when you will need nameplates ahead of time and place your order a few months in advance. That way, when the time comes that you need them, you’ll already have them.


In order to manufacture the nameplates, information needs to be provided.

For nameplates with the same design, the info only needs to be communicated during the quoting/ordering process.

For different information on each tag (variable data) there is an added step. An Excel file needs to be created with all of the information to put on the nameplates. For example, column A would include the information you want on the first line, and column B the data for the second line. Not an Excel wizard? No need to stress. Your manufacturer will be happy to help you set up the file the correct way.

If you are going with the photo anodization process, or you need a custom logo on your tag, you need to provide the manufacturer with an artwork file. This allows you to get the design exactly as you intend it without any errors.


It may seem like lot to consider, but you want to make sure your solution is going to be the right solution.

You might not be 100% sure which process, material, or size is right. Your manufacturer will be more than happy to help you. Discuss what you do know (environment, application, longevity, and quantity). They will work with you to find the right solution for you.

Now that you have some basic knowledge about metal nameplates, the quote process will be much easier for everyone involved. You’re on the right track to get the perfect solution to fit your application.

Call 1-800-428-0095 to get started with your free quote on high-quality custom identification.

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