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11 Dec 2018

How are nameplates made?

How are nameplates made?

There are various settings where nameplates may need to be fitted. These settings include workplaces of the military, fire, security and medical sectors. You may particularly seek to have nameplates fitted in situations where harsh conditions would make plastic overlays impractical.

At CCL Design, we can design and supply nameplates for your company – but first, you have some crucial decisions to make. These pertain to not only which material should be chosen, but also the production process for which you should opt.

Below, we list a range of production processes that we can undertake for you and what each one involves. If you feel a need for clarification on any of the below points, please reach out to us.


This is an option with our aluminium nameplates. It is an electrolytic passivation process that makes the natural oxide layer thicker on the metal's surface. With this process, we can leave a durable finish and also prevent the metal from corroding once you have the nameplate.

With anodising, you can choose from various colours for the decorative finish. Black, blue and red are all colours that can be effectively produced through anodising. But you can also choose clear anodising if you would prefer to keep a silver look, or select a different hue altogether.


This practice dates back centuries and involves cutting grooves into a hard surface to incise a design onto it. Engraving can be used on metal nameplates to produce either recessed or raised designs and other visual elements. Engraving is capable of producing similar results to etching.

For this reason, engraving and etching can too often be confused with each other. If you are unsure which method should be used for your nameplate, please discuss the issue with us. We are experts on the differences between engraving and etching when used for metal nameplates.


This is available for many different metals, although corrosion-resistant and non-rusting metals such as aluminium and stainless steel are usually favoured. Etching methods include:

Acid etching – a wax block can be melted onto the plate before a roller is used to even it out. After this wax is hardened, the design is scratched into it, leaving metal parts that the acid will eat away.

Photo-etching – the metal plate is given a photo-sensitive coating leaving both light and dark areas, with the latter intended to be etched. Ferric chloride eats away these parts.

Laser cutting

If you would like to have especially intricate visual elements – including, but not necessarily limited to lettering – on your nameplates, laser cutting is a method that can make this possible. As highly precise shapes can be cut, even complex textures can be replicated on your nameplates.
We carry out laser cutting through the use of a laser cutting machine. The metal is placed on the machine's ‘bed’ before super-fast laser beams burn precise designs onto the surface – even in cases where the metal is so thin that it could too easily ‘slip’ when a different method is used.


This technique has much in common with anodising. With plating, we can change the metal surface for your nameplate both chemically and aesthetically.

This nameplate manufacturing method is great for producing a more durable nameplate capable of resisting particular types of damage. Plating can particularly pay dividends if used for gold-plated nameplates, so it can leave the golden touch in more ways than one.

Powder coating

In preparation for powder coating a nameplate, we will apply an electrostatic charge to the metal and provide the opposite electrostatic charge to the powder that we spray on the metal.

This approach will ensure that we completely cover the metal with powder, however complex the nameplate's shape. We will then use a temperature-controlled oven to fuse – or ‘cure’ – the powder coating to the surface. The finished coating will be hard and durable, as well as resistant to scratches and chemicals.

Powder coating is appealing due to the broad range of colours and textures that it can provide for a nameplate, while leaving a resilient surface that protects against corrosion.

Screen printing

If you have particular graphics or a specific background colour in mind for your nameplates, then screen printing – otherwise called screening or serigraphy – could prove a wise option.

With this printmaking technique, a sharp-edged image of one colour is traditionally left on the surface with each application. This application uses a stencil made from a photosensitive emulsion and a mesh fabric, with a squeegee used to force ink through the screen.

Screen printing has various merits, including the relative ease with which opaque colours can be produced or colours mixed with textures. Furthermore, it isn't always necessary for you to include a top coat, while gloss can even be added at the same time as the colour.

Stove enamelling

This is an attractive option if you would like a nameplate to not only show particular patterns and finishes integrated with the coating, but also be weather-resistant. Like powder coating, this process involves the coating being applied wet before it is ‘cured’ by heat.

There is much more that can be learnt about these nameplate production and manufacturing methods, and you can educate yourself by giving us a ring on 01249 460606. We will be happy to talk you through all of these options and where the especially strong advantages of each of them lie.

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