How much are you willing to spend? Reasonably priced is a matter of perspective.
The three main items on a nameplate are [NAME] [ROLE] [COMPANY LOGO].
The more information you have the larger the plate will need to be.
The less information you have on the plate the easier it will be to
read the persons name eg Joe Bloggs, Chief Button Pusher, Workaholic
Company, Company Mission 'To push buttons harder than anyone else' is
almost a novel 'Joe Bloggs' 'The Boss' is quicker and easier to read.
Will the plates be exposed to ultra violet light such as sunlight?
How will they be attached to the walls, dividers etc? Double sided
tape? Screws? Velcro dots? Sliders?
The cheapest plates will have text only. If you want logos & pictures
most companies will have a one off charge to convert your artwork into
a usable format. Engraving/graphic firms often prefer vector based
format such as HPGL or .eps. This is because they can be scaled up or
down with little effect on quality. The pictures on most websites
(.jpeg .gif etc) can be converted if neccessary. Sometimes it isn't.
Sublimation, printing (onto metal/plastic), laser, router,
sandblasting, and diamond tip engraving are popular methods to create
From your point of view sublimation and printing may seem the same.
They can be done in colour or black & white onto metal, fabric, tiles
and other textiles. They may also be covered in a clear resin to
protect them from UV and physical damage. These are good options for
multiple colour nameplates.
Laser & router engraving can be done on many textiles. Some favourites
are coated metals such as brass with a black coating. Once engraved
the name stands out as brassy gold with a black background. There are
plastics with the same two layer effect where the engraved name stands
out from surface colour.
Sand blasting maybe an option. Fantastic option if you want your signs
to be works of art but may cost more for a result which can be done as
well by laser or router.
Brass is popular in New Zealand for doctors and lawyers. It is
engraved quite deep and filled with paint (usually black) and
optionally given a clear coat to protect it from tarnish. A precoated
brass may be used... but I'm not sure how durable it is compared with
coating after production. Nameplates done in this way may cost 10x the
price of the methods in the previous paragraph. Other metals and
textiles can be done in this way too.
How much time is acceptable between placing an order for nameplates
and delivery? If you expect orders to filled on the day you place them
may cost mor then if you're happy to wait a week. Sublimation,
printing, laser and router engraving can usually be done in 24hrs if
required (and the price is right). Some methods such as a the brass
plates enfilled with paint may take a couple of days.
Before considering buying equipment to make plates I'd suggest
visiting your local engraving shop, gift & award shop, graphic studio,
trophy shop. Tell them how much you prepared to pay per sign and allow
them to guide you on which materials would be suitable. You will get
the best price by knowing what you want, having printed instructions
and allowing the signmaker to suggest the best layout. Having received
your initial order of nameplates you'll be in a better position to
evaulate the benefits of doing them yourself.
There are a multitude of companies on the internet that will also do
plates for you. I'd recommend going brick before click to make sure
you are getting something suitable.