Brass Signs and Brass Plaques

(See also Aluminium signs, Chromadek signs, metal signs, steel signs, house signs and professional plaques)

Brass plaque signs are traditionally a favourite amongst professionals such as doctors, dentists and lawyers, especially because engraved and filled brass signs are timeless and exude class, integrity and tend to give the viewer a sense of assurance.

Brass House Signs

Brass house signs and brass numbers are often seen screwed to the wall of houses or housing complexes. While still very popular, in South Africa brass signs are being used less and less because of their perceived 'recycle' value (so they get stolen), as well as their actual cost. Aluminium, stainless steel, moulded, cast metal and metal alloy signs are seen more often as they tend to be more cost effective to produce, have an equally long life expectancy and come in a wide variety of 'modern' and 'old' or 'retro' looks and feels. These cut out and moulded signs also tend to require less labour to keep them looking pristine.

Bronze Plaques

Like brass plaques, bronze plaques are also popular amongst professionals, because they look similar to the brass signs, are equally timeless and exude class, integrity and assurance, yet at times tend to be slightly more cost effective (depending on the fluctuating market price).

If cost is a concern, as it often tends to be in our modern world, alternative materials like Aluminium, Rowmark®, raw metal or stainless steel tend to make good substitutes for brass plaques. While they are classy and cost effective substitutes, they each have their own attributes and feel, and should not easily be confused with brass plaques.

Engraved Brass Plaques and Engraved Brass signs

Brass plaques can be engraved with custom wording and /or your corporate logo. Engraved brass plaques are engraved, filled and coated in a UV stable lacquer making them a long life sign that is suitable for indoors or out.

While there are limitations, engraved brass plaques can be engraved with a selection of fonts and filled with a large variety of colours.

Extras that can be added to standard engraved brass plaques to give them a softer and more professional finish are borders, mounting holes, certain types of block graphic artwork and hard wood - often Mahogany or Teak - mounting plinths.

Being timeless is most likely the greatest advantage of brass plaques, which have been around for a long time. On the other hand, brass requires work in order to keep it looking pristine, and in our modern fast pace world, the manufacturing time and associated cost of a brass plaque can be prohibitive, as each process needs to be carried out in sequence and takes time to perform. As such a lot of modern plaque signs may 'look like' brass, but may in fact be different materials, such as Aluminium, Chromadek, Rowmark©, plastic or a number of other metals and other steels that have been 'finished' to look like decorated brass. While engraved and filled is the most popular finish for brass plaques, a quicker turnaround can be achieved when the plaque is finished with cut vinyl. It is however important to note that the faster turnaround is accompanied with a much shorter life expectancy of the plaque, especially if it is located outdoors, and the vinyl will not give the visible 'depth' that the engraving tends to give. There are a variety of engraved brass plaques including:

  • Award plaques - plaques that are awarded for a special event or a certain achievement. Award plaques are generally used to commemorate a certain event or achievement.
  • Give away plaques - Give away plaques are generally smaller plaque awards that are a replica of a bigger plaque, or just a give away presentation item commemorating a certain event or achievement.
  • Miscellaneous plaques and professional plaques - Miscellaneous and professional plaques include awards that are mounted and can be made into any shape you desire. Today a combination of materials is also popular. Professional plaques include doctor's plaques, dentist plaques, engineering plaques, business plaques, commemorative plaques (such as used when dignitaries open a building, road etc.) and the like.
  • Perpetual plaques - Plaque with 'perpetual plates', such as those used to record names of people who have won certain sporting events, or achieved certain status, such as school principal or captain of a sports team.

Engraved Signs

While brass and bronze plaques and signs are the thought of as the most popular engraved signs, many materials can be engraved to create a professional looking, long life sign. Some modern materials such as H-Bond, Hulabond, M-Bond and Rowmark® have been created specifically to reduce the costs and improve on the turnaround time of some engraving processes. Not all the modern engraving materials can be used outdoors, so your signage advisor should advise you on which materials are best suited to your specific requirements.

Thick Brass Plaques

For an upmarket, very classy plaque, a thicker, solid brass plaque can be used. While these signs were very popular in days gone by, they are used less of late because of the increase in the cost of the base material. Generally a thick, solid brass plaque will be engraved, have bevelled edges and be secured to a solid hard wood backing. Like their thinner family of signs, thick brass plaques may be used indoors and outdoors.

Like all Aluminium, Chromadek, Rowmark®, metal and steel signs, brass signs are generally used to make a statement, informing the viewer of the sign of the status of the 'owner' of the sign, while also conveying information that may be important or required by law.

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