If you’ve never purchased an aluminum plaque previously, you’re likely wondering how to decide what to order with so many different options. At East Point Foundry, our traditional, hand-crafted plaques come in both aluminum and bronze. Here’s what you should know about aluminum plaques and what makes them unique.
Aluminum plaques are the perfect signage to commemorate any special occasion. They’re easy to hang and easy to transport. They also look polished no matter the occasion. You’ve likely seen aluminum plaques in the past on park benches and outside classrooms on school campuses dedicating the property in memory of a loved one or someone special. Yet, those aren’t the only uses for these versatile signs. If you’re looking for an industrial sign, a paperweight, a desk name plate, a mechanism for displaying a custom logo, a grave marker, a military seal display or a historical marker then aluminum plaques are the way to go.
These plaques are created using liquid aluminum as their name implies. The aluminum is poured into a mold and cooled to create a solid plaque. There are two different types of plaques that can be created: cast or etched. For cast plaques, the lettering and any graphics are typically raised and have a border. Cast plaques are likely what you’re picturing when you hear “aluminum plaque” as they can be used for memorial, donor, commemorative, or other recognition plaques. Etched plaques, conversely, use a chemical to help eat away at the metal to create the design or text that you desire. This engraving process allows for the fine etched detail. Typically, etched plaques have recessed lettering and detail rather than raised like cast plaques. However, if you so desire, you can order an etched plaque with raised letters. Etched aluminum plaques are more contemporary looking, and this type of plaque is often used for signage and for business uses (lobby plaques, logos, etc.). While cast plaques are more traditional, etched plaques provide the opportunity for thinner detailing due to its technique.
Now that you’ve heard about the two core differences in aluminum plaques, you’ll likely want to understand a little more about the variety that you can achieve by ordering through East Point Foundry. The most recognizable aluminum plaques have black backgrounds and silver finishes. However, we also offer the option to customize your plaque. With this option, you’ll be able to request any background color or modifications that you desire. For more information on exactly the right type of plaque for you and your occasion, see below for our “Advantages & Disadvantages” section as well as “Frequently Asked Questions.” This will help you determine specifics.
East Point Foundry also offers competitive pricing while maintaining quality. We’re able to keep it affordable because 100 percent of all of our plaques are hand-crafted right here in the United States. From start to finish, we don’t outsource any of our products from our location in Atlanta, Georgia which was established in 1948. While this not only improves the price, it ensures the quality that we promise and take incredibly seriously. We strive to honor the recipients of the plaques—whether in life or postmortem—and maintain high-quality standards for these reasons. As we like to say, no project is “too big, too small, or too custom.” This is your vision, our execution.
⦁ Occasion: One great thing about aluminum plaques is how versatile they are. Aluminum plaques can be utilized for just about any occasion. In addition to plaques with memorial, donor, commemorative, or other recognition purposes, aluminum plaques can be utilized for industrial signs, paperweights, desk name plates, custom logos, grave markers, military seal displays, and historical markers. There really is no limit on what occasion you can use these plaques for outside of your own personal preference.
⦁ Location: While aluminum plaques are typically labeled as both “outdoor and indoor,” there is a better option if your aluminum plaque will see a lot of wear outdoors. Aluminum, just by the property of the metal, will not endure as well as a bronze plaque will. Thus, if you’re looking for something incredibly durable, then a bronze plaque will always be your best bet. That said, aluminum plaques look spectacular indoors and are able to hold up outdoors in a variety of weather conditions for a decent period of time.
⦁ Weight: If weight is at all a factor for you in this decision, it’ll be helpful to know that aluminum plaques are the light-weight option between the two. For this reason, it works well for wall-installation or better if you’re looking for something more easily transportable than bronze.
⦁ Budget: If you’re on any sort of budget, aluminum plaques are the way to go. Aluminum plaques will cost roughly 10 percent less than bronze plaques will. So, unless you have a strong preference for bronze, aluminum allows you to get more bang for your buck and can help you upgrade to a larger size if that is something that is desirable for you.
⦁ Appearance: The silver coloring of an aluminum plaque not only provide a different look than the bronze alternative but also a contemporary styling option. The silver provides a pop of color against the black. It also appears strikingly different against any of the custom color backgrounds you have the option of requesting. Whether you’re seeking something that looks sleek and contemporary, or a plaque that stands out against the crowd, this option has you on your way to memorializing a time, a person, or a place in style.
⦁ Mount: The aluminum plaque is truly on right for one type of mount: the wall. As a light-weight material, aluminum plaques are most suitable for a wall mount. If you’re looking for a type of plaque than can accommodate a floor inset, then an aluminum plaque is not your best bet. Bronze and stainless steel plaques offer much better options for plaques when you’re looking to mount on surfaces other than the wall.
Question: What’s the main difference between the aluminum and the bronze plaques?
Answer: Great question! There are a ton of differences between aluminum and bronze plaques. The primary differences are appearance, weight, price, mounts, and weathering. First, you’ll need to decide which appearance you like better because aluminum has a silver color that is more contemporary, and bronze has a metallic brown color that is more traditional. Additionally, the weight of the metals themselves are different. Aluminum is lighter than bronze. Aluminum is also cheaper by about 10 percent than bronze is, so if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly plaque, this will probably be the way to go. For mounts, bronze is a bit more versatile, it can go on the wall or on the floor whereas aluminum can only have a wall inset. Finally, the two weather slightly differently. Because aluminum is slightly cheaper and is the less durable of the two metals, it will weather faster. Both can be used outdoor or indoors, but if you’re looking for something that will really maintain its integrity outside, go for bronze.
Question: Can aluminum plaques go outdoors?
Answer: The answer is both yes and no. Aluminum plaques CAN go outdoors, and they will hold up in a variety of weather conditions. That said, aluminum won’t hold up for nearly as long as bronze will due to the type of metal it is. However, if you’re in a pinch and need to put an aluminum plaque outdoors, it won’t wear out too quickly.
Question: What should I use an aluminum plaque for? Can I use an aluminum plaque to memorialize a bench?
Answer: Another great question! Lots of people wonder what the best use is for an aluminum plaque, and that’s a tough one to answer because there are so many uses for them. How you’ve probably seen them in the past is being utilized for recognition purposes. They’re used to memorialize events or commemorate individual who have passed on. They’re also used to honor donors of buildings, monuments, and causes. Yet, there are a number of unknown uses for them such as custom logos, grave markers, military seal display, historical marker, industrial sign, paperweight, and desk name plate.
So, yes! An aluminum plaque can absolutely be used to memorialize a bench. That said, be mindful of where the bench is going to be. If the bench will somewhere that gets a lot of hard weather, you might consider a bronze plaque since that will fare better in harsh weather conditions.
Question: Which is more expensive? The bronze plaque or the aluminum plaque?
Answer: The bronze plaque is more expensive. The aluminum plaque will cost about 10 percent less.
Question: I’m looking for something traditional. Which type of plaques looks most traditional? Is aluminum the most traditional plaque?
Answer: No, aluminum is a more contemporary looking plaque that provides both style and grace to your memorial. That said, if you’re seeking something traditional, your best bet is a bronze plaque. Bronze plaques offer a much more classic and traditional look. East Point Foundry offers bronze plaques as well.
Question: Can I use this type of plaque (aluminum) in the ground outside?
Answer: No, aluminum plaques are not suitable to be mounted in the ground. While this may seem inconvenient, not mounting aluminum into the ground outside really just protects your investment. Aluminum plaques are best suited to be mounted on the wall. Their material wears much better inside and when it’s not consistently under foot. For any outdoor floor (ground) insets, make sure you utilize a bronze plaque. Bronze is more durable, weathers better, and fairs much better if anyone could potentially be stepping on it.
Question: Do you make the plaques yourself? Is there a middle man?
Answer: Nope! No middle man whatsoever. Part of East Point Foundry’s promise to you is to keep costs affordable by keeping all services in-house. Every single plaque we sell is made right here in our Atlanta, Georgia location. We’re handcrafting everything which means 1) you won’t find higher quality anywhere and 2) East Point Foundry offers competitive pricing because we don’t need to pay a middle man for their services!
Question: Who typically orders aluminum plaques from East Point Foundry?
Answer: East Point Foundry has been trusted by major private institutions, such as Primus, as well as local and governments, doctors, lawyers, and business professionals. We love to deliver quality products no matter the recipient and this idea in practice has us to be trusted by top talent all over the country.
Question: What types of styles are available? Is there anything I cannot customize?
Answer: All of our plaques are customizable and will be approved by you throughout the process! There are a variety of different styles for each of the four categories: borders, textures, size, and art & layout.
For borders, you’ll have the option to have no border, a single line, double line, or bevel border.
For texture, you can choose between leatherette or pebble. Leatherette plaques imitate the texture of level and are smoother than pebble variety. Pebble has a more striking texture. However, both are subtle in design and will not distract the viewer from the purpose of the plaque. The texture merely provides an artist spin to the plaque.
For size, there are endless possibilities. We’re happy to accommodate large or small plaque needs. Additionally, the basic shapes include both round and rectangle, but if you have a more unique need then you’re welcome to customize your shape. See Colored Aluminum Plaques below for an example of a custom shape order.
For art & layout, the sky is your limit. We pledge to attend to the details that are most important to you in creating your plaque. Whether you need logos, years, names, dates, foundations, etc. listed correctly, we will ensure it is done right!
Classic Aluminum Plaques
The most typical aluminum plaque will be utilized to commemorate, memorialize or honor an individual. In these plaques by East Point Foundry below, the classic black and silver aluminum plaques were created to honor individuals for different actions. The silver borders and textured black background provide an indication of our high-quality standard as well as our style and dedication to each of our clients.
Custom Aluminum Plaques
The plaque to the right is in the same style as our classic aluminum plaque. Yet, this time, East Point Foundry provided the client with a customized version for their business. Including both the name of the company, the address, the year, and the logo, this plaque provides a sleek and contemporary indication of where this business is as soon as you mount this plaque on the wall.
Colored Aluminum Plaques
The two below pictures are examples of East Point Foundry’s custom aluminum plaques. These plaques have been customized to the client’s desire shape, includes their texts and logos, and has a customized colored background. The silver border and lettering provide a nice pop against and allows the plaque to stand out from a more traditional black and silver plaque.
Logos: The picture to the left shows an example of a logo of the United States Army Reserve. While this plaque still has the traditional black and silver coloring, it has the precise design requested by the client. In cast plaque style, the symbol of the Army Reserves is raised off the plaque itself and provides 3-D texture to the entire image.