Metal nameplates are used on many products to designate the producer, the brand, and/or the product name, as well as properties of the product such as power and mass. Additionally, they may be placed on a product for decorative value, for placement of product information (e.g. serial code), or for approval/recognition (e.g. an endorsement by a governing body). When strategically placed on a product, metal nameplates often extend the impact of a logo or brand and heighten the connection to the value of the product. Many metal nameplates must meet certain requirements for print life, and environmental tolerances base on location or environment the product might be used in.

Metal nameplates differ from metal labels in that they are usually designed for long term product marking. They are usually under printed on some sort of transparent material with an industrial grade adhesive or mechanical attachment.

Modern manufacturing processes allow for diverse styles of nameplate design. Metal nameplates can be two- or three-dimensional; made of various metals (aluminum, zinc), stainless steel or brass, man-made materials (e.g. Mylar or Vinyls) or injection-molded plastic; and thickness, color, and size can all be customized. Additional design features and production techniques common to nameplate manufacturing include etching, branding, and engraving.

Metal nameplates can be mounted or bound to the object that they are labeling by rivets, screws, or adhesive.