Few items are purchased custom made these days because the price usually matches the prestige. However, some industries actually thrive on the specificity of custom work and are able to produce products with the speed and style to make it financially worthwhile without charging the customer an arm and a leg. The manufacturers of custom nameplates are one such industry. Although they are also known for mass producing name plates that serve as labels on products such as cars and musical instruments, customized plates are necessary in a variety of materials across a spectrum of price levels for various institutions.
For example, every school invests in class numbers and names of teachers on doors, although the specifics may vary. A public middle school will probably invest in cheap but stylish plastic designs, with specialized font and the number of the room on the same name plate as the teacher who runs the class. Laser etching is the most popular process for engraving name plates, and also the quickest which allows custom name plate manufacturers to sell them for a cheaper price. A more expensive option may be chosen by a private college with lots of prestige. There bronze or gold name plates may be found on the outside of an office or directing traffic to classrooms or bathrooms. Such a name plate must also be customized, but with a different sort of marking machinery.
Mechanical engraving and etching machines are run by detail oriented CNC machining programs, perfecting the script and design desired for a high class office name plate. These are more expensive because of the quality of the material as well as the difficulty of the engraving process. Customized plates are found in various styles and materials, including glass and wood as alternatives to the classic metals and plastics in many contexts.