Etched Signs or Engraved Signs: Which Should You Choose?

BY Rowena Taylor

Etched Signs and PlatesIf you are torn between choosing engraving or etching for your sign’s marking medium, you first need to know what each one can bring to the table before you do decide. Etching can give you highly detailed designs that are almost picture like when you look at it. Engraving can also give you a similar effect but depending on who did the engraving, may not be as detailed as etching.

You also need to know where you are to use these. For instance, if your signs are to be used in areas where ADA compliance is required, it might be a good idea to go with engraving rather than etching. This is because engraving can give you the kinds of features that may be needed by the sign that you are creating, like the domed Braille translations and the tactile letters with the right dimensions and raised height. While etching can still give you these, it might be somewhat difficult to create the domed effect needed for Braille on these signs, or even the holes needed for rastering.

Of course, if your signs carry rather intricate designs and are not subject to the strict rules and regulations set by the ADA, it can be made using etching. Etching can give you highly detailed signs and plaques since these use age-old techniques which were also used to create very detailed prints in the past. If your signs carry images or even very detailed scrollwork, you might want to consider etching for this.

The materials you are to use for these signs also come into play when you are making a decision about these. If you are thinking of using plastic or wood for your signs, then what you need to use to mark these is engraving since this is what is best suited for it. For signs that are made using metal or glass, etching can be used since this marking medium is often used for these and can give your signs a cleaner and finer marking.

You should also ask your sign maker what they recommend, since they often know more about what is better for your signage than most. They can tell you what advantages and disadvantages each marking method has when it comes to your particular signage design, as well as whether or not your signs need to comply with certain government standards. The advice that they give will help you decide what method of manufacturing to use, or make you redo your design to fit the kind of method you want to use for your signage.

So, which should you choose for your signage needs? It all depends on the numerous factors that come into play when creating these signs. In the end, it all boils down to a number of important factors that include compliance, materials to be used, intricacy of design, and what your manufacturer advises you to choose. You still have final say when it comes to what method is used, but these all need to be considered for your signage to come out as good as you want them to.

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