Choosing new door nameplates
Office Nameplates for Doors When ordering a new nameplate, make sure the pattern of capitalization is consistent with the other nameplates in the office.

Post-It notes, athletic tape, dry erase boards, notebook paper, duct tape and permanent marker: all ineffective ways to label an office door, which still happens far too often. People quit, other people get hired, departments move and expand, and a uniform nameplate system gets lost in the shuffle.

While door nameplates are an investment, they are well worth their cost. Countless studies have shown how the office environment affects employees – from increasing productivity to establishing expectations for behavior and etiquette. Factors like an office's cleanliness and organization also send a message to clients and visitors. Cohesive door nameplates provide visual order and establish a professional work environment. They also can also promote community, which can be particularly helpful if two organizations or departments have recently merged.

As you shop for nameplates, ask yourself the following questions.

  • Does the nameplate match the office's aesthetic and image? An established lawyer's office with wood paneling, wingback chairs, expensive artwork and ornately carved wood desks deserves equally sophisticated nameplates – such as an engraved walnut plate filled with gold leaf.

  • Does the office experience rapid turnover? Or is it in a state of transition? If so, consider designs with inserts that conveniently slide out without having to remove the nameplate from the door or wall. And don't forget about the different methods for mounting. A no-residue adhesive is the way to go if you expect a prolonged game of "musical offices."

  • Are the nameplates consistent? If they don't follow an identical format, it can look unprofessional and lead to rumors about hierarchy. Don't forget to check:
    • The order: Are names or titles listed first?
    • Capitalization: Are names or titles in all-caps?
    • Name abbreviations: Is the full name used, or the last name with the first initial?
    • Department abbreviations: If used, are they used consistently?

  • Does the nameplate need to withstand the elements? While most door nameplates are displayed in interior spaces, they may need to be UV-resistant if exposed to the sun throughout the day, or, in special cases such as research institutions or labs, must be able to resist occasional exposure to chemicals.

  • What is your budget and outlook? Like anything, the sky is the limit in terms of customization and materials, but even if there are no fiscal concerns, sometimes it doesn't make sense to go with the most expensive option. Perhaps your office rarely sees visitors, or you are concerned about the future vitality of the company. Either way, a high-end nameplate or one created for longevity probably isn't worth the cost.

  • Do you have special needs? In many buildings, companies must consider ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) guidelines, including using Braille on room signs.

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