automotive badging

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Elise Harrington, GMN
By Elise Harrington | Apr 10, 2015
Fiat exterior wheel badge

A great example of the depth of GM Nameplate’s badging and decorative trim capabilities is this nameplate we produced for Fiat, which can be found on exterior wheels. The badge also highlights GMN Automotive’s process knowledge of differing but complementary technologies.

The unique decorative badge married two different process capabilities to create a one-of-a-kind aesthetic. The design is achieved by using a chrome plated injection molded plastic and metal decorative trim. The process creates the visual design intent and functional requirements while providing the most cost effective price point. The technique also creates a high relief and stand out logo.

Creating the one-of-a-kind design by utilizing the two technologies still presented its own manufacturing challenge. The desired outcome would have the Fiat logo stand out, while the multi-colored red background would feature very fine lines and a high gloss finish.

To achieve this desired look, the GMN Automotive team developed a unique solution. By piercing through the decorated red of the badge, the chrome plated injection molded part with the Fiat copy extended out. The other piece of the metal badge utilizes screen printing for the main decoration and then a top coating of GMN Automotive’s proprietary thin lensclad. Finally the two pieces were adhered together. The final outcome is a standout badge that covers all of the customer’s desired design enhancements!

To learn more about our custom badging and decorative trim capabilities, please visit our website

Rich Smylie, GMN
By Richard Smylie | Mar 5, 2015
Embossed metal automotive nameplate

For more than 60 years GM Nameplate has been producing one-of-a-kind nameplates. We’ve been fortunate to work with some of the most recognized brands in the world. GMN Automotive’s work within the automotive industry is no exception! A great example of our unique nameplate capabilities is this nameplate we manufactured for Jaguar.

The nameplate GMN Automotive created for Jaguar is used for airbag ornamentation. One of the most unique aspects of this nameplate is its detailed design and manufacturing. The aluminum nameplate is tinted gold and features intricate embossing. The embossed design creates a 3-dimensional look that stands out and highlights the high-end automotive brand.

GMN Automotive’s unique badging capabilities have produced many stand-out nameplates. What makes our badging different from our competition? Our industry leading and unique in-house capabilities including color lab chemists and complete tooling department. Thanks to our in-house experts we can push the industry accepted process parameters while maintaining process control to create custom badging unlike any other nameplate manufacturer.

If you’re interested in learning more about our custom badging and decorative trim capabilities, please visit our website

Rich Smylie, GMN
By Richard Smylie | Feb 11, 2015
Close up of black car

Last month during the Detroit Auto Show, NPR discussed the evolution of our cars over the past ten years – including everything from designs and aesthetics, to technology and functional changes. The crux of this discussion concerned the average car’s life on the road today being 10 years old. During the recession car sales understandably decreased, but sales are increasing as the economic climate has improved. 

As far as changes in the past ten years, the same holds true for GMN Automotive’ s capabilities and trends within our product lines. New vehicles today look different from their previous models in numerous ways. The complexities of designs and quality requirements have both increased significantly, while also being subject to greater price sensitivity. To meet this challenge GMN Automotive has focused on improving our existing and expanding capabilities.

Within our exterior capabilities, GMN has developed higher performing base coats and top coats for our badging products.  Regarding exterior badges, by using thin lensclad and urethane topcoats we’ve improved the performance and durability of our construction. In addition, we’ve developed solutions to address galvanic corrosion for exterior parts. For all of our parts there is an increased focus on durability and quality (we will discuss this in an upcoming blog!).

Improvements can also be seen within our interior offerings. Recently we’ve expanded our backlit capabilities with new material offerings including stainless steel, added metal insert molding, metal over-molding, and additional nameplate capabilities, such as 2D and 3D electroform. Our improvements to these capabilities allow for better durability and appearance. GMN Automotive has made equipment investments that allow us to offer parts for larger applications, selective finishes, and durable metal coatings.

One of the major changes we are seeing across the automotive industry is the penetration of touchscreens in center stack displays – controlling everything from the radio and temperature, to GPS and other entertainment features. For a number of years, GMN has offered front panel integration and bonding to its customers. Our liquid optically clear adhesive construction offers performance benefits to the automotive industry, including better durability and visual clarity. 

The biggest change seen across GMN and the automotive industry in general is the demand for better quality products. Our current goal for all customer shipments is to reflect a 0 PPM rating.  Our quality manual and quality system certifications provide the tools for GMN to achieve this goal through continuous improvement methods – allowing our shipments to meet your expectations the first and every time!  

There have been many changes to quality standards, technology, and aesthetics in the automotive industry over the past 10 years. As the industry continues to evolve, it will be exciting to witness the changes to come in the next 10 years!

Rich Smylie, GMN
By Richard Smylie | Jan 29, 2015
GMN Automotive

The annual North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) took place in Detriot earlier this month. Every year members of the GMN Automotive show attend the expo to learn about emerging industry trends and new technologies. In addition, the show also showcases many impressive concept cars and new vehicles coming to the market.

While walking the show every year we identify a number of automotive trends. Relating to GMN Automotive, one trend that we continue to see the past few years is the growing use of metal in automotive interiors. From metal gas and brake pedals, to speaker grills, lift gate trim, and other accent pieces, the demand for a metal look is growing.

We’ve seen similar trends at GMN Automotive as the requests for aluminum and stainless steel sill plates, and metal badging continues to grow. We currently provide metal sill plates for a number of automotive companies. Thanks to our metal coating capabilities, we can provide custom finishes and protective coatings to enhance the durability and shine of sill plates.

In addition, we continue to grow our metal nameplate offerings. From traditional metal nameplates, to lensclad, electroform, and ElectraGraphic nameplates, we can offer a custom solution for nearly every design.               

We enjoyed visiting the Auto Show this year and are already looking forward to the show next year. It will be exciting to see which of this year’s trends will remain, and other advancements and changes!

Rich Smylie, GMN
By Richard Smylie | Dec 3, 2014
Lensclad nameplate for Honda keyfob

The March 2011 earthquake in Japan forced many businesses to re-think their supply chain, including Honda Lock America. A wholly owned subsidiary of Honda Motor Company, Ltd, Honda Lock America manufactures safety/security devices for automotive, motorcycle and personal watercraft applications. At the time HLA didn’t intend to add any additional suppliers but due to disruptions in their supply chain from the 2011 earthquake, HLA wanted to explore options of sourcing emblems domestically.

GM Nameplate already produced various badges and other emblems for Honda. Through utilizing GMN’s patented Lensclad (thin dome process), the project was a perfect fit for GMN. The emblem is made from a thin layer of aluminum, printed with black, embossed with brass and then the thin dome Lensclad also creates a protective layer. Lastly, the part is blanked to size.

During the development of the part, many trips were made to HLA’s Georgia and Alabama facilities to observe the application process of the emblems. While visiting HLA’s facilities, GMN noticed they have a large scrap rate on the application of emblems to the plastic key fob.

GM Nameplatedevised a special process, resulting in a significant decrease in the scrap rate. By utilizing an existing transfer adhesive, which is used on automotive exterior badges, and combining with a unique application process, GMN was able to lower the total cost per part. In the end, GMN’s innovative approach to the creating the part resulted in an approximate 30% cost savings due to reduced scrap rate and currency valuations.  

Cynthia Schulte, GMN
By Cynthia Schulte | Oct 3, 2014
Metal automotive sill plate

Most businesses have their various logos and trademarks in a cycle of design, use and redevelopment. This holds true for companies large and small, although the truly iconic symbols are more resistant to updates. For example, while Coca-Cola's script logo likely won't see any changes, Pepsi recently updated its globe symbol to a more streamlined design.

Many logos follow design trends, which impact the best ways to reproduce the marks, whether it's a three-dimensional, machined nameplate attached to an object or simply printed on the box. Design news website Logo Lounge has published its 2014 trends report, noting the commonalities in the logos and symbols developed by new companies and those looking for a change.

Scalability, a concern when it comes to faithful reproduction on products and packaging, is becoming more of a focus due to the prevalence of mobile devices, the report said. As far as individual design components, mono-weight line work is continuing to hold a high level of popularity for businesses, who are using it for text, graphical elements and more abstract components. Logos with type resembling stylized handwriting, whether elegant and sophisticated or more scratchy and raw, are another popular concept. Flat facets on logos, such as diamonds and more abstract structures, are popular as well, taking the place of more detailed, and less concise, reproductions.

Reproducing a logo
The style and layout of a business logo should influence how these companies decide to add it to their products. For example, a logo featuring a significant amount of mono-weight work may have trouble standing out and attracting attention when reproduced in certain formats. At GMN we frequently work with companies to develop branded nameplates that not only appropriately display the brand name, but also communicate the brand essence. 

When developing a branded nameplate there are a number of strategies to highlight a logo with mono-weight.  A good approach would be to a three-dimensional effect that can be achieved through a number of manufacturing techniques such as embossing, debossing, 3D electroform, electroform and more.  When combined with a textured or patterned treatments, it creates a compelling, unique look that is hard to match.

Logos using a handwritten style may benefit from applying the unique signature form to an etched nameplate, often used for sleek and polished branding. By using this approach, it can look as if the text or image was drawn into the metal by hand or using the inverse, as shown here, it can give a stylized look creating the inverse. A wide variety of colors can be used to fill the metal base, combining the look of metal with full color.


Cynthia Schulte, GMN
By Cynthia Schulte | Oct 23, 2013
GMN Automotive

Today GM Nameplate announced the launch of a new brand: GMN Automotive.  The new brand is intended to underscore the company’s commitment to the automotive industry and communicate the diverse products that are available from GM Nameplate.       

GM Nameplate has served the automotive industry for 50 years as a supplier of decorative components.  Over the last decade, the company has expanded its offerings to include front panel integration, user interfaces, value-added assemblies and more.

“The branding of GM Nameplate’s automotive group highlights the significant position we currently hold within the automotive industry while offering customers a glimpse of the full range of processes and capabilities that we employ,” said Rich Smylie, who oversees the automotive group.

“We know automotive,” said Gerry Gallagher, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for GM Nameplate.  “However, because of all the industries we serve, that message is often lost.  GMN Automotive is a vehicle for us to share the specific capabilities we offer the automotive industry.” 

GM Nameplate is often incorrectly associated with General Motors.  The GMN Automotive brand also allows the company to differentiate from the automotive giant. 

To learn more about GMN Automotive, visit the new GMN Automotive website at

By admin | Mar 12, 2013
Plastic nameplate

By Lou Kiernan

I regularly work with customers that need a unique aesthetic for their parts. I recently used this Honda part to demonstrate how GMN can create a pronounced 3-D effect on a nameplate. 

Scott Ose and Betty Raper on the GM Nameplate team helped bring this part to life. They started with clear acrylic and printed solid white on the second surface. The blue logo detail is printed on the front side with the same press. They laminate the part and then cut the thick acrylic sheets into individual nameplates. The part is then domed on the front surface. This creates the illusion that the blue “H” logo is floating inside the domed acrylic.

The nameplate is used on countertop displays in dealership showrooms and the result is an eye-catching brand identity piece.