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    Checklist for effective military nameplate and label design

    June 8 '23


    Product identifiers follow strict guidelines to ensure a durable solution; these guidelines vary with the industry, especially in defense, aviation, and space. Material quality and manufacturing processes must comply with the high standards set by the officials. 

    In this article, you will see how product identification manufacturers meet these standards by following design considerations.

    Design considerations for military nameplates/labels

    Manufacturers of product identification solutions follow military standards to help achieve the standardization objectives of the United States Department of Defense. Military standards are also known as MIL-STD or MIL-SPEC, and manufacturers follow standards like MIL-DTL-15024F and MIL-P-19834B, which you will find in the later section of this article.

    One of the design considerations is to follow these specs, which we will see later in this article. Let’s see the checklist to follow while designing these MIL-SPEC nameplates/labels.

    1. Specify the operational benchmarks of the project.

    The performance of identifiers is determined based on the application environment. For example, labels used for outdoor conditions require more rigorous materials compared to indoor conditions as they need to withstand varying environmental conditions. Experts recommend using an outdoor labeling solution guide for the best understanding. In terms of performance standards, we have to weigh five factors,

    • Material life span: As said earlier, the materials used for outdoor applications need to compete with rugged conditions. So, choosing an appropriate material is a key decision. Usually, this factor is measured in years.
    • Abrasion resistance: Surviving the odds of wear and tear is yet another challenge. An abraser tester can be used to check the resistance ability of the material. The wearing of the material is measured in cycles following a well-prepared evaluation procedure.
    • Temperature resistance: Withstanding the varying nature of temperature is the primary concern when choosing a material for manufacturing. Material is thus chosen based on the application environment; measured in degrees.
    • Humidity: Another factor that may cause a short life span for nameplates/labels is humidity. Exposure to seawater will cause damage to the identifiers; for example, the nameplates used in the marine industry require to withstand the proximity of the sea wind. For accurate measurement, the material is kept inside a salt spray chamber for days. If it last long, then the durability is high; measured in days.
    • Chemical resistance: Chemical attacks are often for an industry open to literally all situations. Sea, water, air, earth, fire – every element will cause the life of these materials. It is measured in hours before degradation.

    So, here is what the first checklist consideration looks like,


    Aluminum is one of the recommended materials that comply with military standards. To be specific, Metalphoto provides high durability as the data displayed on the nameplate/label is sealed inside the anodized aluminum. This provides outstanding performance by resisting abrasion, chemical exposure, and temperature variations.

    A second surface-printed label with polycarbonate is ideal to protect the ink from exposure to elements like moisture or ocean air. That’s how the labels added on the ships are saved from the proximity of salt water. 

    2. Understand the data the nameplate/label will display.

    The next immediate consideration after the performance criteria is to learn what kind of data to include in the application. Ask these three questions to understand the customer’s requirements and meet their expectations.

    • Will the data be static (same on every nameplate) or variable (serialized by plate)?
    • What kind of data to include?
    • Does high-resolution graphics require to include?

    Record the answers and jump to the next consideration. Printing clear and high-resolution barcode labels will help the officials to track the items like model number, fleet number, etc. Also, with a perfect ink or printing technique, the other important details are marked perfectly on the nameplates or labels.

    3. Ensure certified materials are in use for manufacturing.

    As mentioned earlier in this article, there are many military specifications to follow while manufacturing product identifiers. Check the list of industrial standards to mark in your checklist.

    • PGDQ2.MH15654: Concerns about Marking and Labeling Systems – Component  
    • PGJI2.MH49192: Concerned about the printing materials on nameplates and labels 
    • PGAA.LP3173: This program confirms that UL authorized us to print the UL logo and all its variations.
    • Standard UL 969: Products manufactured under this standard are pre-qualified and tested for durability.
    • MIL-P-19834: Military spec engravings standard for adhesive-backed foil plates. 
    • MIL-DTL-15024F: General requirements for military nameplates and labels. 
    • MIL-P-19834B: Relates to military adhesive-backed foil labels. 
    • MIL-STD-130M: Describes data content required in a machine (UID) and human-readable marking. 
    • MIL-STD-13231: Specifically relates to the marking of electronic equipment.

    Make sure your label material meets the specifications of your customers.

    4. Decide the physical attributes of the nameplate/label specific to the application.

    The final factor to consider is the physical attributes. Based on the requirements, specify the following physical considerations.

      • Thickness
      • Size
      • Adhesives to use based on the application material

    Hence, by understanding the performance, data, materials used, and physical attributes, designing a military nameplate/label will become easier. You can access the free design checklist for quick access and use it for all upcoming projects.