Inside Look: Custom Decorative Overlays

Posted by on Jul 27, 2017

Post Image

Inside Look: Custom Decorative Overlays

No matter the design, custom overlays are a sure way to add more life to a manufactured product. Advertising professionals desire to make a logo or text really “pop.” Technology curators want the most futuristic look. Custom decorative overlays best accomplish this. Yet, there are several types, and knowing the difference between them can transform your project.


A printed overlay is a simple concept. It is used often in microwaves, ovens or laundry appliances. The plastic is printed on, either on its front or back side, with the desired image or text. A printed overlay is what makes the buttons on a microwave distinguishable from one another, or the labels on a washing machine. Text, numbers and thin lines are often done in printed overlay style.

Dead front

A dead front overlay is one that appears uniform and blank until the backlighting is illuminated. There is a layer of film or plastic acting as the lightguide between the light and the front panel. The backlight projects light through the translucent areas of the panel. This is a common design choice for television buttons, or remote controls, and even smartphone screens.

In mold

An in-mold decoration is used on products that aren’t necessary flat. It is commonly found on handles or raised buttons. The overlay design, beit text or image, is printed on a thin film that is formed around injection-molded resin. In-mold decoration is common in automobile interior designs.


An etched overlay is most commonly seen on metal surfaces that have been covered with one or more layers of paint. This overlay will have a design or text etched into the paint, revealing the surface beneath–metal or otherwise. Industrial equipment is often labeled with etched overlays for greater durability.

We hope that this breakdown of the different types of custom decorative overlays gives you a better understanding of what the best method may be for your project. Global Lighting Technologies is a proven leader in the field for producing cutting-edge and tailor-made lighting solutions, including innovative lightguides, and all types of backlighting and illumination. Continue to explore our site to learn more about our capabilities, or call us today at 440-922-4584 to speak with a representative for immediate assistance. We’ll be happy to answer any questions and help you start moving ahead with your project.

We bet you have a bright idea.

Let’s see how GLT can help make it a reality.

For even more information about GLT, view our company presentation at the link below.