Ahh! Now that you point it out, I can actually see the difference - sorry for the bother, I really couldn't tell the difference between nameplates at all. Either way, no more wandering around Defiance Bay aimlessly trying to figure out who are potential quest givers and who are smatterings of backstory flavour for me - thanks!
I'm fairly sure that ever since 1.0.5.0567 backer NPCs are no longer showing as gold/yellow for me - not entirely sure that's when it started since it's just a minor visual bug - but I'm fairly sure they used to be quite distinct. The nameplates now look the same as any other NPC as seen in the screenshot below. I run the mac version from GOG (their latest binary) and OS X version 10.10.3. I don't have an old version of the application lying around and haven't gotten around to seeing if the behavior is the same on my PC. Sorry if there's some sort of setting I accidentally (en|dis)abled - I looked through them and didn't see anything obvious. Anyone else seeing this? I didn't see any references to it in the forums.