When someone close to you passes on, it’s difficult to process all the things you have to think about. Unlike a wedding, where you savour the process of planning every detail, the pain that comes with funerals makes those finer points hard to bear. One thing you always want to be sure of, though, is a part of the people close to you will live on forever, long after you say goodbye. Commemorative plaques have become very popular for precisely this reason; a lasting tribute to those no longer with us.
In this article we will guide you through the key things to consider when choosing a plaque, so you have one less thing to worry about in difficult times.
- What kind of commemorative plaques are there?
- Choosing the right design for your plaque
- Finding the right shape for your plaque
- The best materials for a commemorative plaque
- Other things to consider
Commemorative plaques come in a range of materials, designs and finishes for both practical and personal purpose. Location is always important and you want to know your plaque can stand up to the elements, but also compliment the surrounding area you choose to display it.
You’ll often see commemorative plaques on the sides of buildings, in gardens or in a place of special significance to the person who passed away. That plaque should look like it naturally belongs where it is fixed, but also stand out enough that people can notice and acknowledge the life of someone dear to you.
You also want to be sure your plaque captures the spirit of the person you want to remember. Various styles, sizes, logos, messages and even life achievements or graphics are all elements you can choose to pay a fitting tribute.
Choosing the right design
Here are some tips to help you make the right design choices when deciding on a plaque:
- Think about fonts: Some fonts are more formal, while others have a slight casual feel to them.
- Make it readable: Choose the size of our text carefully, especially if the plaque will be fixed high or far from public access.
- Add personal touches: Never be afraid to ask for special motifs, engravings or images that capture the personality of who you want to remember.
- Know your colour options: You may be surprised by how many colours are available, so don’t lose out by underestimating your options (more on this shortly).
An important part of your design choice is the shape of the plaque itself. Some plaques need more space than others to accommodate your choice of text or other design features. Here are some tips to help you find the right shape for your plaque design:
- Oval plaques: Allow you to place longer quotes or a select few lines of text through the centre of the tribute – an attractive option for plaques displayed outdoors.
- Circle plaques: Give space for small passages of text; perhaps a better option if you have several lines to include in your design.
- Square plaques: Offer a contemporary look that makes your plaque stand out from more traditional designs. They also give you extra space to work with if you anticipate larger passages of text or additional design features.
- Rectangular plagues: Give you a wide range of dimensions to choose from; enough room to fit just about any combination of text and features, not to mention the ease at which they can be mounted in just about any setting.
The other big choice you have to make when choosing a commemorative plaque is the material. Above all else, you want to be sure the plaque will stand the test of time and any weather conditions mother nature might throw at it. But the material you go for also makes a big impact on the overall look and feel of your plaque.
Bronze commemorative plaques
Bronze has been a popular choice for memorial and commemorative plaques for some time – symbolising achievement, success and a reminder that this person was loved dearly. On a more practical note, bronze has remained popular for so long because of its strength and low maintenance. Even the strongest of winters are no match – precisely why you’ll see so many bronze memorials on park benches and in public gardens.
Bronze is also very versatile, meaning it rarely looks out of place in any setting. While another practical point is it’s incredibly easy to keep clean and ages well throughout the years.
Brass tribute plaques
Brass often looks very similar to bronze, but it comes in a wide range of alloys that produce different colours and shades. So, if you want that “classic” look with a bit of difference, then have a look at the range of brass options available. The only downside with brass is it can tarnish quite badly outside, meaning it takes more maintenance if you expose it to the elements. For indoor settings, though, it’s a versatile option that knows how to make an impression.
Stainless steel commemorative plaques
For a modern look that catches the eye, stainless steel is becoming a popular choice for commemorative and memorial plaques. Polished and engraved from high-quality steel, these plaques are built to capture people’s attention and have them take note of the life that passed on. Stainless steel is also commonly used with award plaques, touching on the notion of celebrating someone’s achievements, rather than focusing on their death.
Finally, stainless steel is strong enough to withstand all but the harshest of weather conditions. Even salt water won’t cause this material problems – making it a popular choice for plaques placed near the coast.
Granite commemorative plaques
Granite has become a popular choice for plaques and tombstones alike, offering a more contemporary alternative to bronze. It shares a number of qualities with bronze, though: it’s durable, stands up to harsh weather conditions and couldn’t be easier to clean and maintain. You’re not limited to grey and white granite, either. In fact, you may be surprised how many colours you have to choose from.
Other things to consider
Aside from the actual design of your plaque, it’s worth thinking about a few logistical points. First of all, it’s a good idea to decide where you want the memorial to be delivered to. You may prefer to have it shipped to your home address, direct to the cemetery or somewhere closer to an important site where you plan to display it.
Another point to think about is any restrictions there might be on displaying your plaque. For example, some cemeteries may have restrictions on the colours you can use. Never assume that special place you have in mind gives you permission to fix commemorative plaques. Always check with the necessary authorities to get clearance first. The last thing you want is to find out later that you can’t display the plaque in the place you had your heart set on.