How to Design a Memorial Plaque

A memorial plaque is a lasting monument that takes thought to design.

Designing a memorial plaque during a difficult time may seem to be a daunting challenge. You want to create a lasting and loving marker to honor a lost loved one, but at the same time, your grief might overwhelm your decision-making or design process. Plaque or monument manufacturers have resources available to help you design your plaque, including templates or ready-made designs to assist you in this process.

Gather information about the deceased, including the correct spelling of the names and dates of birth and death. Write it down, then double-check to ensure this important data is completely accurate and without typographical errors.

Look through photos of the deceased if you are putting a picture on the plaque. Select one that portrays them in either the prime of their life, or a happy time such as childhood, or choose a recent photo if you wish to remember how the individual looked at the time of their death.

Look through a Bible, Torah, Koran or other religious material for comforting and inspirational quotes if the person who has passed away had a religious preference. Consider using a favorite passage or scripture. Choose a passage that is not too long or wordy, unless you like small type.

Look through a copy of the eulogy, if it is available, to write down some of the tributes that were spoken at a memorial service. Look for poignant and pertinent quotes that best capture the spirit of the deceased. You might find that the perfect phrase has already been written for you.

Sketch out an approximate mock-up of the plaque, including the name at the top, with the birth and death dates below. Decide where you will place a picture, if applicable. Sketch out a block for copy or text.

Add a simple flourish under the name or date. Add the image of a singular flower or a simple religious symbol, if appropriate, for the deceased.

Take your concept and sketch to a marker maker in your local area, or consider an online source for monuments such as, or

Elle Smith has been an advertising professional for more than 25 years. Her work for ABC, CBS and Sony Pictures Television has appeared on radio, on air, in print and outdoors. In addition, Smith has more than 20 years experience in marketing, graphic arts, commercial photography and print production, and is a licensed real estate agent with property management certification in California.