Ideas for Creating the Perfect Memorial Plaque

memorial bench with plaque

In loving memory, you've decided to dedicate a memorial plaque to a dear friend, family member, or pet. Now that you chose the way to remember your loved one, the exact question of memorial plaque wording and design becomes the next logical step.

The memorial you choose is a personal way to reflect the way the person lived their life, what they loved, and what people love and remember about them. For those passing by, the message identifies the significance of the person, whether it’s on a tree, a bench, a building, or something else.

It’s important to get this noble gesture of recognition just right as it will live on for years to come. With a few memorial plaque ideas, examples, and tips, saying the right words just got a lot easier.

Placement of a memorial plaque

When you first have the idea for an "in memory of plaque," you probably also have an idea of where it should go. Sometimes the loved one's life suggests the right place and item to dedicate, and other times the opportunity presents itself. Common locations for a memorial plaque include:

  • on a memorial bench
  • in a garden
  • on a flag pole
  • on a building
  • in a hallway of a public building
  • on a painting or public artwork

Depending on the person or people you are remembering, you may find the best place for your plaque either inside or outdoors. Long-lasting materials are available for either type of setting.

memorial plaque on wall

Design ideas for memorial plaques

To create a lasting memorial for the person you intend to honor, keep the design legible, timeless, and straightforward.

  1. Shape and size: Custom plaques can be created in nearly any size and shape, so the important part is to find a size that fits your location.
  2. Material: Memorial plaques for outside are often made from durable cast aluminum or cast bronze for longevity and style.
  3. Cast plaques. You can choose different fonts, images, backgrounds, borders, and designs that convey your message and coordinate with the surroundings. Cast images and lettering with surface options, such as polished bronze or aluminum, or a rolled raise color, can add that finishing touch.
dog memorial plaque engraved with footprints

If you have more intricate memorial plaque ideas, you can still remain true to the principles of a simple, timeless memorial while creating a highly custom memorial plaque that includes etched metal photos, graphics, and hand-painted designs.

What to write on a memorial plaque

Each memorial tells a story, even if it only requires a few words. Your memorial plaque wording will show respect and preserve the memory of the deceased, allowing others to understand something about their life and contributions. In memory of plaque wording helps encapsulate your memories and express your loved one's importance to family, community, or friend groups.

With that in mind, the first tip is this: If you plan to include more than a few words, you may find that the best way to get the words right is to allow time -- as much as 18 months or so after the person has passed -- to get your wording just right. The more time you have, the easier it is to settle on what you want to express about the person's life.

Talk to others who knew the person to get a clearer picture of what that person's life meant to them. Many times, people are surprised to hear the same phrases over and over about their loved one, or may hear stories that they had not known or had forgotten. Learning this information may also be helpful in the grieving process -- for both yourself and those you communicate with.

Memorial plaque wording basics

Ask the plaque maker about how many words will fit best on the plaque size you have in mind. If it's a few lines of text available on a bench, the basics will do, and you can keep it simple and meaningful.


The dedication is important because it simply encapsulates the purpose of the memorial. Common dedication options include: In Memory of In Loving Memory Dedicated to the Memory of In Honor of Forever in Our Hearts A Life Well Lived In Treasured Memory of In Fondest Memory of


Include the full name of your loved one, or a nickname if they were well known in the community by that name.


You may want to include the dates of their lifespan. You can simply list the dates, or clarify with "Born" and "Died."

A quote

If you have room, you can select a brief quote that reflects the person's outlook on life, or the reason for the memorial. If the person didn't have a favorite quote, searching websites like Brainyquote can help find inspiration.

Unique memorial plaque wording ideas

If you have a larger plaque to design, you may need more unique plaque wording ideas. Some of the best ways to get ideas for writing a more lengthy memorial plaque are to consult the person's favorite book or search through online databases. You may want to include:

  • Inspirational quotes
  • A bible verse, prayer, hymn or other religious writing
  • A passage from a book
  • Idioms
  • Favorite sayings
  • Verses of a special song
  • A meaningful poem
  • A favorite movie quote

Finalizing your plaque

When you have your ideas for your memorial plaque wording and design, get feedback from others who knew your loved one before you finalize it. Also, be sure you have an opportunity to proof the final design before the plaque is created.

simple memorial plaque

There are a number of ways to create memorial plaques for outside that will stand the test of time. Whatever memorial plaque ideas you have in mind, Signature Streetscapes has professional consultants to help you create a beautiful and lasting tribute. Whether you choose to mark an important location, dedicate a new bench, or create another type of tribute, we can walk you through the simple process to create memorial plaques to honor your beloved forever.

About Olivia Hill

photo of author, olivia hill, art director at Signature Streetscapes

Olivia Hill has worked in the sign manufacturing industry for over 6 years. In the early parts of her career she worked as a design engineer and transitioned to art director within the last 2 years. She attended Grand Valley State University and obtained her degree in Fine Arts/Illustration, with a certification in metal-smithing and CAD. Olivia brings a slew of talents to the table to help customers bring a wide variety of projects to life.