Verbiage on a plaque can be informative, directive, humorous or respectful depending on your situation and the intended recipient. When planning the verbiage on a plaque, you must account for the audience. A plaque that is meant to hang on an office wall, for example, can be mildly humorous or contain an inside joke. Verbiage used on memorial plaques should be somber and respectful.
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Standard Business/Corporate Awards
Plaques used in the professional world should be appropriate for that atmosphere. Plaques are used to honor employees for demonstrating leadership skills or individual accomplishments. When working on verbiage for a corporate plaque, be sure to include the recipient's name, business or organization name, award date and reason for award. A brief corporate mission statement or company logo is also appropriate. For large awards being presented by a notable individual, you can include a "Presented By" line, as well as a thorough description of the task accomplished or reason for the award.
Humorous Business/Corporate Awards
Humorous plaques for the work environment must still be essentially non-offensive, but can use verbiage that is more whimsical or light-hearted. Situations that are appropriate for humorous plaques may include retirements, promotions, relocation or taking of long term leave (like maternity leave). A plaque meant for an employee about to go on leave might say, for example "To Sue, for leaving our family at ABC Company, to make a better family of her own."
Memorial plaques can be as small as two lines of text, or be a complex work of art that includes photographs or bas relief images. Verbiage on memorial plaques should be absolutely respectful. According to Classic Memorials, the verbiage on a memorial plaque (known as the epitaph) is frequently the defining factor to consider when ordering a memorial plaque. Classic Memorials suggests that you think carefully about memorial plaque verbiage. Typical verbiage included on memorial plaques includes: full name, birth and death dates, and poetic or religious quotes (known as bereavement verses). You can find bereavement verses easily by searching online.
Directive plaques can be used inside your office building to direct visitors using as few words as possible. A single word is almost always appropriate. When ordering directive plaques for your organization, list important locations in a building that visitors will be interested in: stairs, exit, reception, cafeteria, etc.
Plaques used as sports trophies should include information about the issuing organization, place awarded (ie. 3rd Place), year and class or division. Larger sports awards (like year-end or high-point awards) should also include a total of points.