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Multitechnic expects increase in demand for commemorative plaques

Anoprinted aluminium in gold colour that is permanent for outdoor use.
Anoprinted aluminium is also available with a gold colour that is permanent for outdoor use. This can be useful where a gold colour is required but where brass would not be a practical choice.
Etched brass indoor memorial plaque
Etched brass is a traditional choice for indoor memorial plaques. A satin finish can be applied to reduce reflections and a lacquer to protect the surface, so just an occasional clean with furniture polish will keep it looking superb for many years. Outdoor brass plates are supplied with a polished finish and will require frequent cleaning with Brasso or a similar metal polish.
Anoprinted aluminium plaque under a tree.
Anoprinted aluminium is a good choice for plaques under trees or in garden locations where watering, grass cutting and bird droppings would damage less robust plaques. It will even stand up to being stood on, and if the graphics are black, it will never fade, not even in extreme sunshine.
Satin stainless steel with etched and paint filled graphicsused in an outdoor commemoration plaque.
Satin stainless steel with etched and paint filled graphics is a popular choice for outdoor commemoration plaques. Rust staining is a common problem with outdoor plaques, so it’s best to only use the best quality 316 marine grade stainless steel with plated brass or stainless steel fixings to ensure a long life.

Demand for commemorative plaques is going to be unusually high due to the Coronation of His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen Consort in May predicts Colin Edge, Managing Director of Multitechnic. A lot of these will be for tree plantings, because people love to plant trees to commemorate this sort of event, and you need to be able to offer them something appropriate that will ideally outlive the tree. All sorts of events will be taking place to mark the Coronation, so you are likely to be asked to provide plaques to commemorate these events under trees, inside buildings, outside buildings, or maybe even up a mountain, and you will be expected to know what is best for the job.

How should you advise your customer when they ask you for a commemorative plaque, whatever the occasion that is being commemorated? Well that of course depends on what it is for, and where it is going. Sometimes you will get the answer to the first question straight away. “I need a plaque for a royal visit” or “We need a memorial plaque for somebody” but rarely are they told the answer to the second question, which is the one that really matters.

Always ask where the sign will be going, because if it is by the sea, by an indoor pool, on the ground, or in any similar challenging location, you need to know that at the very start. Sometimes it is obvious. If they send an inscription that starts with “This tree was planted….” asking for a brass plaque, alarm bells should sound immediately. A brass plaque under a tree is simply not an option, but at least you know where it will be going, so you can advise something appropriate from the start. Brass outdoors is generally a bad idea unless it can be polished frequently, but under a tree, subject to damp conditions and what birds tend to do in trees, it is a particularly bad idea. If they like the idea of a metal plate, then you can advise etched stainless steel or anoprinted aluminium, or engraved slate or Corian are other good options for plaques under trees, in planters or flowerbeds, and other locations where signs will have to survive a bit of watering and gardening.

You will have to think about fixing the plaque in an appropriate manner. This might be a simple stake so the sign can be removed for garden maintenance and then put back, but you may need something more secure, so be prepared to design the sign around a sturdy post. If the plaque is likely to get a hard time in a public place, then mounting onto a secured block of stone in the ground may be best.

Brass is appropriate for indoor signs of course, but again you need to think about the sign itself, what will please the customer and work well. Traditional mirror polished brass is great outside a solicitor’s office where it will be polished almost daily to give that traditional look, but is that really what your customer wants for the opening of their new library? Often these plaques have quite a lot of small text, which is difficult to read against any sort of highly reflective surface, so if they like the idea of a brass opening plaque, offer them a light satin finish which looks much nicer, is not reflective, and can be lacquered so it will not require cleaning.

Size is another consideration. For tree plaques, small is usually beautiful, but for opening of a building, you tend to want something reasonably large to suit the space. Bigger will also mean more expensive, so get an idea of budget before working out costs for a large exotic plaque. Bench plaques are limited by the available space, and your customer is almost certainly going to know what size they want, but for everything else they will probably rely on you to advise the right size.

You will also be expected to know the correct wording, so keep this article handy. Many customers will arrive with the inscription that they have agonised over for weeks, editing it until they are finally happy, but is it correct? As always, the sign maker is expected to be the font of all knowledge and an expert on grammar, spelling, and punctuation, and some customers will require a bit of help to get it

right. One thing that you can ensure they get right is the correct title for the Coronation in May, which is the Coronation of His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen Consort, and yes those capital letters are correct. The King’s title is King Charles III, and if in doubt about the correct title for any of the Royal Family, it only takes a few seconds to look it up on Google and ensure you advise your customer well.

Most importantly of all, offer something that you know you can obtain reliably and quickly. People tend to think about commemorative plaques for a long time, usually far too long, so by the time they know what is to be written on it, time is usually getting a bit tight for getting it made in time. Make sure you can either make it yourself, or that you have a good supplier who can make it quickly for you, because commemorative plaques are almost always left just that little bit too late.


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