Plaques are a very traditional and versatile type of award to give out, but they can also be used for remembering someone’s life or accomplishments. With so many uses, how do I make sure I’ve picked out the right kind? Let’s take a look at some questions that you should ask yourself while in the deciding process.

What is the plaque for?

The first step to deciding what kind of plaque to get is to figure out your purpose. Is the plaque going to be an award to someone? Is it something to memorialize an accomplishment, and if so, how big is that accomplishment? Will it be displayed indoors or outdoors? What are you giving the plaque for? 

Who is it going to?

The next step is to determine who it is being given to. Is the plaque being given to the person who it is recognizing? If this is a work related accomplishment, how high up is the person who is receiving it? How long have they been with that company? Is it going to an institution to display in honor of a sponsor? 

What kind of material should it be made out of?

Depending on the answers to the past two questions, this question should be fairly easy to answer. The main materials that we handle when making plaques are presswood, real wood, glass, stone, bronze, and aluminum. Presswood and real wood are the most popular choices for standard award plaques. They are budget friendly and have a variety of finishes to fit whatever look you’re going for. For retirement plaques, piano finish plaques have a nice gleam that feels very classy. Other awards like district wide or region wide accomplishments tend to fall in the glass category because it feels like one step ahead. 

If you want something to be displayed outside, you should opt for stone, bronze, or aluminum so it will stand against the elements without the text coming off. Stone plaques are great for community gardens that like to show who donated each of the plants. They’re subtle, and can be mounted on a small stake next to rose bushes and other wonderful flowers. Plaques that are going in a park or are attached to outdoor sculptures are almost always cast in bronze or aluminum. Plaques that have been cast can take 6-8 weeks to have made, but they last significantly longer than a standard wood plaque with a metal plate engraved on it. 

How large should I make it?

The most popular sizes of plaques are 7×9 and 8×10. That said, plaques can range from as small as 4×6 all the way up to 12×15 and larger. One of the things to keep in mind is what you’re putting on the plaque. If you only have a few words to say, go with a smaller plaque and add some designs to take up more space. The size should scale up with the importance of the award. You wouldn’t pick out a 4×6 plaque for your best store in the region. An 8×10 or 9×12 would be more fitting.


If you made it through this list and still have questions on what would be the most fitting way to honor whatever occasion, maybe the real answer is to go with something custom. Here at Tempe Trophy, whether its a standard plaque, a casting, or a custom project, we’re more than happy to help!