Laying Out the Graphics for a Plaque

Bob Hagel and his wife Dana own Eagle’s Mark Awards & Signs, offering a full line of personalized products using laser engraving, sand etching, and full-color UV direct print on products. They have offered awards, recognition, and signage products to organizations for more then a decade in the Southern California wine country.

Before I begin laying out the text and graphics for a plaque, I consider all the information the customer wants on the plaque. Is there more than one graphic? It is wordy? Is there a lot of room to fill? Does the plaque plate have a rectangular area, or do I have an odd shape to work with? If there is more than one graphic, has the customer asked for the specific graphics to be laid out in a particular order?

There may be a relationship with the graphics. For instance, a city seal and a police department special teams logo may be included. Making the team logo larger or more prominent than the city seal may be inappropriate. Ask about this consideration. I have several ongoing relationships with city governments and realize that a mistake with graphics can cost me the account, regardless of the desires of the person placing the order. Graphics can be an emotional subject, so layout and any needed changes should always be approved by your ordering customer. Make sure approvals are documented. 

If the plate (or acrylic) has a non-rectangular engraving area, consider whether a graphic can be placed in the odd-shaped area, especially if there is a lot of text. 

If the customer has not asked for the information to be placed in a specific order, I have a specific order I usually lay it out in. If the date used is the year, I place it before the award title (if there is one). This order would be: organization logo, year, award title, name, and words of appreciation or sentiment. To highlight the name, I may place an ornament under it, especially if there is plenty of leftover space.

Another method of making the name larger is to stack the first name over the last name. The recipient always likes to see their name standout. If a complete date, such as March 15, 2019, is used, I often place it last (sometimes as “Presented on…”

—Bob Hagel, Eagle’s Mark

Learn more about creating a laser engraved plaque, from order to delivery, in the April ’19 issue of A&E.