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Artisan Memorials

How to Design a Custom Headstone

If you’ve recently lost a loved one, you might find solace in this difficult time by focusing on ways to honour their memory, such as designing a custom headstone. A headstone offers a quiet place where you can reflect and remember your loved one, so it’s important to choose one that appropriately pays tribute and captures their spirit.

Designing a headstone is a big responsibility and you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed by the choices available, especially if this is the first major loss you’ve experienced. To help you through this process, the team at Artisan Memorials has written this guide on how to design a custom headstone. 

Where will it be placed?

When designing a headstone, it’s best to consider where it will be installed and check if the cemetery in question has any specific rules. If your loved one is being laid to rest in a churchyard, their headstone may have to comply with certain regulations; often, only religious inscriptions and imagery will be allowed. 

Both religious and non-religious burial grounds will usually have restrictions on the materials that a headstone can be made from; for safety reasons, most cemeteries will only permit stone headstones and won’t allow memorials made from plastic or acrylic resin. If you need more information on headstone regulations, why not check out this guide we’ve written on the subject?

Choose a size

Would you prefer a flat headstone for something more understated? Or would the additional space that a kerb memorial offers be a better option for your loved one? 

Naturally, the size of a headstone has an impact on the design, as smaller headstones won’t be able to accommodate anything too intricate. You’ll also have to consider who the headstone is for. Is it for one person, or will it be a companion or family headstone that commemorates multiple people?

Select a shape

Once you’ve established how big the headstone needs to be, you’ll then be able to choose a shape. The options are seemingly endless, but some of the most popular headstone shapes include:

  • Tudor arc
  • Square top
  • Check top
  • Peon top
  • Ogee top
  • Serpentine top
  • Half-round headstone

However, through proper collaboration with a trusted stonemason like the experts at Artisan Memorials, you’re not limited by traditional shapes and you can craft virtually any design of your choosing.

Decide on a material

As we’ve mentioned above, most cemeteries will stipulate that all headstones must be made from stone. While you might think that simplifies your decision, there are numerous types of stone to choose between. 

Here at Artisan Memorials, we ensure that all of our stone is robust enough to cope with the British weather so that durability doesn’t have to be a concern. This means that your choice mainly comes down to how you’d like the headstone to look. Nabresina and Portland limestone are perfect for those who’d prefer something paler, while Yorkshire sandstone is a warmer, mid-toned alternative. Slate is also a popular choice and is available in a range of darker colours.

Craft an inscription

The inscription is arguably the most important part of any headstone as it conveys a lasting message for future generations. 

You’ll need the essential information, such as the full name and date of birth of the deceased; however, a more personal epitaph could also be included. This could be anything from song lyrics and poetry to bible verses – whatever you feel best encapsulates your loved one. Imagery can also be included, and popular motifs include angels, butterflies and crosses. If you need inspiration on what to write on a headstone, check out our previous blog on the matter.

Our process

Here at Artisan Memorials, our team is backed by years of experience and is here to help you through this challenging time. We’ll start with a consultation, where we’ll discuss your loved one and how best to honour them. All of our headstones are entirely bespoke, so this is your chance to make any unique requests. Our experts will go away and create a series of designs so that you can view a range of options, before working closely with you to finalise a design. Then, we’ll order the stone from the quarry and our skilled stonemason will set to work, meticulously V-carving the design.

If you’d like our help designing a custom headstone that thoughtfully remembers your loved one, get in touch with the team at Artisan Memorials. Our experienced, compassionate professionals are always happy to schedule a consultation.


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