expand Why should we consider a cast bronze grave marker?

Cast bronze is widely considered by experts and historians as one of the most innovative alloys of mankind for making tools, weapons, armour, sculptures and artwork, and various building materials over thousands of years since items made of bronze were harder and more long-lasting than their stone and copper counterparts.

Bronze plaques and grave markers, which start with the melting together of pure ingots of copper, tin and lead in industry-approved ratios before being poured into molds prepared by experienced craftsmen, are the "gold standard" for memorializing, dedicating and recognizing loved ones, milestones and achievements, donors and sponsors, historical events and other important occasions.

expand We just ordered a marker with the cemetery. Can we order from you instead?

After doing an online search for "examples of epitaphs" or "epitaph samples" and finding our collection of helpful epitaph selections, many visitors to our website will discover that we offer more affordable prices, better and more contemporary artwork choices, and a more generous amount of text without any additional charges compared to what was offered to them when they just ordered their bronze grave marker from a cemetery, memorial park or funeral home.

And although they want to add a popular Bible verse, or write a more complete and personalized epitaph for their loved one on the marker they ordered, these same individuals realize the cost of doing so through the cemetery, memorial park or funeral home could easily add $200 to $300 to the price since they're normally only allowed five words or 25 characters such as "He Was Loved By Everyone" before being charged extra.

That's why it's easy to understand how more than 60 percent of our customers had already ordered a marker elsewhere before finding us while looking for epitaph examples so they could prepare their own and submit it to the cemetery, but then changed their minds and decided to purchase their bronze marker from us instead.

The professional staff members at cemeteries, memorial parks and funeral homes know that today's families can often find better values for bronze markers online and they are typically courteous about cancelling the original order once they're told a customer has found a marker that more closely meets their expectations.

The cancellation is easy because, unless the family already submitted an epitaph to the cemetery or funeral home, the order couldn't have been forwarded yet to the foundry for processing.

expand What's the main difference between you and other bronze marker foundries?

There are actually only a handful of professional bronze foundries left in the United States and Canada. Our foundry is one of the last ones that is still family owned, having been established in 1909, so you are guaranteed factory-direct quality and "Old World"-style grave marker craftsmanship with more than 100 years of experience.

Most retailers--including those with Internet websites and local cemeteries and funeral homes--are re-sellers of bronze plaques and grave markers made by one of just a few large suppliers. Although they are not involved in designing or casting your bronze marker or plaque, retailers earn a healthy profit by taking a customer's order and submitting it to the bronze foundry for processing.

The websites of most reputable bronze foundries can be found on the Internet along with dozens of small companies who re-sell their plaques and markers to the public. The difference between the quality of any of these organizations' castings and ours can be clearly seen by comparing the photos of their completed projects with those in the photo gallery section of this website.

In particular, look closely at the crispness of their lettering and artwork to determine if it meets your expectations compared to the sharp letters and edges of the examples in our close-up photos.

In surveys of our customers, some who order bronze grave markers regularly as part of their business, they tell us they appreciate our fast proof turnarounds, custom approach to the artwork used in the grave marker designs, reliable customer service and consistency of bronze marker casting quality compared to what they've experienced with other bronze foundries. We're certain our new customers will agree!

expand What is the first step in ordering a bronze grave marker?

Before placing an order with us, our customers must first meet with or call the cemetery, memorial park or funeral home's sales, family service or marker administrator staff to determine the rules, policies and fees regarding grave markers at the location where it will eventually be installed.

Each cemetery or memorial park typically has very specific requirements that must be adhered to such as a bronze marker's size, it's background color, style of border or edge, and type of base such as granite or concrete, if any, on which it must be mounted.

In fact, some cemeteries will only allow granite or marble markers and not ones made from bronze while others prefer bronze markers only. That's why it's obviously important for a customer to learn about these restrictions in advance from an experienced professional who handles arrangements for that specific property on a daily basis.

And while, as part of our service, we will contact the cemetery, memorial park or funeral home (based on the information our customers give us during the online ordering process) to double-check with them that the marker being purchased meets their requirements, it is ultimately our customers' sole responsibility to ensure the marker they order conforms to that cemetery or park's criteria.

expand Can a cemetery or funeral home force us to buy a grave marker from them?

Purchasing a grave marker at the best price and with the most extras from a retailer who has great customer service should be treated like buying any other item that is important to a family.

However, when purchasing a grave marker, it's important to be a smart shopper and not let someone try to convince you that buying a marker from them is the only option available, especially if their price is more expensive, the artwork choices are limited or there are extra charges for wanting to have a complete epitaph instead of just the five words normally allowed.

Although the vast majority of cemeteries are fair and ethical in their dealings with families, it isn't uncommon for more aggressive, profit-driven employees or individual companies to falsely inform families that they can't purchase a bronze marker from an outside source or, if they do, they'll be charged extra fees.

It's regretful that this sometimes happens, but our customers should know that their right to purchase a grave marker from anybody they choose, and to have it installed at a cemetery or memorial park, is protected by federal free-trade laws as long as the marker meets the location's requirements.

If a customer feels unfairly coerced or "tricked" by a cemetery, memorial park of funeral home staff into buying any product or service, he or she should be firm in explaining that consumer protections related to funeral arrangements are well-publicized on the Internet along with the steps necessary to submit complaints to the Federal Trade Commission or the Funeral Consumers Alliance if such unethical behavior is encountered.

Sharing with an uncooperative cemetery or funeral home employee who is using "scare tactics" that you are aware of your consumer rights usually inspires an immediate improvement in honesty and overall customer service.

expand What questions should we ask the cemetery staff about our grave marker?

When you talk with the cemetery or memorial park staff, tell them you are going to purchase a bronze grave marker foundry-direct through us--with unlimited "text-that-fits" at no extra charge--and that you need to confirm what kind of marker you need according to the cemetery or park's rules, the type and size of grave space you have (or will) purchase, etc.

As mentioned, cemeteries and memorial parks each have their own requirements for the size and type of memorials they will allow and it's important for our customers to understand it's their sole responsibility to ensure the marker they plan to order meets the cemetery or park's criteria.

Note: As part of our service, we will contact the cemetery, memorial park or funeral home directly (based on the information our customers give us during the online ordering process) to double-check with them that the marker being purchased meets their requirements.

If the cemetery or memorial park indeed allows bronze grave markers, here is a list of questions you are encouraged to ask their staff so you can then know which marker to purchase from us (you can also click here and a separate window will appear with a list of questions that can be printed beforehand and filled in while talking with them).

Introduction: Explain to the cemetery or funeral home staff, "We intend to purchase a bronze grave marker online direct from the foundry and we need to confirm exactly what kind of marker we need and what rules or limitations we should know before ordering. Do you have a few minutes for me to go down a list of questions and take notes to help make this easier for us?"

Example questions (or click here to download a list of questions that can be printed beforehand and filled in while talking with the staff):

1) The foundry requires signed approval from a cemetery before an order is placed with them and will be calling, and/or faxing a form, to you to confirm that the bronze marker we're buying from them meets requirements. What is the full name, phone and fax numbers of the person they should talk to?

2). What is the cemetery's official name and actual street shipping address if we decide to ship the bronze marker directly there by FedEx Ground?

3). Can we get a copy of the cemetery's rules and regulations for our review and records?

4). Given the grave space we own (or are purchasing), what size(s) of bronze marker can, or should, we be ordering? Bronze Marker - Width _______" Height _______"

5). We're just ordering the bronze grave marker from the foundry. What type of base or foundation is required for it to be mounted on (i.e. granite or concrete)?

6) Given the size of the bronze marker for our grave space, what is the minimum or maximum size of the base or foundation for the bronze marker to be mounted on?
Base/Foundation - Width _______" Height _______ " Max. or Min. Thickness?______"

7). Since we're ordering the bronze marker separately, who mounts it on the base or foundation and installs it at the grave site? The cemetery staff? A monument company? What is the fee charged for this service?

8). If a granite base is required, do you sell them or have the name and phone number of a local company from whom we can purchase one?

9). If a granite base for the bronze marker is required, are there restrictions on the color of granite allowed?

10). If a concrete base is required, are pre-made slabs available or is the concrete normally poured wet and the bronze marker installed as it sets and dries? What fees are charged?

11). Since we're buying the bronze marker separately from the base, we want to make sure the four threaded studs or lugs on the back of the bronze are placed in the right location by the foundry so they match exactly with any pre-drilled holes in the granite base or concrete slab.

What do we need to know so we can tell the bronze foundry precisely where the four threaded studs or lugs need to be placed on the back of the marker?

12). Are there any restrictions on the bronze marker's: Background color? Type of edge (i.e., bevel)? Style, size or type lettering for the names and epitaph (i.e., only all capitalized letters allowed)?

13). What kind of paperwork, permit or application do we need--if anything--to sign and submit for the marker and installation? Who needs to sign the forms (i.e., the lot owner or next of kin)?

14). Do you have to see and approve a layout of the bronze marker design prior to its installation?

15). The foundry doesn't like selling markers with bronze flower vases due to incidents of theft, but if we still wanted to order a vase in our marker does the cemetery allow it?

16). Note: This question is normally only applicable to Catholic cemeteries. Do you require the bronze marker design to include a Christian symbol such as a cross or image of Jesus? If so, what kind of symbols are suggested?

17). Note: This question is only for customers who own or are purchasing a double grave space, are interested in purchasing one double or companion bronze marker with two names that covers both graves, and at least one of the individuals is still living. Do you allow double bronze markers with one or two replaceable date-of-birth/death scrolls or plates which can be updated in the future with the date of death? Does the name of the husband or wife have to be on a certain side as you look at the marker from the foot of the grave?

expand Will any cemetery accept the bronze grave marker we order from you?

As long as a grave marker meets a cemetery or memorial park's specifications, they know they are legally required by federal law to accept the marker, even if it was purchased elsewhere. It is, however, our customer's sole responsibility to contact their cemetery or memorial park's administrators to ensure the marker they plan to order meets their various criteria.

expand What kind of foundation or base will the marker need to be installed on?

Bronze markers are commonly mounted on granite or concrete bases or set in poured wet concrete slabs. Please talk with the cemetery, memorial park or funeral home's sales or family service professional to learn more about what type of foundation or base is needed at the location where the marker will be located.

In most cases, individual cemeteries will pour or install the foundation for the monuments and markers to be placed there (a separate fee is charged), however some cemeteries--especially small rural ones--don't have the staff to provide this service and will instead refer a family to one or more outside monument companies to handle it.

expand Where can we buy the grave marker's granite or concrete base?

The cemetery, memorial park or funeral home who informs a customer about the marker rules, restrictions and fees is usually best able to tell them their options for purchasing a base for the bronze grave marker, if one is required.

Some cemeteries sell granite bases themselves or, more likely, can recommend a local monument dealer who both has a good selection from which to choose and knows the requirements for the various cemeteries and memorial parks in the area.

If a cemetery requires only a concrete base on which to mount the marker, it's likely that they have pre-made ones available for purchase on-site or will charge to pour a fresh cement slab to install the bronze marker once it is delivered to them.

expand Why don't you sell granite bases for mounting bronze grave markers?

Granite bases weigh too much to be shipped by UPS or FedEx Ground and therefore must be delivered at greater expense via a common carrier trucking firm directly to the cemetery where a loading dock or forklift normally must be available.

Our customers seem to agree that being charged for a bronze marker to be shipped together with a heavy granite base across the country is unnecessary if the base styles and colors can be viewed, chosen and purchased by them nearby, or from, the cemetery or memorial park where the marker will be installed.

Since our bronze markers weigh only about 20-45 lbs. and are shipped via UPS or FedEx Ground, customers have the option of having them delivered either to the cemetery or memorial park or to their residence or business so they can unwrap and see it immediately before taking it later to the cemetery, park or local monument dealer for mounting and installation.

expand Where can we have the bronze grave marker shipped?

Since our bronze markers weigh only about 20-45 lbs. and are shipped via UPS or FedEx Ground, customers can choose to have them delivered either to the cemetery or memorial park or to their residence or business so they can unwrap and see it immediately before later taking it later to the cemetery, park or local monument dealer for mounting and installation.

expand Who will install the bronze marker at the cemetery or memorial park?
Experienced staff from the cemetery or memorial park will often handle the actual installation of the grave marker while others allow--or require--outside monument companies to install it, especially if it's a small rural cemetery that doesn't provide that service. Please talk with the cemetery or memorial park's sales or family service professional to learn more about normal procedures, policies and the fees typically charged.
expand Will the cemetery charge an installation fee if we buy a bronze marker from you?
Whether they purchase their bronze grave marker from a cemetery or from us, our customers will be charged an installation fee by the cemetery. It's an essential part of their need to generate revenue for maintenance of their property and to cover other operational costs.
expand Can we get a free layout of our bronze grave marker before we buy it?
Due to the number of paid orders we receive, we are unable to create custom bronze grave marker designs for customers unless payment is received first. This keeps us from dedicating our time and effort to individuals who may not yet be as serious about making a purchase.
expand How many words can we write for the grave marker's epitaph?

Our bronze grave markers give individuals the flexibility to affordably include a complete amount of "text-that-fits" (that is, as much text as the size of the marker and artwork will attractively allow) without any per-letter or word penalties as typically charged by other bronze grave marker retailers beyond a simple five-word or 25-character epitaph such as "He Was Loved By Everyone."

We prefer not to give direction on the exact number of words customers can have on their bronze grave marker since it depends on the artwork desired, final size of each letter and how much area the different sizes of letters take up, but we encourage them to take a balanced approach of not too many, or too few, words so there is the best chance that everything will adequately fit.

If there are more words than space available, we might ask a customer to edit the epitaph so that it fits more attractively on the particular size of grave marker being ordered.

Note: Some poems, verses and phrases are copyrighted and therefore protected by law from use without permission from their owner(s). It is our customers responsibility to ensure any copyrighted material that they want to appear on their grave marker has received prior permission from the appropriate owner(s) before it is submitted to us for casting in bronze.

expand Why don't you charge per-letter or word like other bronze marker retailers?

The price charged by most bronze grave marker retailers normally only includes a very limited number of total characters and/or lines of text (typically a name, date of birth/death and a five-word or 25-character epitaph). Any words or characters beyond the restricted amount will incur additional charges.

Unfortunately, families who are purchasing a bronze grave marker and want to add a simple Bible verse or adequate terms of endearment usually find it's too costly since most bronze foundries and re-sellers impose $2.50 to $3.50 per-character or per-word charges for anything more than the standard name, date of birth/death and five-word or 25-character epitaph such as "He Was Loved By Everyone."

They justify the extra per-letter and word fees by saying it takes their design staff more time to add extra text to a layout, but most agree this charge serves as a "penalty" and a way to keep customers from wanting more on their bronze grave markers so the workload and backlog of orders is less for the foundry employees, saving them time and money.

All of our bronze plaques and grave markers include unlimited "text-that-fits," meaning we don't charge extra as long as there is space to attractively showcase the desired number of words with the chosen artwork.

After all, especially when it comes to bronze grave markers, we understand that after a choice of casket, burial vault and other purchases made as part of a typical arrangement are eventually buried from view, the only remaining vestige of a loved one is the words of reflection and inspiration on the bronze. So why should there be any "penalties" to keep a family from expressing their full sentiments for future generations to read?

expand Why don't you use all capitalized letters in your grave marker designs?

If you look at most bronze grave markers cast over the past 75 years or more you'll notice that the text is normally in all capitalized letters. Other bronze foundries like using all capital letters since they don't have to worry about their staff spending extra time deciding which letters are in upper or lower case, and "all caps" in their estimation form neat and uniform blocks.

Since foundries in the past usually only offered a name, date-of-birth/death and short five-word verse on a marker, they didn't have to worry about the fact that all caps take up 40% more space than when using upper and lower case letters. They also didn't have to be concerned with the results of numerous studies done by the newspaper, advertising and magazine industries that prove all caps is more difficult to read.

Since one of the main benefits of purchasing one of our bronze grave markers is the generous amount of text we allow for an epitaph at no additional charge, and difficult-to-read all caps monopolize so much space, families can expect proofs for their loved one's markers will normally include upper and lower case letters (unless we are instructed otherwise) just as they would see in a favorite newspaper or magazine read by thousands.

expand It's not easy thinking of the perfect epitaph to write. Can you help us?

Certainly! We know from experience that it can be difficult, and even frustrating, for surviving friends and family members to try to come up with "just the right words" at a time that's often full of emotions and so many other decisions to be made. That's why we've prepared an "Epitaph Examples" section on this website where you can see different verses to help inspire your thoughts for one.

Please remember that some poems, verses and phrases are copyrighted and therefore protected by law from use without permission from their owner(s). It is our customers responsibility to ensure any copyrighted material that they want to appear on their grave marker has received prior permission from the appropriate owner(s) before it is submitted to us for casting in bronze.

expand Are there limits to how small the lettering can be for a bronze grave marker?

Our foundry prides itself on having a proprietary process for ensuring even relatively small letters are cast with crisp and sharp edges, one of the main differences between our company and the quality offered by all other bronze foundries.

However, even when our "Old World"-style bronze marker casting is combined with this modern technology, there are limits to how small certain letters and graphics can be reduced before we are unable to guarantee the professional appearance of the grave marker and will need to advise our customer that the characters or artwork needs to be larger.

expand Are there costs for requesting non-English language letters in the design?
Due to the added difficulty of incorporating non-English alphabet text (i.e., for languages other than Spanish, Italian, etc.) into a grave marker design, we charge $50 extra if artwork with the proposed text isn't provided to us for the layout, but only if we are able to create the layout from a key or translation chart that we have available for certain languages. For assistance, call us at (805) 641-0080 weekdays during normal business hours (PST).
expand What kind of artwork can we choose for the grave marker?
Please visit the "Design Themes" page of this website's bronze grave markers section to see categories of artwork to accompany your epitaph. Since the designs are in digital form, the artwork can be reduced or enlarged according to the amount of text in the epitaph decided upon. If the desired artwork isn't seen, customers are encouraged to make a special request and our designers will do their best to find the appropriate art to complement the epitaph they have written.
expand Are your artwork choices better than other bronze retailers?

Customers ordering bronze grave markers from us say they enjoy the ability to choose from more contemporary artwork for the marker design in digital form which means it can be reduced or enlarged in size according to how much text is submitted for the epitaph.

In the past, traditional bronze foundries allowed families to choose up to three so-called "emblems," about 2 to 3 inches in size, from a selection of hundreds of designs at no charge to serve as artwork on their bronze marker.

The problem is that the emblem choices, most from the 1940s and 50s, are often described by those with the most experience--professionals at cemeteries, memorial parks and funeral homes--as being "childish, unprofessional, old fashioned, outdated, irrelevant, silly."

In fact, a search of a leading bronze foundry's emblem selection included such items as: a life preserver, shopping cart, kitchen spoon, lightbulb, walkie talkie, tattoo gun, 1970s-era typewriters and computers, Scottish dancer, wire spool, phonograph, glass cutting tools and similar images.

This type of artwork, industry professionals have always unsuccessfully complained to the big bronze foundries, did little to make families feel they were choosing a graphic that accurately reflected their loved one's personality or interests.

In comparison, if one of our customers doesn't see the kind of artwork they prefer in our "Design Themes" section, they're encouraged to make a special request and our designers will do their best to find the appropriate art to complement the epitaph they have written.

expand Who actually designs your bronze grave markers?

We have a talented team of graphics specialists who look forward to receiving a customer's desired information and epitaph, art theme choice and any other custom preferences they might have so we can thoughtfully prepare a timely layout of the cast bronze marker for review, changes and approval prior to starting the multi-step casting process.

Unless specific lettering or "font" sizes and styles, punctuation, capitalization and/or other direction is provided, customers agree to allow our design team the flexibility to use their experience and discretion to create the most attractive layout possible given the amount of words submitted, the artwork desired and the space available.

As previously mentioned, we prefer not to give direction on the exact number of words a customer can have on their grave marker since it depends on the artwork desired, final size of each letter and how much area the different character sizes take up, but we encourage our customers to take a balanced approach of not too few, and too many, words so there is the best chance that everything will fit well.

If there are more words than space available, a customer might be asked to edit the epitaph so that it fits more attractively on the particular sized marker being ordered.

expand Can one or more color photos be included on the bronze marker?

Absolutely! In fact, photos--or round 3 1/2" US military service seals--reproduced on durable and brilliant ceramic or porcelain ovals and mounted in open raised bronze frames on a marker are a wonderful way to remember a loved one whether the photo is in full color, black & white or sepia tone (the slightly faded brown color of many old-time photos that represents the unique look of a bygone era).

IMPORTANT: Some cemeteries and memorial parks don't allow ceramic or porcelain photos on bronze markers at their property so be sure to confirm with them first to determine their policy.

expand We'd like to have a handwritten signature appear in bronze. Can we?

A handwritten signature in bronze looks great on a grave marker, whether when used to replace the individual's name in hard type or added at the bottom of the marker as an artistic element. There are two choices for how to provide a clean copy of the signature in dark ink to be used, preferably on a white background:

1). Mail it to our address found on the "Contact Us" page of this website, or

2). Have the signature scanned at 300dpi (dots per inch) resolution at the enlarged size of about 4 inches by someone who understands the proper way to scan photos and e-mail it to us at: Info@BronzeMarkersAndPlaques.com.

If the sample is deemed to be of suitable quality to successfully be cast in bronze, our design team will include it in the layout and submit the proof for the customer's review and approval as is usual.

expand What if we have a special design in mind for the grave marker to look like?

Customers with a special request for a grave marker's design can simply let us know in advance during the ordering process and we will ask our designers to follow their instructions as closely as possible.

Some typical requests are for all letters to be capitalized, to center some or all of the text or perhaps align it in a certain manner (such as with a poem), to put certain words in a handwritten script font to create a sense of elegance, etc.

Some customers will even create a rough sketch by hand, or on their computer, and send it to us if they have a specific layout in mind for the words and/or artwork.

A customer shouldn't be concerned if they aren't sure what the marker's design should look like since most of those ordering our grave markers don't either. In fact, our customers tell us they enjoy the simplicity of giving our design team the freedom to create a customized layout (which usually meets with their immediate approval on the first draft).

We know our customers appreciate the care and thoughtfulness our staff puts into their final design, whether they provide specific direction for the layout or not as is usually the case.

expand Why do you have less sizes, border styles and lettering fonts than other retailers?

We've learned a lot from our customers! They tell us they don't have the time or professional graphic design experience to hassle with all the choices most bronze retailers make them go through just to order a bronze plaque or grave marker!

By surveying our customers, we discovered that it's frustrating for them to have to understand and choose from a confusing array of choices such as bronze plaque sizes, background textures and colors, border styles, and styles of fonts or lettering for the text.

They've told us again and again that those decisions are really of little interest to them compared to being able to include more words at no additional charge...our specialty...in a quality bronze marker.

As a result, Simplified Design offers just the most popular sizes of bronze markers and has reduced the number of decisions in the traditional plaque and grave marker ordering process with what survey respondents wholeheartedly said would be much more important and satisfying to them....more words and personalization without more cost.

Can a customer still get a bronze grave marker in a size, or with a background texture or border style, different than what is seen on our website? Absolutely! We encourage special requests, most of which we can satisfy.

expand Will you offer a size, border style or lettering we don't see on the website?
Our website offers the most popular sizes and styles of bronze plaques and grave markers, but if a customer wants one in a different size, or with a background texture or border style, they can contact us with their special request. We're sure to be able to meet their needs!
expand Will we be given a proof of the grave marker's layout before it is cast?

Absolutely! Our designers strive to create an initial proof for your review in hours, not days, when orders are received Monday through Friday. This depends on the number and complexity of other plaque and marker designs in production, but we understand the sooner a customer can approve the design so it can can start the multi-step casting process the sooner they will receive the finished product.

Unless specific font sizes and styles, punctuation, capitalization and/or other direction is provided, by submitting an order for one of our quality cast bronze plaques or grave markers a customer agrees to allow our design team the flexibility to use their experience and discretion to create the best layout possible given the amount of text provided and plaque or marker space available to ensure the most attractive appearance.

NOTE: Although we respect our customers' right to make revisions to their plaque or grave marker so that it meets their expectations, we reserve the right to charge a fee if excessive changes--as determined solely by us--are required by our customers. We are not responsible or liable in any way for misspellings or errors in fact contained in the information submitted by customers.

expand How will the layout be sent to us for proofing?
During the online ordering process, customers will be given a chance to tell us whether they'd like the proof faxed or e-mailed (as a JPEG image or PDF document) to them once the design is ready.
expand Are there costs if we make a lot of proofing changes?
Although we respect our customers' right to make revisions to their bronze grave marker so that it meets their satisfaction, we reserve the right to charge a fee if excessive changes--as determined solely by us--are required by our customers after the first or second draft.
expand How should we submit our changes after reviewing a proof?
We often require that the changes be indicated in writing on the proof itself, but sometimes it's as easy as explaining to us by phone or in an e-mail and we'll inform the design team. If changes to the layout are needed, we will immediately prepare a new proof for review and approval unless the changes are minor and a customer indicates in writing that they don't need to see another proof after they're made.
expand What happens if we approve the proof and change our minds later?

Sometimes a change of heart, overlooked details that should have gone on the grave marker or the realization that some of the text had errors in fact will result in a request for an adjustment to the bronze marker after it has already been approved and has begun the mulit-step production process.

Although this is understandable, our customers should acknowledge that they will be responsible for the charge to make a change, a cost that largely depends on what phase of production the marker is in when the change is requested. For example, a change needed within hours of approving the initial marker proof might not require any charge at all while one requested a day after the approval might still be minimal.

However, if a change is required many days after approval of the proof, it might be too late and any alterations at that point might mean the marker has to be completely recast and/or refinished, resulting in a substantially higher cost to make the change. Since changes to a marker after your approval are handled on a case-by-case basis, please talk to us for more details.

expand Who is responsible if we approve the proof and later see an error?
Although we do our best to proofread and check for errors ourselves as well, it is ultimately the customer's responsibility to ensure the information, spelling and other elements of the marker meet their satisfaction before approving the proof. As previously mentioned, any errors discovered, or changes needed, after the marker has been approved and has begun the production process will normally cause an additional cost that will be the customer's sole obligation.
expand Can we order a grave marker with a bronze flower vase?

Due to the rising cost of precious metals and thefts of bronze vases at cemeteries and memorial parks throughout North America, a source of heartache for families and headaches for those managing such properties, Simplified Design prefers not to offer markers with vases, an all-too-easy target for thieves today, which also infringe on the amount of space that could be better used for complete epitaphs.

Also, since the hallmark of our products is the generous amount of text and artwork the bronze markers can accommodate, we'd rather not include vases in them since we feel the limited space on a marker is better used for more complete expressions of celebration.

However, if requested, a 9-inch high bronze urn (4 1/2 inches in diameter) is available for an extra charge. If ordered, the bronze flower vase sits within a ring setting on the bronze marker. When the vase is not in use it can be turned upside down to prevent it from filling with water, leaves or dust. Click here and a separate window will appear showing an example of the vase.

expand How long does it take for the bronze marker to be delivered?
Upon approval of the proof, casting of a bronze grave marker is normally completed within 20-25 business days. Another week is required for shipping. This is an approximate (not guaranteed) time frame and shouldn't be strictly relied upon, particularly if planning an unveiling or dedication ceremony.
expand Is it possible to rush the completion date of the grave marker?

Our busy customers are often short on time and in a rush to get their bronze marker(s) as soon as possible. For an additional fee of $100 per item, we can shorten the 20-25 business days it usually takes to cast a bronze plaque or grave marker to approx. 10 business days with another 5 business days required for shipping (unless overnight or express shipping is arranged in advance).

Tell us what your specific deadline when submitting the online order form (or by calling us) and we'll let you know your options!

Note: As with our normal turnaround time estimates, our rush service is an approximate (not guaranteed) time frame and shouldn't be strictly relied upon, particularly if planning an unveiling or dedication ceremony. Having said that, we have many customers who say our bronze grave marker rush service is the least expensive they've found and allowed them to meet their deadline perfectly.

expand Will the bronze marker always look the same as when it's new?

It shouldn't and that's typical with bronze. We encourage customers to take a look around their city or town, or walk around a local cemetery or memorial park, to see for themselves examples of the natural changes that occur to bronze over the years.

At a cemetery in particular, they will see recently installed markers and plaques with their paint and letters looking fresh and new while others--that have been there for many more months and years--will feature varying degrees of the greenish patina, appearing on the surface only, for which both copper and timeless bronze have been known for thousands of years.

Most bronze foundries, including ours, will apply a polyurethane-based protective coating after a plaque or marker is cast, finished and ready to ship. However, even this protective coating will gradually wear off over a period of time by the elements (sun, snow, rain) at a pace that's determined by the local climate. This is natural and results in the traditional patina surface tint of aged bronze, a look prized by collectors of ancient bronze art, that actually helps to form a barrier against corrosion in future decades.

expand What type of maintenance or care does a bronze grave marker require?

None, if a customer wants to let the marker age gracefully over the years so that it eventually achieves the classic green-tint patina appearance so cherished by bronze enthusiasts.

If an individual wants to remove dust and grime from a bronze marker, when visiting the grave site he or she should remember to bring some distilled water and a soft cloth for that purpose. Nothing abrasive should ever be used. We encourage our customers to talk to a specialist or research the Internet for other products and techniques such as the use of mineral oil or virgin olive oil if they want to take a more hands-on approach to protecting a bronze grave marker.

expand What is a "companion" bronze grave marker?

Depending on an individual cemetery or memorial park's policies, families may be able to purchase a marker featuring the names, information and epitaph for two people--commonly referred to as a "companion marker"--before one or both of their lives have completed.

This is part of making "pre-need" arrangements and is typically done by a husband and wife while one or both are still living so that surviving friends or family members aren't burdened with having to make memorialization decisions for them in the future.

There are frequently cost savings from making pre-need arrangements since the total price can be locked in at today's rate when paid in advance and the family is guaranteed to not be affected by future price increases no matter how many years later a burial finally takes place.

expand How are dates-of-death added when needed later to "companion" grave markers?

If one or both of the individuals haven't passed away yet and the ability is desired to add the date(s) of death to the marker later, for an additional charge a replaceable "scroll" (a bronze plate with cast lettering screwed into drilled and tapped holes in the marker) can be ordered.

This scroll normally displays just the person's date-of-birth while he or she is living and when that individual's life has completed the scroll is removed, sent to us (so the original screw holes can be matched up accurately) and replaced with a new scroll that now displays both the date-of-birth and death information.

Please contact us for answers to specific questions about replaceable scrolls and other options to memorialize two individuals on a companion grave marker.

expand What type of payment do you accept? Will we receive a copy of the invoice?

We currently accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express as well as cashier's checks and money orders in US funds drawn from US banks made payable to "Simplified Design" We mail customers a copy of their paid invoice separately from their order which is usually shipped four weeks later unless rush service is arranged in advance.

Calif. sales tax is added to all sales that originate in the state of California. Customers will be solely responsible for all sales taxes, or other taxes on orders shipped in states other than Calif. if applicable.

expand Do you accept grave marker orders from Canada or other international country?

Yes, we do! Orders to Canada are shipped via FedEx Int'l. Ground (quotes provided upon request) with all customs duties, taxes and clearance fees being the sole responsibility of the receiving customer who will be billed for them by FedEx separately.

Prior to processing an order from Canada or other international country, we will fax or e-mail an authorization form, which must be completed and promptly returned before the order goes into production. This form authorizes Simplified Design to charge to the customer's credit card any duties, taxes or other clearance fees that are unpaid if we receive notification from FedEx of an outstanding balance on an order after it has shipped. The customer will receive notification if a charge is made on an unpaid balance.

At our sole discretion, we reserve the right to refuse any business or order from any individual or company located in an international country if concerns about payment are warranted.

expand What is your warranty and return policy?

A 100% Satisfaction Guarantee is offered for the lifetime of all our products if the craftsmanship is found to be defective in any way. This warranty does not cover accidental damage, misuse, damage during unpacking or installing, improper care or alteration, theft, vandalism, natural adjustments in color or appearance due to aging, or acts of God such as floods and earthquakes.

Customers with a valid defective craftsmanship claim will receive an immediate replacement with an identical item or model once the product is returned and/or the claim is confirmed.

Since they assume full responsibility for any mistakes or errors once final approval of a layout is given, customers who are purchasing a personalized bronze plaque or grave marker must be especially careful in providing accurate information and in carefully proofing their design.

expand What is the process for damage claim returns?

It is a customer's responsibility to check for damage in the unlikely event something happened to the purchased product during shipping. On the rare occasion there is damage, immediately contact us by e-mail or by calling (805) 641-0080 weekdays during normal business hours (PST) so we can submit a claim with the shipper and make arrangements for a replacement once the damaged item is returned in its original packaging.

Note: The shipper's staff is required to inspect the item for a damage report when they pick up it up from a customer, usually the next business day after we contact the company. As already mentioned, our customer must make available to the shipper the item in its original packaging including the box, foam, etc.

Questions To Ask Your
Cemetery, Memorial Park
Family Counselor

Click here to download and print a list of important questions needed to make your purchase of one of our bronze markers easy.

(For more details about PDFs, or to obtain the free software to open this document, click here).