Your engraved door knocker is greatly affected by your choice of fonts.
The choice of the engraving font for your engraved door knocker is not always an easy one. Script and ornamental fonts may look pretty but are hard to read. Roman, Helvetica or other so called block fonts are easy to read but perhaps a bit plain.
Many modern engraving systems are computer driven. These have the ability to use the thousands of tru-type fonts used by the computer. While this offers a huge selection, these fonts also have holdbacks. They are designed for desktop publishing, not engraving.
Fonts designed for engraving offer the best proportions and fills for the process. They have been designed to be engraved, not printed. This makes a big difference on the finished product. A professional engraver will have a library of engraving fonts that includes selections of script, Helvetica, Roman and perhaps a few ornamental fonts.
A door knocker will generally have a limited amount of space for engraving. Depending on the height to width limitations your choice of font may be limited. There is more to your choice of fonts for your engraved door knocker than meets the eye. Your choice of font, font size, and case has a direct bearing on how large the letters can be.
Before deciding the font size for your engraved door knocker, lets take a trip in the way back machine to somewhere around first grade. We are trying to duplicate those block letters pictured over the black board on our properly ruled pads. ... Well OK I may be older than you but you get the idea ... Anyway, lets look at the word "Anyway". The capital A is an ascender because it goes above the mid line and the y is a descender because it goes below the base line.
Why is this important in the engraving of my door knocker and the font size? It goes back to that limited space thing.
Many door knockers are similar to the urn shape pictured on the left side of the page. Notice that the engraving area where a name would normally go is a rectangle of limited height.
If the word - Anyway - was being engraved in mixed case the letters would have to be smaller to allow room for the "y" to hang down. The overall engraving would need to be sized to allow room from the bottom of the "y" to the top of the "A" so the actual font size would be about 1/2 the height of the engraving area.
The picture shown compares the popular Times Roman font upper case and mixed case of the same size. On the bottom line is a mixed case example the size it would need to be to fit in the same area as the upper case example.
Now, if the engraving was done in all upper case - ANYWAY - each letter could be almost the same height as the engraving area because there is no descender to allow for.
What do I put on my engraved door knocker?
The decisions involved in the preparation of your engraved door knocker can be perplexing. I have personally been in many conversations on this subject. It seems there are a lot of rules people place on the English language. Problem is, most of them do not apply to door knockers. During my years as a professional engraver, I have placed many messages on door knockers. In the eyes of the owner they were all correct. I believe that is the primary rule that applies. It really does not matter that a noun does not follow the possesive considering that we are engraving a door knocker and implying that this house belongs to the family with this name.
RULE #1 If you like it and it is going on your door or as a gift (and it is civil) it is correct.
Here is a list of possible one line door knocker message ideas. It just depends on how you want to present your message.
Snyder (last name only)
The Snyders (last name plural)
Snyders (last name plural)
The Snyder's (last name possessive)
Snyder's (last name possessive)
Welcome (general message)
Est. 2005 (established message)
195 Forbes Ave (address)
Obviously no one is going to limit you to this list. Your imagination is your best resource for your engraved door knocker message.
Many engraved door knockers have a second engraving area on the clapper. Usually oval or diamond shaped this smaller area can contain a street address number or other 4 or 5 character engraving.
Door knockers that will allow multiple lines such as those that have a large oval area may include the word Welcome, a street address, or the popular Est. (year).
Some of our door knockers have an area on the clapper that can be engraved. This is typically smaller and limited as to how much can be placed there.
The clapper area can be used to engrave the street number or a date. Many times it is used to place an established message or a monogram. In many cases it is simply left blank.
The message you place on your engraved door knocker is up to your imagination. The font you choose may weigh heavily in your decision. You should draw a rectangle or oval similar to the shape you are engraving in and then print in the engraving duplicating as closely as you can the letters you would like. This will give you an idea of the outcome of the process. For the most part, engravers cannot easily erase what they do so you need to be right the first time.
Your engraved door knocker will always be something special.