11 Unique and Unusual Headstone Designs

Like every life lived, every headstone is unique. Despite standard shapes, sizes and colors, the creativity and skill of headstone makers allows for limitless designs. Although many cemeteries are uniform and similar, families of the dearly departed can choose to commission something truly unique and special to honor their loved one. Some people take it a step further and create some truly unique and unusual designs. And why not? While many cemeteries limit the type of design you can have, a talented artist can easily work within those limits. Other cemeteries are more lenient, allowing for some really special, meaningful and beautiful designs.

We have compiled 11, of the many thousands of unique and unusual headstones from around the world.  They each show a particular style and may even inspire you with your headstone commission.


Front-on, this headstone is not particularly unusual, from the side however you can see the unique inclusion of another name, and maiden name.

This is clearly a large stone with very solid, modern appearance and comforting curved top.

Photo source: Ben Jones Studio – UK

This child’s headstone from a church graveyard In Norhamptonshire UK focuses predominantly on the beautifully carved sunflower and child, we only know the child’s name as Benjamin. It’s possible that there is more lettering on the back. Either way, it seems to work well for the innocence and imagination of children to make a showcase of the imagery.

In the Catholic tradition, the sunflower symbolises devotion to the Catholic Church. In this tradition, the sun represents God’s divine light and the flower thus represents a striving toward God. Although Sunflowers face the sun when young, they permanently face east when fully grown, and this corresponds with the direction that Christian graves are orientated, towards the rising sun.

Image source: Wikipedia

This innovative memorial offers a sense of calm with the thin, elegant tree protruding finely off-center from the headstone. The tree really takes center stage here, drawing your attention and then just down to the left you see the small inscriptions.

The texture provides a slightly weathere yet modern look to this unique headstone.

The leaves, stem and base add depth and really highlight this beautiful memorial as something truly special. The cut out shape at the top also adds an unusual sense of intrigue that helps tie it all together.

Photo source: Serafinum – Germany

A relatively simple yet highly effective flat marker; not exactly a headstone in the usual sense but still uniquely worth an addition. This raised design works well for those of religion as well as wordsmiths and avid readers.

Image source: CC Online Products – UK

A very simple yet eye-catching headstone in a perfectly smooth, abstract shape with cut out interior. This design is pretty different to your usual memorial, mostly due to the shape, the cut-out oval and the font type – not your typical. It’s unusual in addition due to the absence of a surname.

The style wont be for everyone of course, but it does go to show the creative possibilities of what can be achieved if you have the boldness to break away from the norm. And why not? Every life lived is unique and special, why not showcase this in their memorial.

Image source: Martin Cook Studio – UK

A non-typical design crafted into Nabresina stone, a limstone quarried in Italy. It’s a very smooth, curved and elegant headstone offering perhaps a sense of comfort and contemplation; then with inscription on the top side. The center design on the face is carved into a sunken relief, adding depth and interest.

Image source: Fergus Wessel Studio – UK

A fairly simple yet highly effective modern style headstone in sandstone. The smooth curved embellishments create an effective, calming representation of birds and grass, perhaps swaying and gliding in the wind. They take center stage over the lettering which while fairly large is sunken inwards as opposed to outwards.

The headstone is peaceful and a tranquil tribute, delicately watched over by the sun above.

Image source: Peschanik – Ukraine

A modern example of spherical lettering. This headstone certainly catches the eye and provides a unique memorial delicately adorned by the floral pattern to the left. The circular design almost has a meditative quality to it, inviting you to think beyond the norm and read the words in a different motion to normal. The relative simplicity of the rest of this polished headstone also creates a sense of calm amidst the slight disruption of the inscriptions.

The design appears to have been laser etched, a more modern method allowing for a highly intricate design with lots of fine details.

Image source: Spring Bank Memorials – UK

Can you still call these headstones? These pyramid monuments are so different from anything else they almost fall under their own category, but they’re worth an honorable mention to show what can be achieved if you have the vision. Space is creatively used to include a range of inscriptions on all sides.  It appears there is one each for two family members, positioned side-by-side.  The numbering at the top of each side appears to indicate the order in which they should be read.

Image source: Rock of Ages – USA

This headstone is not completely unusual in size or shape but shows a very creative way to mention the unique characteristics that made up the deceased individual.

Clearly the name and birth/death date are highlighted here, and upon closer inspection in more subtle colored font you can choose to read the many traits and thoughts about him.

It shows what can be achieved if you feel you have so much to say about a loved one, and why not include more than the norm?

Image source: Bernard Johnson – UK

This stone designed by Japanese artist Alyosha Moeran is somewhat reminiscent of the Sydney Opera Theatre. It’s certainly a feature that stands out from the rest. The base has been used creatively here to include an inscription from the deceased’s loved one. We can assume that the other sides to this memorial have been utilized for further inscriptions as well.

Image source: Alyosha Stone – UK

Headstone design advice in the Westerly, CT / Pawcatuck, CT  area

Are you stuck for where to begin with the design of your loved one’s memorial?  For advice and a free consultation in the Westerly, CT area, contact the personalized headstone specialists at Buzzi Memorials.