Create an Award Certificate | Award Certificate Design


Every milestone deserves to be celebrated, but we don’t always take the time to recognize them. Countless other things distract us and we fail to recognize the contributions and the hard work of others. However, creating an award certificate and presenting it to someone who deserves it is rewarding for both parties.

You have the opportunity to show someone just how meaningful their contributions are, and the recipient feels appreciated.

In this post, we’ll share everything you need to know about these awards and show you how to create your own award certificate.


What Are Award Certificates?

Award certificates are a nice way to recognize someone for their hard work and dedication. They’re usually given to employees, students, teachers, or members of a recreational team or club. These are different from diplomas and degrees, which typically signify the completion of an accredited program.

Award certificates also serve as a way to boost morale in the right setting. Research shows that employees in the fields including health caresocial work, and education tend to place a higher value on social recognition and tend to be less motivated by salary.


How to Use Award Certificates

Image via Sean Locke Photography.

Celebrate a milestone or an achievement with an award certificate. For example, a student might get a certificate for good attendance or an employee may be given an award for great customer service.

You can present a certificate during a formal ceremony, hand it off in a one-on-one interaction, or deliver it digitally.


How to Create an Award Certificate

Blue and gold award certificate of participation
Image via luckynine.

Before you finalize the award certificate, you need to take note of all the information and elements to include. That way, you can incorporate it into the layout and create something that looks professional.

Here are eight key components of an effective award certificate.

1. Title of the Award

Starting from the top, your certificate needs to have a title. This could be something straightforward, like “Certificate of Participation,” or something more creative if you want the award to stand out.

2. Presentation Line

This is a short line that follows the title. One common variation of it is “This certificate is presented to. . . ” This is usually in much smaller text when compared to all the other information on the certificate.

3. Recipient Name

The name of the person receiving the award. The text for the recipient name is typically larger than other text on the certificate so that it’s the focus.

4. Organization Name

The name of the organization or group giving out the award. You may print the full name on the certificate or include your logo to make it easy for the recipient to see where the certificate came from.

5. Award Description

The reason you’re giving out the certificate. It could be simple (such as employee of the month) or a short, more specific paragraph relating to the achievement.

This personalization can make your certificate even better because it reflects the recipients’ actions, making them feel special.

6. Date

The date the recipient earned the certificate or the date you choose to present it to them.

7. Signature

The name or title of the person authorizing the presentation of the award and their signature.

8. Design Elements

Including all this information on a piece of paper may get the point across, but if you want to give the recipient something that’s truly special, you’ll need to put some thought into the design.

Think about what fonts, colorsborders, and graphics you want to use, and what they should communicate to the person who gets the award.


What Are the Most Common Award Certificate Sizes?

Knowing the exact measurements that your award certificate will have is important because it may inform some of your design choices.

You also need to know this information if you’re going to print and frame the award before you present it to the recipient.

Most certificates are one of the following sizes:

Inches Pixels
11 ″ H x 14 ″ W 1056 x 1344
8 1/2 ″ H x 11 ″ W 816 x 1056
7 1/2 ″ H x 9 1/2 ″ W 720 x 912
12 ″ H x 15 ″ W 1152 x 1440
11 3/4 ″ H x 16 ″ W 1128 x 1536

Make Your Own Award Certificate in Shutterstock Create

Certificate template in Shutterstock Create editor

With Shutterstock Createcreating a certificate is simple — even if you don’t have experience creating one of these assets.

Here’s how you can make it happen:

  1. Go to the Shutterstock Create editor, then click Templates.
  2. Search “Certificate” in the Templates sidebar to locate a template that you want to customize.
  3. Click on the template to open it in the Editor.
  4. Customize your certificate by exploring Shutterstock Create’s options and start experimenting to find the design elements you want.
  5. Once you’re happy with your certificate, click Download on the top toolbar to export as a JPG or PNG.

Skip the standard certificates that all look the same and, instead, create something memorable that recipients will strive to get.

Use this post as inspiration to put together different types of award certificates that honors and empowers important people in your organization.


Cover image via Bert Flint and Alexander Lysenko.



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