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Cpe Calendars & Images
Boscawen, NH
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Custom Printing of Diplomas, Awards, and Certificates

No matter the occasion, awards mean more when they are polished and attractive. If you obtained a professional certification that took you years to achieve, chances are, you wouldn't be too excited about framing a generic, pre-formatted form your boss found on the internet and printed off.
You might even feel a little insulted.
To give your awards and certificates the appropriate degree of flair and craftmanship you need the help of the custom print professionals. Custom printing effects like embossing and foil stamping help any print stand apart from the crowd. When you need to notice someone for achievement, make the award noticeable as well.

A Story of Elegant Certificates on a Budget

PFL customer Dave Molmen needed custom Leadership Achievement Diplomas for several students. He came to PFL with a great design, pictured below.
diploma example
The entire piece honors the accomplishment of the recipient with a sculptured embossed seal. See how the blue, gold, and red foil stamping accentuates the design?
These awards are 12.5" by 15.25" on #80 cover stock (similar weight to a standard business card) which contributes to its impact. What's more, Dave didn't have to go in and hand-write every recipient's name. Using variable data printing, PFL printed each graduate's name on their diploma in stylized text that matched the theme. Dave's final take: "I was thrilled with the quality of the printing. It's a work of art. Beautifully done, with great attention to detail!"

How to Create Award-Winning Award Certificates

Of course, having a great design from the start made PFL's job a lot easier. Here are 4 tips for streamlining the certificate-creation process.

#1: Emboss the right way.

Embossing (and its opposite, debossing) is one of the easiest ways to give a printed piece a touch of class. It's best used sparingly, however. Think of it as an accent wall. It draws the readers' attention, but also leaves space to see the other beautiful design elements. Logos, header text, names, and patterns or embellishments are all great candidates for an emboss or deboss.
embossed seal
Here's how it works. Two dies, which are big pieces of metal, sandwich your certificate. These dies are custom-made to imprint a specific design onto your paper. For an emboss, the male die (the one with a relief of your design sticking up) goes under your paper, and the female goes on top of it. For a deboss, the dies are reversed - pressing your image down into the paper instead of raising it up. If you emboss elements that won't change, you can use these dies for later print pieces as well.

#2: Use a metallic foil stamp.

We're huge fans of metallic foil stamping for certificates and awards. Why? Nothing says sophistication quite like it. To get that Midas touch, first identify which part of your design (could be text, an image, or a shape) should get the special treatment. Your printer will use a heated die to create a stamp of this element directly onto your paper or stock.
foil stamping example
A note about metallic foil stamping (also called hot foil stamping): the foil is tough! It has a more pronounced sheen than a metallic ink, so it'll glimmer from far away. This is what makes metallic foil stamping ideal for certificates and awards, which will should live up high within frames or display cases.
Another important point about metallic foil stamping is that you're not limited to the shades of precious metals like silver and gold. Designing for a company? Render their logo in classy metallics. Creating diplomas for a high school? Use school colors! We even have holographic foils.

#3: Try a metallic ink.

If you're not sold on the foil stamp, a metallic ink can have a similar effect. It won't have as strong of a luster, but it'll definitely appear more luxurious than standard CMYK colors. Metallic ink actually has bits of metal within it that give it shine: aluminum, copper, bronze, or zinc. It's very similar to metallic paint on a car.
One of the benefits of opting for metallic ink instead of the foil stamp is budget limitations. Metallic inks are cheaper and a bit easier to design for than foil stamping, so if cost is a concern, you may want to give this custom print effect a try.

#4: Don't skimp on paper.

The way an award feels is every bit as important as how it looks. This is why premium paper is usually the go-to choice for certificates. Premium paper may cost a little more than standard paper, but it's worth it. For starters, your design will look better on higher-quality paper, because premium paper contributes to print performance. Premium paper will also make it so your ink won't show through on the other side.
gold foil diploma
Not to mention, the wrong stock - too thin, too glossy, the wrong color - may make your award difficult to read when it's on the wall, or make it susceptible to rips and perforations. Important certificates should last a long time, and paper quality is integral to this.
PFL can help you get a custom printed certificate, award, or diploma that reflects well upon your business or organization. Our friendly print experts know their stuff and are ready to assist you. Call 800-930-2423 to share your ideas or get a quote for your project.
Need creative or technical advice on your certificate project?
Call our helpful experts now at 800-930-2423
PFL is a marketing technology company that provides printing, mailing, fulfillment, and marketing automation services to over 200,000 businesses from startups to the Fortune 500. Our 100,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility provides a one-stop shop for all your company's needs, from marketing advice, design services, sustainable print and mailing solutions since 1996. Our highly qualified team of 300+ employees deliver exceptional print quality with award-winning customer service backed by our A+ BBB rating and 100% satisfaction guarantee.