Have you ever done something utterly awesome and thought, “I should get an award for that”? Well, you could be the person who makes it happen for someone else! Whether it’s a coworker who’s always got your back or a star dribbler on your little league team, a certificate of appreciation is a nice way to recognize a job well done.
And, you don’t have to settle for just any off-the-shelf certificate—put extra meaning into the gesture by making your own. With the creative inspiration and beginner-friendly design tips below, it’s easier than you might think.
Your Words of Appreciation Matter
When you think “participation certificate,” do spelling bees or sporting events spring to mind? Many people think of certificates as something exclusively for kids, but the truth is that everyone enjoys being appreciated.
Whether at the office, at school, or in the home, the research is clear. Appreciation and gratitude are almost universally associated with improvements in well-being, motivation, connection, and resilience. Interestingly, these findings hold true both for the giver of thanks and the receiver.
To make your gesture of appreciation even more impactful for the recipient, consider the following tips:
- Focus your praise on effort and mindset rather than results.
- Be specific about what the person did that made such an impact.
- Recognize the recipient in front of their peers.
- Keep it simple—say “thank you!” and mean it.
Now, let’s turn to the certificate itself.
Certificates of Excellence, Participation, and Appreciation
From the teeniest tots to the wisest seniors, appreciation is something that we all crave, and it can be worked into any facet of our lives. No matter who you’re awarding or where, you can get inspired for your own certificate design with the examples below.
Participation and Achievement Certificates at School
Learners of all ages benefit from thoughtful recognition by educators. Sports teams, academics, extracurriculars—you can call attention to all sorts of student accomplishments with a unique certificate of recognition.
Showcase the highest-performing students with a student of the month certificate of excellence. (Bonus points if you’re highlighting something like kindness or empathy over academics alone.)
Hosting a debate, speech tournament, or drama competition? Create a winner certificate for first, second, and third place.
It’s not all about coming in first place. Create a cool participation certificate for your school’s summer camps to show every player that they matter equally.
If your school highlights those kids who never miss a day, why not do so with a customized perfect attendance certificate?
Recognition and Appreciation Certificates in the Workplace
Research shows that appreciated employees are happy employees—and unappreciated employees? They’re one foot out the door!
Since employee recognition is key to retention and productivity, there’s nothing too small to call out with a few words of sincere thanks.
This good job certificate is elegant and understated with a splash of glitter and gradient. (Want something less glam? Customize this template in PicMonkey to achieve any vibe.)
Is recognition a regularly scheduled event at your workplace? Then consider creating an employee of the month certificate or an employee of the quarter certificate.
Mandatory training may not be anyone’s favorite workplace activity, but an attractive training certificate (and some genuine words of thanks) can help keep employees motivated.
If your office is a trendsetter, your employee certificates should match. This appreciation certificate uses a dynamic background clipped into a text mask for a stylish effect.
Other Interesting Certificate Examples
Lest you think that certificates only work for accomplishments at school or in the workplace, here are some creative examples of certificates used elsewhere. (Spoiler alert: You can say “thanks” or “well done” for absolutely anything.)
Call attention to someone’s impeccable sense of style with a colorful and contemporary best-dressed certificate.
Reward your child’s bravery at the dentist with this super-cute, kid-friendly certificate of bravery.
Baptism certificates are a special keepsake for members of any religious community.
Even our furry friends deserve a little recognition (and maybe some treats, too). This dog diploma celebrates graduation with a doggy smile.
How to Create Your Own Certificate of Appreciation
Feeling inspired to recognize a coworker, student, family member, or friend? Then start creating your customized certificate—and finish it in minutes—by following the steps below.
1. Brainstorm the Content
Start by writing out everything that needs to go on your certificate. The most common elements include:
- The logo of the awarding organization
- The title of the award or accomplishment
- A couple of sentences describing the accomplishment
- The recipient’s name
- The giver’s name (usually a representative or leader of the organization)
- The date of awarding
- Spaces for signature(s)
2. Check Out Examples
Before you start designing, consider the tone and mood you want to achieve for your certificate. You can narrow down your desired look and feel by viewing examples of certificates online.
Not sure where to look? Start with some certificate templates or browse stock certificate assets for ideas.
3. Choose a Certificate Template
The easiest way to create your certificate (while making sure that it contains all the key elements) is to start with a professionally designed template in a program like PicMonkey.
If you design in PicMonkey, all you have to do is click Templates from the top toolbar and then type “certificate” into the search bar. Click on your favorite certificate template to get started.
4. Customize Your Certificate
Whether you’re creating a certificate of excellence for the office or a good job certificate for your kid at home, there are endless ways to personalize your design.
To keep that classic certificate feel, consider adding design details like these:
All of these elements are easy to insert and customize in PicMonkey. For example, after adding a solid-color badge from the Graphics tab on the left, you can magically turn it into a lifelike gold foil sticker through the Textures tab.
Other creative customizations are equally hassle-free: colors, fonts, shapes, frames, textures, patterns, stock photos, even animations!
Case in point? With just a few more tweaks, the same template above has been transformed into the one below. (Said tweaks include removing the photo’s background, changing the fonts, and adding a new background color. Super easy.)
5. Download to Print or Send
Once your certificate is ready to go, download the file by clicking Download. Choose web or print, and then specify your preferred file type. From there, you can print it at home, send it to a professional print shop, or share it online.
If you’re printing professionally, don’t forget to account for the bleed area (a.k.a. some extra pixels along the edges) and to set the crop marks. For more detail, get the lowdown on crop and bleed.
Expressing your appreciation doesn’t have to be some big, expensive, flashy event. A simple certificate can do the trick.
Start with an easy-to-customize certificate template and recognize those amazing people around you.
Cover image via GoodStudio.