Create Traditional Style Certificates of Appreciation, Recognition, Achievement

01
of 02
Using PNG Templates

AI Traditional Certificate Frames
Build your own certificate using any of these frame colors and titles. Lower right is close-up of frame detail. © Jacci Howard Bear; licensed to About.com

BEFORE YOU START


You may need: desktop publishing software | certificate templates | fonts | parchment paper


You need to know: how to uncompress zip files | parts of a certificate


You need to know these terms: png | text frame (box) | letter size | landscape | centered text | justified text

There is no right or wrong way to design a certificate. The certificates for this project use a fairly simple frame with a bit of a traditional look. Just choose the color of frame you like and type of certificate, open it in the desktop publishing, word processing, or graphics software of your choice, personalize it with a name and a description, then print it on plain or specialty paper.

If you use Adobe Illustrator or other vector drawing software, download the AI or EPS templates on page 2. Otherwise, you can use the PNG templates on this page.

Create a Certificate

  1. Download one or all of these files. Each ZIP file contains 3 PNG images, one of each certificate type (Appreciation, Recognition, and Achievement) in the specified color.

     

    • Traditional-Certificates-Red.zip
    • Traditional-Certificates-Green.zip
    • Traditional-Certificates-Blue.zip

    Each PNG is an image of the certificate frame, the title of the certificate (arched) and the presentation line "is hereby awarded to" plus a signature line. The blank space in the middle is for your own descriptive text.

     

  2. After uncompressing the ZIP file, open one of the PNG images in the software of your choice. You could create the certificate in a graphics program such as Photoshop by simply editing the image (adding text layers) or insert/import/place the image in a page layout program such as Microsoft Publisher or Adobe InDesign.
    Microsoft Word Users: If you insert the template in a new document it will re-size automatically to fit your page size/orientation and margins. To use at full-size do this:
    • Before inserting the PNG graphic, set your document to letter size, landscape orientation, with .25 inch margins on all sides.

       

    • Insert the image you want to use then set Text Wrap to Behind Text

     

  3. Personalize the certificate with the name of the award recipient and some descriptive text and a date. Create text boxes over the top of the PNG image and type your information in the font of your choice. If your software supports layers, put your text on a separate layer from the PNG template to make editing easier. For some wording suggestions, see Certificate Wording.
    Certificates are one of those types of documents where centered text is appropriate. If you have a large block of text describing the reason for awarding the certificate, you might want to consider fully-justified text alignment.

     

  4. Save the completed certificate with a new name then print it.
    This template is designed for printing on 8.5 x 11 inch letter size paper in landscape mode. You can resize it but do a test print to make sure it still looks good. If you want to resize it a great deal, consider using the AI or EPS templates on page 2 instead. They are vector images and don't distort significantly when re-sized the way most bitmap images do.

Pages in This Tutorial

  1. This page Using PNG Templates
  2. Using Layered AI Template

What's Next

  1. Identify All the Parts of a Certificate
  2. Choose Your Wording
  3. Pick the Perfect Fonts
  4. Select a Template for a Traditional Certificate (this page)
  5. Choose Paper for Your Certificate

02
of 02
Using AI Template With Layers

Layers palette in Adobe Illustrator
One file provides many options simply by toggling the visibility of various layers off and on. © Jacci Howard Bear; licensed to About.com

BEFORE YOU START


You may need: Adobe Illustrator | certificate templates | fonts | parchment paper


You need to know: how to uncompress zip files (for eps templates) | parts of a certificate

The frame for this template project was created entirely in Adobe Illustrator CS4. It's the frame I used for the high school diploma of my two youngest home-schooled daughters. In addition to the frame and the certificate title, the AI file contains a layer with editable text for inserting name and description.

There are 8 layers in this file. When you first open the file you'll see the blue frame layer and the "Template Information" layer. If you toggle off visibility on the "Template Information" layer you'll see the "Editable Text" and "Fixed: Achievement" layers (screen shot, above, was taken with a different layer visible). By toggling visibility off and on you can choose the frame color and type of certificate you want.

Create a Certificate

  1. Download the AI file and open it in Adobe Illustrator.

    Traditional-Certificate-RGB-AAR.ai (1.62 MB)

     

  2. Toggle Visibility OFF for the Template Information layer (in the Layers window click on the icon left of the lock icon).

     

  3. Toggle Visibility ON for the Frame and Fixed Text layers you want to use (in the Layers window the Eye icon indicates Visibility ON).

     

  4. Toggle Visibility OFF for the remaining Frame and Fixed Text layers (in the Layers window click on any Eye icons you see for layers you don't want visible).

     

  5. Edit the name, description, and text on the "Editable Text" layer (delete the brackets around text). The placeholder name text is in Gelfing SF but you can change that to any font you want. The description and date section is in Old English Text MT but you can change that font as well.

     

  6. Depending on the length of name and length of descriptive text you may need to reposition the text blocks. See Certificate Wording for suggestions on how to word and arrange your text.

The "Certificate of…" and "is hereby awarded to" text on the Fixed Text layers are in Old English Text MT, converted to outlines so they are not editable. You can, however, alter the placement and color after unlocking the layer (click on the lock icon in the Layers Window next to the layer you wish to edit).

In addition to the PNG templates on page 1 and the AI template on this page, I also have just the certificate border in EPS format available for download. You'll have to add all your own wording.

Traditional-Certificates-BorderOnlyEPS.zip (2.16 MB)

Pages in This Tutorial

  1. Using PNG Templates
  2. This page Using Layered AI Template

What's Next

  1. Identify All the Parts of a Certificate
  2. Choose Your Wording
  3. Pick the Perfect Fonts
  4. Select a Template for a Traditional Certificate (this page)
  5. Choose Paper for Your Certificate