There are no hard and fast rules for how to word or format an award certificate, but there are seven common wording sections.
- Title (Certificate of Achievement)
- Presentation line (is awarded to)
- Recipient (Name)
- Description (Reason for award)
Common titles include:
- Achievement Award
- Award Certificate
- Award of Excellence
- Certificate of Achievement
- Certificate of Appreciation
- Certificate of Completion
- Certificate of Excellence
- Certificate of Participation
- Certificate of Recognition
- Recognition Award
While a title on a straight line is fine, text on a curved path looks fancy. It can be done in graphics software, some desktop publishing software or using the Word Art features of Microsoft Word or Publisher. The title is commonly larger in size and in a different color from the rest of the text.
Following the title it is customary to include one of these phrases or something similar:
- is awarded to
- is hereby bestowed upon
- is hereby awarded to
- is given to
- is presented to
It is common to have the name of the recipient emphasized in some way, such as in italics, bold, larger or in a decorative font.
Following the recipient’s name is some brief wording following by a description:
- in recognition of [description]
- is hereby awarded this Certificate of Recognition
- for [description]
- is hereby awarded this Certificate of Appreciation for [description]
- is recognized as [description]
Some certificates may include a line saying who is giving the award. This may be the company or a specific individual.
This section, either a few words or a brief paragraph, gives more specifics of why a person is receiving the certificate. It is an optional section and is used if needed to describe specific achievements.
If this description is more than two or three lines, it will usually look better flush left or fully-justified rather than centered, as the rest of the text is.
The date can come before or after the description of the reason for the award. Various formats for dates can be used. The date used is typically the date on which the award is made. Specific dates for which the award applies may be listed in the title or descriptive text.
Signatures are important to a certificate because they make it more legitimate. It’s good to add the printed name of the signer beneath the signature line.
We suggest that for a single signature line, it be centered or aligned to the right side of the certificate. If the certificate has two signature lines, it looks balanced to place them to the left and right with a little bit of space between.
Once you’ve completed your certificate, the best way to showcase it, of course, is with one of our high quality plaques!