I have to design some certificates, something that kinda looks like this, only better certificate example

I have no clue... were to start?

Two script fonts on the same design seems a bit too much, but I am trying to make a visual difference between the title of the certificate and the rest of the copy... any suggestions? What looks good next to a script typeface?

Do you have any fancy typeface suggestions that would work for this kind of stuff?

Any tips for were to find good vectors for the frame thingy? By that I mean the fancy border around the certificate.

What else should I pay attention to?

Any other tips from someone that did this kind of stuff before is more than welcome.



Oh well, after 4 hours with Illustrator i came up with this:

enter image description here

But its not good as its to "classic" need to make it more modern....hmzz

  • FWIW, I really dislike most certificates that attempt to emulate engraved borders and hand calligraphy using clip art. I think your approach to a more contemporary aesthetic is a good approach to take.
    – DA01
    Nov 8 '11 at 17:16

These borders are created using a technique known as guilloche; once you have a small section or two it's typically repeated and turned to make the other sides. From personal experience I'll tell you it's neither simple nor easy to create such a border; if you're not a regular Illustrator user you're much better off doing as Lauren Ipsum suggested and paying the small amount for some stock art.

I'd be less concerned by the two script faces (as they represent a clear delineation between sections of the certificate) and more concerned with the various random pieces of artwork scattered across the face of the certificate. What's with the scorpion?

When laying out a certificate such as this you should pay attention to the proportions of the various sections. At the very least you should have a header ("Certificate of Completion"), a main text area ("This award granted to the inanimate carbon rod for outstanding achievement in the field of excellence") and an area for the signature. In the above example they've made the header and main sections ("this certifies that" and "has successfully completed...") more or less the same vertical height, which tends to lend equal weight to each section. Depending on your intent you may want to play with either the vertical height and/or font size to change the visual impact.

Keep your text areas short and sweet - certificates / awards / the heads of conquered enemies are meant to be hung on a wall, and few people spend a lot of time reading them. People need to be able to get the gist of this award with a couple of seconds' glance.

And unless these are going to be awards for a tequila drinking / chili eating contest, avoid putting a scorpion on it. If you're going to place any artwork on your certificate make sure it's appropriate and doesn't detract from the actual content of the document.

  • the one with the scorpion is just an image after a google search for certificate, I've added the one I'm working on... bellow it. Nov 8 '11 at 14:16
  • and for fancy borders I recomend the Brushes in Illustrator CS5, just apply a Brush from the brush pannel to a stroke, to make it thicker just make the stroke thicker, the one I used is one of them, but there are quite a few and many of them not bad at all. I want the whole thing to be vector so its a bit tricky looking for an apropiate stock img, not imposible though... Nov 8 '11 at 14:19
  • 1
    Plenty of stock vector art out there, Flavius. That's what Lauren was referring to. Nov 10 '11 at 9:06

iStockphoto.com has plenty of certificate frames; check "illustration" for vector art.

Let me ask: why use script at all? Why not go the Roman lettering route? Adobe Garamond has a number of weights for variation, and several faces, including Titling (for the, uh, title) and Small Caps.

If that doesn't grab you, you could try a low-fuss blackletter font for the title and a handtooled serif like Goudy for the body.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.