Certificate Printing – How to Prepare Design for Print [5 Steps]

Have you ever wondered how to prepare a certificate design for print? Then you will definitely want to read this article and learn how to do it in a blink of an eye.

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Sergey Butko

Updated: August 14, 2023

14 min read

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It has been known for a long time that simple award certificates can be really beautiful documents that you can print out and hang on your wall or put on a desk. 

They can motivate you to keep working, make you proud, and remind you of important events, for example, thanks to academic achievement certificates. 

That's why in today's post, we'll discuss how you can quickly print certificates and why it's sometimes worth betting on digital versions of these papers.

What to remember before certificate printing?

Printing certificates is not that complicated. However, there are elements you need to keep in mind. Otherwise, the end result of the certificate can change drastically. Unfortunately, for the worse. 

Here are a couple of points you need to check:

Design 🎨

Design certificates are a key element, whether your document is a piece of paper or in a PDF version. Therefore, it is important to decide if you use ready-made certificate templates or bet on your own selection of elements. Either way, ensure the design is clear and not cluttered so that the pieces don't create chaos but simply form a cohesive whole.

Fonts 🔡

Not every font looks good on printed paper. What looks great on an online project may turn out to be a bad choice on a physical document. Therefore, to be sure that your chosen font looks good, create a sample document where you use different fonts and see which one looks better.

Colors 🌈

Unfortunately, color printing can vary when printed. For example, you may find that primary colors and even background colors are actually different in reality than in a computer. In this case, too, be sure to print a sample document and make sure it looks the way you expected it to. Also, remember to select CMYK colors instead of those RGB.

Borders 🖼

You'd better remember the borders because otherwise if the paper in the printer moves, you could cut off vital parts of the artwork. So instead, move all essential elements, such as the logo or the recipient's name, to the “safe zone.” This means away from the edges of the design to avoid such a situation.

Format 📥

Think about what format you want to save your project in, as it makes a huge difference to the resolution of the whole file. Distinctive certificates are characterized precisely by high quality and flawless resolution. So when betting on actual documents, you need to verify that the printer you are using will give you such a prepared copy. With digital certificates, you know you don't have to worry about that.

Type of paper 📄

You also need to determine the type of paper you want to use for your beautiful certificates. The type and paper thickness greatly affects the final experience. So if you plan to print your beautiful awards, invest in the right and attractive certificate paper, not the cheapest one.

Printing setup 🖨

Set up your printer's options accordingly if you are not using a third-party service provider. Configure the default settings, choose high-quality printing, check the amount of ink, and ensure the paper is well aligned. Then, run a test print and make sure everything is in order. However, if you don't have the right equipment, rely on print shop businesses that provide various custom certificate printing services.

5 Steps to print a certificate

If you are aware of all elements mentioned above, you are ready to certificate printing. 

#1 Select document size and shape

The first thing you need to do is to determine the certificate size. Before creating anything, you should figure out how your document should look. Will it be better to be vertical or horizontal? And what about its size? The most common paper size is a US letter, which looks like an A4, or something smaller, such as an A6. But it doesn’t mean you can’t use another size certificate. The same applies to certificate shapes.

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Get to know more about certificate size: This is the Ideal Certificate Size (+Examples and Templates)

#2 Design your certificate

If you finally know what your certificate file will look like, you can start designing. Let your imagination be your guide and make the best certificate design. At this stage, it is important if you will choose ready-made templates or if you just want to build a layout by yourself. 

Templates are a good option if you don’t have much time for producing certificate awards or you simply don’t have experience creating certificates and feel better when using pre-designed templates.

On the other hand, nowadays, many drag-and-drop certificate generators have so many basic and advanced features that creating digital credentials is so simple and easy task. For example, you can take advantage of customizable text, fonts, many other customizable attributes, or even foreground images.

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➡️Free certificate templates designed by experts

#3 Fill out the document

The designing step is complete? Excellent!

Now it’s high time for you to customize each certificate so it will be tailored to your recipients. This step contains changing recipients’ names, or other crucial information, like issuing dates or newly acquired skills.

🪄Tip! Tools like Certifier can help you with this task and make your work faster by providing you with dynamic and customizable attributes. As a result, you will be able to send certificates in seconds.

Read this article to know more about creating and issuing certificates in bulk: How to Create and Issue Certificates in Bulk using Certifier

#4 Download your certificate

As soon as you have designed and filled out the document with recipients' data, you should check if everything is in order. If so, you are ready to download the file on your computer.

For home printing, save your file as PDF so no elements on the certificate can be moved. Be sure to keep it in a prominent place where you will be able to find it later for certificate printing. 

Just an example that saving certificates from the Certifier dashboard are effortless. 

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#5 Prepare your printer and print your document 

If you have followed the above steps, it comes out that you are almost ready to print your certificate. Almost, because now it's time to set up the printer correctly. 

As we said before, check out the default settings, such as what paper format is set, whether the highest print quality is enabled, etc. Also, examine the certificate printing paper – is it well placed, and do you have enough of it? Print a test page and make any corrections. Then print your files and let the ink dry. 

However, if you are unsure if the settings are correct, ask for help from someone qualified, such as a graphic designer, or have this work done by professionals.

But wait... Let's take care of our Planet 🌍

Before you decide if you want to print all your certificates, think twice about it. Is it a sensible idea?

We mean, if your client asks you to print the credentials because they care about this aspect, you should fulfill their request. However, printing certificates is quite an expensive idea. Meanwhile, digital certificates cost you less as they can be done at no cost, actually. Many certificate makers are for free or provide you with attractive pricing plans. You can use really great software and pay only a little for it. 

What’s more, digital certificates can be issued much faster than when sending them via regular mail. For example, when sending certificates with traditional mail, your recipients wait for them for a relatively long time.

Imagine a situation where your recipients want their awards immediately. Unfortunately, you can’t speed up a postman's work, so you can only address a certificate and hope it will meet its owner. In the meantime, sending digital certificates via email lasts… how long? A few seconds? 

⏩ Check out this article to know more about sending certificates through email: How To Send Certificates Through Email

Additionally, when issuing digital certificates, you can get many marketing insights and analytics about your issued certificates. For example, with Certifier, you are able to check if a recipient opened an email with a certificate, opened a PDF certificate, published it, or added it to their LinkedIn profile.

Such tracking customer engagement is valuable for your business, as you can observe customers’ behavior and, next, use gathered information to make data-driven business and marketing decisions.

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What does this all mean? Online credentials come with many more benefits than printed ones. They are, among others, eco-friendly, cheaper, faster to issue, and easier to monitor.

So, is it worth printing all certificate types if you can just create and send them easily to your recipients with Certifier?

Create certificates with Certifier, the way you want it

It’s essential for your certificates to make a lasting impression and build unique experiences. But how to do that? How to make your printable and digital credentials stand out? Well, the answer is simple: With Certifier!

Certifier is a cloud-based, drag-and-drop certificate maker that lets you create, manage, edit, verify, share, monitor, and download your online credentials. The designing process with this tool is quick, and issuing the documents you made is even faster – if you send them via email. 

You can create groups of recipients to select people you want to send a credential to by email. 

What’s more, you can do your credentials with ready-made templates or by using our basic and advanced features. The choice is up to you, but we are sure you will be satisfied with the results.

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With Certifier, you will find that you don't need the help of amazing designers because you will be able to create a beautiful design yourself, save it and print it, or send it by email. So, all benefits that come from digital certificates and printed ones can be gained with our software.

Over to You

Each type of certificate has value to its holder – whether it is printed or in the online form. However, if you opt for digital documents, you are choosing a more affordable option for your business these days, as certificate printing costs can vary widely. 

Either way, Certifier will support you in your efforts, and thanks to its advanced features and delivery options, you will be able to reward your recipients quickly.

Just sign up for free and start using Certifier today.

Sergey Butko avatar

Sergey Butko

Tech entrepreneur. Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe. At Certifier, Sergey’s work focused on revolutionizing the way credentials, certificates, and badges are issued and managed through cutting-edge APIs and software infrastructure.

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