Planning a Digital Badge

Digital badges, also referred to as Open Badges, are encoded with the necessary candidate and credential information. This allows third-parties to easily verify the details of the digital badge including who it belongs to, who issued the badge, and what credential it represents. 

A visual representation of data embedded in an open digital badge
Metadata is embedded into digital badge files

Unlike a digital certificate, which displays most of the core information in the design. The design of a digital badge typically contains key branding elements, the name of the digital badge award, and an indication of the level for progressive badges. Depending on the type of digital badge, there may be additional elements including the type of affiliation, the course name, the recipient name, or the recipient ID.

Visual example of progressive digital badges representing levels from 1 to 4
Example of Progressive Digital Open Badges

Choosing a Badge Pathway

There are various badging pathways that will influence the digital badge design. They are commonly referred to as Standalone, Descriptive, and Prescriptive. 


A digital badge that doesn’t specifically connect to any other digital badges through increasing levels or relevance.


Digital badges that enable candidates to choose their own learning paths that can be linear or non-linear.


Digital badges that follow a linear sequential pathway of achievement and are usually set by the issuer, for example Microsoft Word levels 1, 2, and 3.

The badging pathway chosen will influence the need for a single badge design, multiple badge designs, or progressive badge designs. Some providers choose to issue progressive badges culminating in a final badge or digital certificate. The final digital badge design should stand out in the collection as being the intended goal. This can be achieved by making a simple change to the digital badge design. For example, using a bolder outline on the background image, adding a ribbon to highlight the final level, or reversing the colors of the badge design. 

A visual representation of progressive digital badges with a final digital badge image that represents overall course completion
Progressive Digital Badge Example with Course Completion Digital Badge Award

Designing a Digital Badge

The Badge Designer available through the Accredible platform is beginner-friendly and easy to use to create great-looking digital badges. The drag-and-drop interface allows designs to be made in minutes and image upload support provides limitless customization options. The designer includes smart guides that help align the positioning of elements on the canvas or against additional elements in the design. 

Digital Badge Design Elements

The Accredible Digital Badge Designer provides a library of design elements for the creation of digital badges. Simply choose one of the pre-made badge background shapes to get started. There are over one hundred to choose from and each can be customized in the issuer’s brand colors. Additional design elements including decorative icons and ribbons are also included in the library and can be modified to appear in brand colors. 

Ribbons are used in digital badge designs to highlight essential information, such as the badge name or level, or can be used decoratively similar to a rosette style award. Decorative icons can be used as part of the design but should be used sparingly to prevent the design becoming cluttered. This ensures the key information remains clear and legible. 

Designers can upload their own icons, ribbons, background shapes, and custom typography for use in the design. All uploaded images should be appropriately sized to prevent distortion or low resolution in the final design. For reference, the Accredible Badge Designer canvas is sized at 400px by 400px. 

Custom Attributes

Attributes and custom attributes pull through data automatically on the creation of the digital badge. Attributes are a useful feature for issuing digital badges in bulk with information that changes for each recipient, course, or module within a course. There is a library of pre-configured attributes available to use, or issuers can create their own custom attributes. 

In Summary

Planning the type of badging pathway and the core information required on a digital badge simplifies the design process. Key elements to remember when designing a digital badge:

  • Digital badges should be identifiable as belonging to the issuer at a glance
  • Uploaded image files should be optimally sized to prevent low resolution or distortion
  • Additional icons or decorative elements should be used sparingly to prevent clutter
  • Progressive badges should clearly display the level of the award
  • Progressive badges should be designed inline with the collection
  • Final badges for a collection should stand out against other badges within the collection

Further step-by-step guidance for using the Accredible Badge Designer is available in our Knowledgebase:

Try the Accredible Badge Designer online now at Badge.Design, or access the full design tool with a trial Accredible account. Want to learn more about our digital badging platform? Request a demo of the Accredible platform by reaching out to the sales team

Further Reading

Download the Definitive Guide to Digital Badge Design to learn more about using the Accredible Badge Designer and see examples of digital badge designs. The guide covers the basic elements of digital badge design and offers print-friendly checklists to plan the digital badge details, build the design, and finalize the design for sign-off. 

Download a copy of the guide today and learn how to make eye-catching digital badge designs for your recipients.

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