What Should Be Included On A Digital Certificate?

Jake Ford
August 3, 2021
Estimated read time: 5 minutes
Table of Contents

Digital certificates are the equivalent of a paper certificate and contain similar information with the addition of helpful digital features. Planning what information should be included on the digital certificate in advance will simplify the design process and prevent key information being forgotten.

Planning a Digital Certificate

Consider the traditional degree design, it includes the name of the institution, the name of the student, the degree and major they studied, sign off from authoritative bodies, and the date of the award. 

An example of a traditional certificate presented to a candidate called Kevin Woods
Certificate Example

This information is core to understanding who the named award belongs to, what they studied, and where they studied. This information also makes up the basis of a digital certificate and with freedom of design, issuers can add further details too. Custom branding is added to help identify the issuing authority at a glance, decorative assets are used to help certificates stand out when shared, and QR code support provides an always-available live link to the hosted credential online. 

An example of a digital certificate award for a certificate of excellence awarded to a candidate called Jordan Smiths
Digital Certificate Example

Digital Certificate Templates

Certificate templates are freely available for issuers to use as the base for their design or as a reference for creating a new design. Core attributes that are included in the available templates include the recipient name, the course name, the credential ID, and the date. There is a library of templates to choose from in different orientations and paper sizes depending on the needs of the issuer. The Accredible platform also includes a library of additional core attributes to use alongside the attributes that appear on certificate templates including:

  • Issuer Name
  • Course Description
  • Recipient ID
  • Recipient Email
  • Expiry Date

Custom Attributes

Custom attributes are another feature of digital certificates that automate the process of adding further information. Custom attributes are created by the issuer to pull through uploaded data for the recipient, course, or issuer information. Examples include:

  • Issuer Details
  • Issuer Contact
  • Recipient Contact
  • Recipient Grade
  • Course Tutor
  • Membership Level
  • Signature of Authority

Attributes make the automation of issuing credentials quick and simple. Certificates don’t need to be manually managed and spelling errors or name changes can be approved in a few clicks, without the cost of reprinting and reposting. 

Designing a Digital Certificate

The Certificate Designer available through the Accredible digital certificate platform has made it easy to create fantastic-looking digital certificates. The drag-and-drop interface is simple for beginners to use and the design tool includes visible guides for helping to position elements on the page or against additional elements in the design. 

As the digital certificate acts as a representation of achievement ‘out-in-the-wild’, issuers may choose to seek the assistance of a graphic designer. If the design process is being kept in-house, here are some suggestions to ensure a quality digital certificate design.

Sizing Elements 

Certain information included in the digital certificate design holds greater importance than others. For example, the name of the recipient and the name of the course are two key pieces of information. The copy used to link these elements together is of less importance. Examples of this copy include: 

  • “Has been awarded the achievement of”
  • “Is hereby designated”
  • “Has successfully completed all the requirements to be recognized as”

The linking copy and any information of low importance on digital certificates should be a smaller font size and weight (how thick or thin characters appear). This allows key information to be the focus of the certificate and should be displayed in a larger size and/or weight.

For attributes and custom attributes, the font can be set to automatically scale depending on the length of the generated information. This prevents longer names or course names getting cut off for exceeding the design size constraints or overlapping other elements on the certificate. To set automatic scaling, select the text-box of the target attribute, click ‘Size’ in the design toolbar and check the box for ‘Enable Text Scaling’. 

High Quality Elements

Logos, decorative elements, and background images are easy to upload into the designer for use in digital certificate designs. All uploaded image files should be correctly sized to ensure the element appears cleanly in the design without blur or distortion. This is particularly important if issuers intend for their certificate designs to be print-ready for display or presentation. 

Minimum background sizes for documents should be at least:

  • 1056 x 816 pixels for US-Letter Landscape or 3418 x 2668 pixels for HQ printing 
  • 816 x 1056 pixels for US-Letter Portrait or 2668 x 3418 pixels for HQ printing
  • 1123 x 794 pixels for A4 Landscape or 3626 x 2598 pixels for HQ printing
  • 794 x 1123 pixels for A4 Portrait or 2598 x 3626 pixels for HQ printing

It is not recommended to upload images that greatly exceed the minimum size recommendations. This can lead to loading issues online or cause the PDF render to fail when a recipient downloads their certificate.

In Summary

Designing a digital certificate requires thought about what information the certificate needs to include and how to balance the design elements. Key elements to remember when designing a digital certificate:

  • Digital certificate designs should be recognizable as belonging to the issuer
  • Image files should be optimally sized when adding branding or additional decorative elements
  • Included imagery and decorative icons should be relevant to the award
  • Background sizes should be the optimal size depending on high quality printing needs
  • Information of high importance should appear larger or bolded

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

Try the Accredible Certificate Designer with a trial account for up to 20 unique recipients or receive a full demo of the Accredible platform by reaching out to the sales team

Further Reading

Learn more about showcasing professionalism using digital credentials with our Definitive Guide to Digital Certificate Design. The guide covers the basic elements of digital certificate design and includes print-friendly checklists to plan the digital certificate 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 certificate designs for your recipients.

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