Printing award certificates, or sharing them online, which is best?

While it may seem like nearly everything takes place online these days, there is one thing that has not fully made the digital transition. Printing award certificates is still the preferred method of honouring achievements, but should it be? In this blog, Hague explores the pros and cons of print certificates, and questions whether certifications should be fully digitised

Pro: Tangibility

Paper certificates are a much more visible way to recognise official accomplishments. They can be proudly displayed on walls, hung in offices or taken along to show a potential employer in person. They are a visual reminder of an achievement that can be framed and also hold sentimental value.

Con: Not easy to share far and wide

As moving and working around the world becomes more and more popular, more professionals are looking to gain employment further afield. Often a foreign employer will ask to see your certification and it’s not so easy to share if it’s framed and on your wall. Of course, the answer is to take a photo and share the certificate via email. However, the photo quality may not always be perfect and the writing may not be easily legible. A digital certificate is designed to share online and created to look good on different screens.

Pro: Gravitas

When professionally designed and printed on parchment, a paper certificate can convey the gravitas of a degree or qualification. Plenty of hard-work will have gone into achieving the certificate and the look and feel of a printed certificate can embody this. This is simply not communicated as well with a digital certificate.

Con: Can’t be clicked

Digital certificates can act as free promotion for your university or association. If each student who graduates is able to share a branded certification online, they are essentially doing your marketing for you. Potential employers are also able to click on links in digital certificates and be directed to your homepage, as well as quickly fire off an email to check authenticity of the certificate.

Pro: Awards ceremonies

Part of the fun of completing a qualification or degree is attending the awards ceremony. That moment of walking up onstage and accepting your printed certificate is what makes the end of a long journey feel real. It’s the chance to bring all the students together for a celebration of their achievements as well as inviting family and friends to enjoy their moment with them. It wouldn’t be the same if the student arrived on stage to be told, ‘You’ll get your certificate via email’.

Ultimately, there are pros and cons for both printed and digital certificates, but when it comes to printing certificates the pros still outweigh the cons. In 2018, the solution may be to issue digital certificates as well as printing custom certificates for graduating students. It’s the best of both worlds and provides the student with a tangible copy of their certificate as well as the opportunity to share it far and wide.

Hague prints certificates for over 100 universities and awarding bodies around the world. Fill in our online enquiry form and a member of our team can set up a consultation to talk you through our bespoke certificate printing service.