How to design a medal

How to design a medal

The Significance of Medals in Events

Medals are far more than mere objects; they embody recognition, dedication, and achievement. In sporting, academic, artistic, or corporate events, medals symbolize success and honour, becoming a lasting emblem of both personal and collective achievement.

Understanding the importance of designing custom medals that aptly reflect these ideals is crucial. This guide will help you explore tips for creating custom medals that leave a lasting impact.

Moreover, they forge a deep emotional connection, encapsulating moments of triumph and celebration.

Have you ever been rummaging through a closet and come across a medal you won?

Didn’t it bring back that wonderful sense of accomplishment?

So let’s find out how to design a medal!!

Winning medals as a child

Learn how to blend artistic creativity with practical considerations when designing custom medals.

The goal is to create medals that are not only beautiful but also meaningful and perfectly reflect the spirit of the event.

Understanding the Event and Its Theme: The Key to Successful Medal Design

Understanding the Event and Its Theme: The Key to Successful Medal Design

Designing truly memorable medals begins with a deep understanding of the event and its theme. Each event possesses a unique identity and message, and your medal design should encapsulate this spirit. Here are some ways to translate event themes into custom medal designs:

  • Charity Marathons: Incorporate symbolic elements that represent the cause, like awareness ribbons for health events or natural imagery for eco-friendly races.
  • “Olympics for Kids”: Make the medals playful and colourful, with elements like torches, stars, or even cartoons to capture the essence of youth and sportsmanship.
  • Cycling Events: Consider including images of bicycles, helmets, or scenic routes that reflect the nature of the sport and the experience of the journey.
  • Soccer or Tennis Tournaments: Highlight key elements like soccer balls, boots, playing fields, tennis rackets, or even depictions of iconic sports movements. These details create a strong connection between the medal, the sport, and the passion it inspires.
  • Academic Competitions: For maths or science events, incorporate geometric figures, atoms, or even equations to emphasize the intellectual nature of these contests.
  • Art Festivals and Creative Contests: Consider using brushstrokes, colour palettes, or representations of famous artworks to highlight creativity and artistic expression.

These examples illustrate how medal design can be an extension of the event itself, not just reflecting its theme and purpose, but also enhancing the experience and perceived value for the participants.

Each medal thus becomes a tangible, meaningful memento that recipients will treasure and remember.

Design A Medal: Exploring Shapes Beyond the Traditional Circle for Unique Designs

While the classic circular medal symbolizes unity and eternity, consider the impact of other shapes to achieve truly unique custom medal designs. The right shape adds layers of meaning and originality to your medals.

  • Geometric Shapes: Opt for hexagons or pentagons for academic or scientific events, representing precision and balance.
  • Sports Events: Use dynamic shapes like shields or stars, evoking energy and victory.
  • Cultural or Artistic Events: Irregular or abstract shapes symbolize creativity and innovation.
  • Heart-Shaped Medals: Perfect for events emphasizing community or charity.
  • Object-Specific Shapes: For an instant connection to the event’s theme, consider shapes mimicking specific objects (e.g., a painter’s palette or a book).
Selection of medals

Important Considerations: When exploring shapes for your custom medal design,  balance aesthetics with functionality:

* Wearability:  The shape should allow the medal to hang comfortably.

* Space: Ensure the chosen shape offers enough space for text, logos, or relevant images.

Get creative! Unique medal shapes transform these awards into memorable works of art and create a stronger emotional connection for the recipient.

At Web Products Direct, we blend technical skill and artistic creativity to make each custom medal a unique piece of art, enhancing its emotional value and connection to the event.

Front and Back Design: Narrating a Story Through Your Custom Medal

The front and back of your custom medal offer a unique canvas to tell a captivating story and solidify its message. Here’s how to optimize these spaces for a great medal design:

The Front: The Star of the Show This side captures the most attention, so incorporate symbols, logos, or striking imagery that embodies the spirit of the event.

The Back: Don’t Neglect the Details Though less immediately visible, personalize this side with event details like:

  • Event name
  • Date
  • Inspiring motto or quote

Crucial Considerations for Front and Back Medal Design:

Balance: Aim for visual harmony between symbols, text, and the overall design, creating a medal that is both appealing and meaningful.

Relevance: Each chosen element should directly relate to the event and create a strong connection for participants.

Texts and Graphics: Communicating the Message Clearly on Your Custom Medals

The right mix of text and graphics is essential for your custom medals to effectively communicate their purpose. Here’s how to optimize these elements for maximum impact:

  • Clear and Representative Graphics: Logos or icons should be instantly recognizable and thematically relevant to the event.
  • A Striking Example: A marathon medal might feature the event’s name and date as text, complemented by a dynamic image of a runner that conveys energy and competition.

Alongside logos and graphics, effective medal design involves careful text selection. Ensure easy readability by choosing the right font:

  • Legible and Concise Text: Clear event names, dates, and other crucial information should be easy to read. Focus on the core message, avoiding cluttered designs.
  • Clarity: Opt for sans serif fonts (like Arial or Helvetica) for a clean, modern look. Their simplicity guarantees legibility even at smaller sizes.
  • Purpose: For a formal tone, select classic serif fonts (like Times New Roman).
  • Size: Test how the text looks at the intended medal size; avoid font sizes so small they become illegible.

Need help designing compelling custom medals? Web Products Direct’s experts balance text and graphics perfectly. Contact us today for a free consultation.

The Colour Palette: Creating Visual Impact and Evoking Emotion in Medal Design

Colour choices have a profound effect on your medal’s visual impact and the emotions it evokes. Consider these aspects when choosing your colour palette for custom medal design:

The Psychology of Colour:

  • Gold: Symbolizes success, prestige, and victory.
  • Silver: Represents sophistication, elegance, and second-place achievement.
  • Bronze: Conveys warmth, tradition, and third-place achievement.
  • Blue: Inspires calmness, trust, and stability.

Understanding how colours influence emotion is crucial.  Certain combinations create harmonious effects, while others produce impactful contrast. For example, pairing complementary colours like blue and orange is eye-catching,   while analogous colours (those adjacent on the colour wheel) can promote a sense of harmony.

Effective Combinations:

  • Black and Gold: Classic and sophisticated
  • Red and White: Vibrant and attention-grabbing.
  • Complementary Colours: Colours like blue and orange create high contrast and visual interest.
Simple colour wheel to help when choosing colours for your medal design

Resources for Exploring Colour in Medal Design:

Remember, colour choices significantly impact how a medal is perceived. Choose intentionally to ensure the colours align with the event’s tone and purpose.

Crafting Distinctive Medals: 2D, 3D, & Design Choices

When embarking on the journey of designing a custom medal, understanding the differences between 2D and 3D medals is crucial.

2D Medals: The essence of 2D medals lies in their simplicity. These medals feature a single raised layer that stands out from the base level, creating a straightforward yet elegant relief effect. The singular elevation brings a certain element of design into prominence, making it ideal for less complex imagery.

3D Medals: In contrast, 3D medals are the epitome of depth and intricacy. By employing multiple raised levels, these medals offer a dynamic, multi-dimensional visual experience. The layers build upon each other, creating a striking ‘pop-out’ effect.

This complexity is achieved through a specialized die process, allowing for detailed and layered designs that stand out vividly. 3D medals, often used for more elaborate designs, have a higher production cost, but the end result is undeniably captivating. Picture a medal where a runner in the foreground leaps out, distinct from a second runner in the background.

2D and 3D medal design

Enamel and Texture: Another dimension of customization is the use of enamel for coloration, or leveraging the natural texture of metal to produce varying shades and effects. This technique adds a unique touch to the medals, enhancing their visual appeal without complicating the design.

The Die Making Process: Medals are crafted by first creating a die – a specialized tool that shapes the medal. Once this die is made, it can be reused for future orders, offering a cost-effective solution for recurring events. The initial step involves pouring molten metal into the die, then cooling it rapidly to set the shape.

Post-cooling, the medals are polished by skilled artisans, bringing out their brilliance. At this stage, color can be added, or the reverse side can be engraved for further personalization. A creative suggestion for annual events is to retain the same die but alter the ribbons or engravings, providing continuity yet distinguishing each event.

Lapel Pins: A related product to consider is lapel pins, which follow a similar production process as medals but on a smaller scale. These pins are perfect for more subtle displays of recognition or branding, with a pin soldered onto the back for easy attachment.

This journey from a simple concept to a beautifully crafted medal or lapel pin encapsulates the blend of artistic design and skilled craftsmanship, ensuring each piece is not just an award, but a memorable keepsake.

Attaching Medals to Ribbons or Cords: Where Functionality Meets Design

How you attach your custom medal to a ribbon or cord plays a significant role in the overall experience. Here’s what to consider for functionality and style:

Attachment Methods:  Explore different options to find the right balance of security and aesthetics:

  • Traditional Jump Rings: A classic and cost-effective solution.
  • Magnetic Clasps: Offer sleekness and ease of use.
  • Custom Clips: Add a unique touch and branding opportunities.

Durability: Secure attachment is crucial. Select methods and materials that ensure the medal stays safely in place during wear.

Ribbon/Cord Customization: Ribbons and cords provide additional space for branding or highlighting elements of your event. 


  • Colors: Match your event’s palette or brand colors.
  • Materials: Choose textures like satin or grosgrain for added visual appeal.
  • Printing: Include event names, logos, or sponsors on the ribbon/cord itself.

Options range from patriotic choices like the Union Jack to charity-branded ribbons to sports-themed colours – personalize your choice for meaningful impact.

At Web Products Direct, we consider every detail when designing medals, including secure and stylish attachment solutions. A complimentary customized ribbon or cord, featuring your choice of colours and designs, is always included!

Material Selection: Where Durability Meets Meaning in Medal Design

Choosing the right material is pivotal in designing custom medals that blend longevity with visual impact.  Here’s how to select the best materials to make your medals meaningful mementoes:

Tips for Material & Medal Design Harmony:

Consider the Occasion:  Events deserve unique medals! Here’s a starting point:

  • Formal or High-Profile Events: Opt for classic finishes found in enamel-free or die-cast medals.
  • Youth or Informal Events: Playful silicone medals add a fun and durable touch.

Reflect Your Values: Align materials with your event’s message:

  • Innovation and Creativity: Soft enamel medals offer vibrant colour options.
  • Eco-Focus: Explore medals made from sustainable materials.

Customization and Budget:  Balance unique touches with practical costs.


  • Colour and text personalisation to truly tell your event’s story.
  • Contrast metal medals, which offer great quality at an affordable price.

At Web Products Direct, we help you create custom medals that honour your event with quality materials and exceptional design.  Explore our custom medals page to find an array of possibilities!

Winners with custom medals

Working with Manufacturers: Turning Ideas into Reality

Collaborating with Manufacturers and Designers:

When creating custom medals, collaboration between you, the manufacturers, and the designers is key to turning your ideas into tangible realities. At Web Products Direct, we understand the importance of this synergy and offer you effective guidance for successful collaboration:

Clear and Detailed Communication: From the outset, establishing clear communication is essential. Provide specific details about your design requirements, including sketches or inspirations. This helps our designers capture your vision and manufacturers understand the technical specifications.

Constructive Feedback: Maintain an open and constructive dialogue. Being willing to give and receive feedback during the design process ensures that the final product aligns with your expectations.

Understanding of the Manufacturing Process: Familiarise yourself with the manufacturing process. Knowing the limitations and possibilities can help you make informed and realistic decisions about your design.

Choosing the Right Materials: Work with our team to select the materials that best suit your design and budget, considering factors like durability, aesthetics, and cost.

Ensuring Quality and Design Fidelity

To ensure that the medals accurately reflect your vision and maintain a high standard of quality, at Web Products Direct we follow these steps:

Prototypes and Samples: At Web Products Direct, we understand the importance of visualising the final product before proceeding with mass production. Therefore, instead of offering physical prototypes as a general rule, we create a detailed digital proof of the design.

This allows you to have a clear vision of the final product, ensuring that everything, from shape to colour and material, meets your expectations and needs.

For large volume orders, we can provide some samples of medals we have previously made, so you have a concrete idea of the quality and finish of our products.

Example quality die-cast custom medal from Web Products Direct

Example of a quality die-cast custom medal from Web Products Direct

Rigorous Quality Control: We implement quality control at every stage of production. Each medal is inspected to ensure that it meets our high standards and your expectations.

Final Review and Approval: At Web Products Direct, we ensure that every detail of your medal is exactly as you imagined it before beginning the production process.

For this reason, after providing the digital proof and before proceeding with manufacturing, we conduct a final review with you. At this stage, you have the opportunity to make necessary adjustments and refinements to the design.

Continuous Communication: We maintain constant communication throughout the production process. This not only keeps you informed, but also allows us to make quick adjustments if challenges or new ideas arise.

At Web Products Direct, our commitment is to guide you in designing high-quality medals that perfectly capture the spirit of your event.

Working together, we can ensure that each medal is not just an award, but a lasting symbol of achievement and excellence. Visit our page for more information and to begin the exciting process of creating your custom medals.

Packaging and Delivery: The First Impression

The packaging and delivery of medals are fundamental aspects that are often underestimated, but at Web Products Direct, we understand that the first impression is crucial. Here we present innovative ideas for packaging and strategies to ensure a memorable delivery:

Innovative Packaging Ideas:

Customised Packaging: We offer options to personalise the packaging with your logo or a special design that aligns with your event’s theme. This not only enhances the presentation but also reinforces the identity of your brand or event.

Sustainable Materials: In line with the growing trend towards sustainability, we provide packaging options made from recycled or biodegradable materials. This is not only good for the environment but also conveys a positive message to the recipients.

High-Quality Presentation Boxes: For high-end events, we offer elegant presentation boxes that enhance the perceived value of the medals and provide an exceptional unboxing experience.

Guaranteed Protection: We ensure that each medal is securely packaged to prevent damage during transport, without compromising the aesthetics of the packaging.

Example of medal packaging and medal boxes

At Web Products Direct, every detail counts. From the moment a medal is designed until it is delivered, we strive to ensure that the experience is flawless.

We believe that exceptional packaging and delivery are essential for the medals to be not just an award, but an unforgettable keepsake.

Conclusion: How to Design a Medal for Events – A Step-by-Step Guide

Designing custom medals blends creativity, technical skill, and an understanding of your event’s purpose.  This guide has explored the entire process, giving you the tools to create medals that are as visually impactful as they are meaningful.

Remember, it’s about far more than the physical object:

  • Honouring Achievement: Medals signify hard work and dedication.
  • Unique Storytelling: Shapes, colours, and motifs express your event’s story.
  • Tangible Memories: Recipients will cherish these symbols of success for years to come.

At Web Products Direct, we’re passionate about helping you design custom medals that reflect your event’s unique spirit.  With our expertise and this guide, you’re ready to bring your medal ideas to life.

Let’s get started! Contact us today and let’s collaborate on designing medals that celebrate your event and leave a lasting impression.