What are the Different Options for Custom Awards?

When organizations want to create awards to properly honor individuals or groups, the fact is that they have a lot of options for doing so.

However, the sheer number of custom choices available these days may actually be overwhelming for them to deal with – choosing among the available materials alone will give just about any group a lot to consider. With that in mind, it can be a good idea to brush up on the differences between the various award material choices. A little studying here can go a long way toward informing the best possible decisions for every unique customized award that needs to be created.

From metal to plastic, stone to acrylics and, of course, crystal and glass, the volume of options that spring from just the material the award is made from can be significant. Which is right for each organization or individual depends on any number of variables, from budget to the timeline in which the awards will need to be produced.

Below is a quick guide to several types of materials that are available for award production, which will help inform better decisions about getting a customized trophy or plaque produced, and how to proceed once some initial decisions are made:

Metal Custom Awards

Awards made from metal can come across as classy and attractive, and it's possible to get customized casts made for just about any shape imaginable, though the cost of doing so may be a bit high. There are pre-made metal trophies and awards, but for custom metal awards, it's possible to have hand-made casts made for more or less any design in question. However, this can be both a time-consuming and costly process, so if organizations are interested in only producing a relatively small run of awards, or need a quick turnaround, there may be better options available.

But even within the metal subset, there are so many options available – from copper to steel – that organizations will never run out of suitable choices. That makes it easier for every organization to find the right material to properly honor their award recipients.

What is a Custom Wood Award?

While it is not always easy to get wooden awards made in customized shapes, there are still plenty of customization options for existing award shapes. From adding photos and decorative seals to just about any kind of engraving, the options are still significant and, in most cases, extremely affordable.

Wooden awards may, in many cases, carry an air of gravitas and importance that other materials do not, and can show recipients just how appreciated they are.

What is a Custom Glass Award?

Custom glass awards are quite popular, especially in the world of business, and actually surprisingly inexpensive in comparison with other types of awards. Much like wood, they can be striking to look at and appear classy when displayed on a shelf, but beyond that they are typically also heavy, giving them a literal extra weight for recipients.

Of course, glass is one of many materials that can be shaped or engraved and carry that distinctive transparency, but among similar options, it is less clear than most types of crystal. Glass can, however, be tinted in certain instances (such as with the greenish jade glass), and among the glass/crystal options it tends to be the least expensive as well.

Where jade glass is concerned, the reason it carries its distinctive, attractive tint is due to iron ore, and it also bears a price point that is often as much as half that of crystal. These two factors alone help to make it one of the most popular options for organizations looking to honor valued members.

In addition, there is a type of glass known as "starfire" or "crystal clear" glass which has the highest clarity of any glass type. Like jade glass, it has a slight blue-green tint to it, but is noticeably lighter than its counterpart. It represents something of a middle ground between jade glass and more costly crystal, and is often preferred among organizations because its light (but noticeable) tint makes bevels and edges stand out more attractively.

What is a Custom Crystal Award?

Crystal awards look much like glass, starfire or jade glass options, but have a higher clarity, and are made from slightly different materials. Moreover, as with glass, there are a number of options here, such as lead crystal and optical crystal.

Lead crystal has much the same quality as most types of glass awards, though it is clearer and much harder to the touch, and due to the lead oxide within it, it also appears to sparkle a bit more than the less expensive options.

However, optical crystal provides the absolute maximum clarity because it is made by heating the crystal to a high enough temperature that eliminates bubbles and other imperfections in the material. Because of that more complicated production process, optical crystal is also the most expensive of these options.

Due to the cost involved with crystal, it may not be right for every organization, but its attractive appearance helps to ensure that it is appreciated by award recipients and anyone who sees them.

What is a Custom Acrylic Award?

The last – but certainly not least – of the "clear" custom options is acrylic awards, a plastic with many of the same characteristics as glass and crystal but which offers a number of unique advantages. For one thing, it is actually clearer than glass to look at – though not as clear as crystal – but is significantly lighter. This may mean the acrylic material isn't seen as being as prestigious as glass or crystal, but it's also significantly cheaper and is also easier for our custom award production team to work with because it's a plastic that can be cut, molded and printed.

In addition, because this is a plastic, it can be made in just about any tint – such as to mimic jade glass or carry another hue, like silver or gold – meaning it offers more options to organizations looking to honor someone. Because of its flexibility, it's also easier to use acrylic with other materials such as wood or metal.

However, there are also some considerations to keep in mind when it comes to engraving custom acrylic awards, because certain approaches to that process could lead to better results than others. The good news, though, is that once the right method for the material is chosen, engraving on acrylic is often easier than for just about any other type of material available, making it ideal for even the most complex engraving requirements.

We Offer Free Custom Acrylic Award Designs

We are dedicated to delivering world-class design and rendering services at no cost to you! The design process always has and always will be free. Have a certain price point in mind? Let us know and we will do everything we can to accommodate any budgetary constraints. From design to production we go all-out to provide a fun and engaging experience for each of our clients.


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Choosing Awards.com for Your Custom Award Needs

Even with all this flexibility and the sheer number of options available, our award design & production team award will still be able to collaborate closely with any organization looking to make custom awards, creating totally customized designs using any of the above-listed materials. In addition, after working together with the producer on the design, those organizations will have the ability to sign off on proposed mockups before the trophies or plaques are sent to production. These efforts can range from working within existing templates, taking inspiration from them, or completely original ideas.

There may be any number of choices to make, and they can be tailored to any budget, timeline or design idea. That helps ensure the awards are unique and made to exacting specifications, which in turn helps their recipients understand just how valued their efforts in earning the recognition have been. All it may take for organizations to find the right option is to call Awards.com to start the conversation: 1-800-4-Awards (1-800-429-2737).