When you set out to make a custom award it’s important to remember that “custom” means you can have whatever you want for your organization. Your award shouldn’t look or feel like anything else that has been done before; it should celebrate your organization, the recipients, and the spirit of the award. For instance, a custom backpack design, mimicking those wounded American service members receive when arrive at military trauma units, is the perfect design for the Wounded Warriors Project. If your award looks like it could belong to another organization what is the point of designing something custom? There is nothing wrong with adding a little personality into your award either! Why shouldn’t NASA add the figure of Optimus Prime to their custom crustal award?
Your organization isn’t limited by material either. Here are three types of custom awards you could potentially use for your final award:
Custom Sculpture Awards
The possibilities for custom sculpture awards really are limitless. Custom sculpture awards are created in the minds of the customer and the designer to be built from the ground up and can be anything—they can be made to look like a person, a corporate logo, or even embody an intangible idea. For instance, the AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) “Let’s Go Flying” award is an abstract design featuring two sets of “wings” that symbolize flight. Meanwhile the two foot tall “Monopoly World Champion” award is modeled after the well-known and easily recognizable Monopoly Tycoon character. The beauty of custom sculpture awards is that the sky really is the limit and designs can be created for pieces a mere 12 inches tall, or even something as grand and large as 30 feet tall. Most custom sculpture awards are created from either bronze or pewter.
Custom Fabricated Awards
Unlike custom sculpture awards, which are cast, fabricated awards are hand-produced one award at a time. This style of custom award is sometimes chosen by an organization that plans on giving out a one-time only award and not a yearly award where it would be worth keeping a model on hand, although fabricated awards can be created on an annual basis. Fabricated awards generally have a shorter lead time than custom sculpture awards, as they do not require a model, mold, or the casting process in order to be created. One of the more common fabricated awards is made from custom-cut metal, in which a high-precision laser is used to cut out custom images from large sheets of high-quality steel. Custom fabricated awards can be created in any size, ranging from small medallions to large, architectural-sized images that can be mounted on a wall or displayed in a lobby.
Custom Crystal Awards
Custom crystal awards generally have the lowest overall cost, and shortest lead-time, of any of custom award design options. Crystal awards usually feature a geometric block of crystal with custom engraving. The custom engraving can be done in two ways; 1) a 2D image is engraved either on the surface or inside the body of the award; or 2) a 3D image is engraved inside the body of the award. The process to engrave the 3D image inside the crystal is usually referred to as “sub-surface engraving”, and the final effect is that the object appears to be “floating” inside of the crystal block.
At the end of the day your custom award is a piece of artwork that your recipients should want to display forever! Make sure your design stands up to your organization, the recipients, and the spirit of your award.