Choosing a Style for Your Custom Awards
Which Style Should I Choose?
One of the more interesting and strategic aspects of creating a new custom award or trophy design is choosing what style is most appropriate for your needs. The use of style here refers to one of three broad categorizations: abstract, impressionistic, and realistic. There are different terms we could use for these categories, but, for the purposes of this article, these should suffice!
We should preference our description of each of these categories by saying that there really isn’t a “right” answer. The choice of a specific style to apply to your custom awards and trophies is really a matter of personal or organizational preference, although many other factors may lead you towards choosing one direction versus another. These include the image and personality of the organization or brand that is commissioning the custom design, the purpose of the award, the recognition presentation event or venue, and, perhaps, the award recipients themselves.
Abstract Custom Award Designs
One style you may choose for your custom recognition trophies is abstract. Abstract awards are not realistic depictions of a specific object. Instead, these designs are intended to convey a general theme, spirit, personality, or ideal. This style may be most appropriate when the purpose of the award is to recognize or celebrate a broad, encompassing goal or achievement that would be limited or constrained by the depiction of one realistic object. One of the nice things about this style is that it leaves room for the viewer’s imagination – different people may read different things into the design. One example of an abstract award is our "Thundercloud" recognition award.
Impressionistic Custom Award Designs
Another style you may select is impressionistic. Impressionistic designs are based on a specific object, such as a thing, person, or logo, but modify this object to create a new, more artistic perspective. A great example of this is the Diageo “Partner of the Year” Awards we created, shown here, which employ a representation of the famous Johnnie Walker Striding Man.
Realistic Custom Award Designs
The final style you may want to consider is a completely realistic design, which is an (reasonably) accurate depiction of a person or object. This object may be something specific to an organization, such as a corporate logo or company icon, or an object that is representative of a message or idea the organization wants to convey (an eagle for “freedom”, for example). One example of such a design we created is the Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award, which is based on a realistic depiction of one the vintage microphones Edward R. Murrow used during his distinguished broadcasting career.
A Design Primer
Hopefully this gives you a general idea of the style directions you go in when creating a new custom award or trophy. Many awards incorporate a couple of these styles, and some even fall somewhere in between two of these different categories, but this should be a good primer for you as you begin the exciting process of designing your own custom awards!