Custom Medals: How to Create Special Awards and Wow Audiences

Samantha Mikos

From the famous Olympic medals to their cheap counterparts found in party supply stores, medals range from prestigious to poor quality. Unlike opting for premade options, investing in premium creations proves itself worthwhile in the short and long term. Custom medals elevate any event or program, inspiring further success and commitment.

The Cristaux International team specializes in custom creationsTo further our mission to modernize recognition, we’ve designed and produced unique award medals for clients from sports, nonprofits, and other industries. With more than 13 years of experience, we’ve collected lots of expertise to guide you through how to create custom medals.

Gold medal with red and blue ribbon

Basics of Custom Medals

Specialized medal awards are known for standing out from the rest, but what exactly makes them so unique?

  • Creative design. Without a creative design, your medals will copy another. Being one of a kind starts with the blueprint.
  • Company branding. Branded medals, or medallions, are like branded content: unique to your organization. By featuring your logo or distinct company colors, you celebrate your business and vision as well as your honorees.
  • Premium materials. From metal to optical crystal to acrylic, high-quality materials elevate any concept. To celebrate the best, it’s important to work with the best.

Benefits of Custom Medals

Custom-made medals are a larger investment than their pre-made alternatives. However, the greatest gains don’t come from avoiding risk, but rather from strategizing your best moves. With a strong vision and plan, your recognition program will bring upon tremendous success.

  • Improve your public image. By presenting thoughtful and exquisite medals at your event, your audience will see that you care about recognition. They will see you more positively as an organization that invests in celebrating others.
  • Build stronger relationships. Tangible recognition pieces show honorees that you respect them and their achievements. Going forward, you’ll have a stronger relationship with them because you took the initial time and effort to make them feel special.
  • Grow your brand. With company branded concepts, you can use your awards to represent and develop your organization. You can also feature your company values in the design, to share them with others.

gold medals with blue ribbon

How to Create Custom Medals: Best Practices

Learning from our clients over the years, our team has developed a supportive and comprehensive awards creation processBefore you dive into designing, consider the following tips.

  • Prioritize important details. Most medallions are not as big as Flavor Flav’s chains, so you must make use of the small space you have. First and foremost, include the names of your organization and program.
  • Reinvent traditions. Medals have been around for centuries, and their designs are often steeped in history. Now is the time to challenge norms and think outside the box to create something truly custom.
  • Ensure functionality. What good is an intricate or modern design if it doesn’t work like it should? Collaborate with your recognition vendor to ensure that the award pieces are practical and function well.

Custom Medal Examples

To help inspire you, check out some of the exemplary medals Cristaux created. Aren’t they beautiful?


The CrossFit team approached us to design medal awards for their 2021 No Bull CrossFit Games. To match the client’s branding and no-excuses attitude, we reinvented the usual medal by creating square, black nickel medallions.

To attach the ribbon, we replaced the typical ring with a sleek slit to fish the ribbon through. Finally, we finished the pieces to look rough and tough, echoing the fierce competition and gym equipment.

Metal Screen Print Medallion With Ribbon CrossFit Games

James Beard Foundation

Given James Beard’s legacy, we opted for a classic approach when designing and producing these medals. To celebrate the country’s best in culinary arts, we paired our best materials with our best techniques.

For the James Beard Foundation, we spent over 25 hours remodeling a mold featuring its beloved founder. Once perfected, we meticulously manufactured the recognition pieces out of metal and fashioned velvet presentation boxes for each recipient.


For the BizBash team, we designed and created crystal medal awards. By swapping out classic metal for refined crystal, we quickly distinguished the pieces. These are one of the few crystal medals in our portfolio. They are truly unique, finished with personalized presentation boxes.


Canon came to us to create recognition pieces for its leading salespeople. These medallions were like a President’s Club award, celebrating the company’s top earners.

To create something meaningful and useful for the Canon team members, we created luggage tags from medals. Instead of being worn around necks, these awards adorned the suitcases of travelling salespeople, representing the company with class wherever they went.


Kia asked the Cristaux team to create recognition pieces for its years of service award programWe designed and produced golden medals to celebrate three, five, and ten years of service with the company.

To cater to their factory workers, we added adhesive backing to the pieces. This way, the medals could easily be attached to toolboxes, to be proudly displayed in their workplace and among peers.

Years Of Service Medallion Wood Presentation Box

Medals to Marvel At

Custom medals do wonders for any recognition event or program. From evolving your brand to honoring greatness, award medals are best when made with your team, vision, and recipients in mind.

Imagine your perfect awards event. Notice the details of the creations, the joyful audience, and the grateful honorees. Remember that feeling and recreate it for your team.

Contact the Cristaux team to start designing your custom creations today.