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When organizations or companies to recognize and show appreciation for clients or employees, they often turn to custom awards. Custom awards are keepsake items that are customized and personalized for the occasion. It is quite different from gifting a blanket or nice jacket, the recipients display the award with pride and they remember the moment forever.

If you are unfamiliar with the different options of custom awards, you have come to the right place. In this blog post, we will go over the different materials and types of designs most commonly used for custom awards so you can make the right decision for your event!

Crystal Award

optical crystal award Crystal awards are clear, and much like glass and acrylic. However, it has the highest clarity, and the most substantial weight. Optical Crystal awards are one of the popular crystal awards option. It goes through an elaborate process to produce maximum clarity. It is the choice for prestigious organizational awards, golf tournaments, championship awards as it speaks volume with the material and exquisite detail. 

Glass Award

art glass awardGlass awards are quite special, as it is one of the most popular materials used in custom awards. It is strikingly beautiful when molded into exquisite shapes and designs.  It is also heavy and feels substantial, giving the literal extra weight for the recipients. 

A type of glass award called Art Glass is especially artistic: Art Glass Awards are artistically inspired recognition trophies produced mainly from glass and accented with other materials such as wood, or marble. They are expertly made with mouth blown glass designs where dramatic streams of colors collide with air bubbles trapped in molten glass. As a result, each Art Glass award is unique and varies slightly.

Acrylic Award

custom acrylic awardAcrylic is a clear plastic that has a similar look as glass or crystal, but it is a lot lighter. Acrylic awards are also more durable and less prone to breaking when dropped. With that said, the price point of acrylic is also why most people chose it; it is affordable and can be either laser engraved or printed on. 

Wood Award

Wood is frequently used in plaques and specific types of wood such as walnut, rosewood add elegance and class to the design. As of late, custom wood awards are becoming popular as a more sustainable option. Wood race medals are a staple in trail running races. Some awards are designed with wood and marble / stainless steel accents for a contrasting modern look. 

wood race medal
custom wood award

Stone Awards

custom stone awardStone is another material that is used on custom awards. The unique nature of cast stone allows us to create 3-dimensional awards with many colors. The text and logos are laser engraved and can be filled with colors for added flair. 

Metal Awards

custom metal awardMetal awards are made with custom die cast molds, where metal materials such as copper, steel, zinc alloy is molded into custom shapes. It is an elaborated process and costs can be high due to the highly custom nature of the award. However, metal awards are extra special because of this and are mostly used for highly prized awards. It can be seen in award shows for movies, TV and music. 


custom plaque awardsPlaques are a popular choice for recognition awards. Its large area available for customization allows for logos, images, and text to be displayed. They can be made with a variety of materials including wood, acrylic and metal. Costs can range from very affordable to expensive based on the material used. 


custom paperweight awardSometimes a small award doubles as a paperweight, and it is prominently displayed on the recipient’s desk for a long long time. Paperweight awards can be made in crystal, acrylic, wood, stone and more. Since it does not take up much space it is the perfect desktop accessory.


Marathon race, sports and various competitions award winners and participants with custom designed medals. These medallions come in a few different categories: stock, semi-custom and fully custom. Stock medals are pre-designed and molded with themes and are ready to be used without any customization. Semi-custom insert medals have a stock medal frame and an insert is printed in full color for a custom look. A fully custom medal takes about 45-60 days to produce, and can be in any shape, size and color that you design calls for. A stock or printed ribbons can be used in any of the medallions to finish the look. Check out our sister company MSH Medals for our custom medal designs.

custom race medal
Fully custom race medal
Semi-custom insert medal
Semi-custom insert medal


hero coinsLaw enforcement, military and government agencies have often used coins for honoring a person for a special achievement and confirm membership in an organization or group. Some coins have even become collector’s items. There can be 3D design elements or enamel filled with different colors. They are traditional, classic, elegant and timeless form of award that people really appreciate. 


Are you looking to up your custom awards game? Contact us today to get started!

About the Author

Shirley Ho

Shirley is the co-founder of Garuda Promo and Branding Solutions. With a background in print production and graphic design, she specializes in promotional products marketing, creating end-products that aligns with her client's marketing goals and brand strategy.

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