How to Create the Best Custom Awards

  • Jun 12, 2024

by Samantha Sage

Customized awards and plaques are a perfect branded item for businesses to recognize their employees, teams, and corporate branches for exceptional accomplishments. What better way to show your people that you care about them and appreciate their contributions than with truly unique awards that intrigue, delight, and inspire?!

Whether your brand needs awards or plaques made with sustainable materials to support your green mission, premium crystal or art glass awards to recognize special milestones, or unusual & fun award ideas to support your team in friendly in-office competitions, you'll find a wealth of award customization and decoration ideas in this blog.

Let's explore some common custom-made awards categories, and how to kick your award design and decoration up a notch for truly special, memorable recognition events.

Layered Decoration on Stunning Crystal Awards

Optic crystal awards are a classic corporate recognition choice for their elegant finish and timeless appeal - but did you know they also offer infinite customization options with layered decorations?

Your logo, product image, or custom artful scenes can be 3D rendered in captivating detail inside our custom crystal awards for an impressive piece of memorabilia
that demands to be displayed proudly.

Add surface engraving or deep etching with color or metallic ink fill for surface personalization that can be updated on lower cost annual award reorders for recurring recognition categories, like annual service awards for salesperson of the year or firefighter/police officer of the year.

Then add digital color imprinting on the front, back, or both sides or your 3D crystal awards to create a full scene in a unique world to tell your brand story within your recognition piece. 

While rectangle and square shapes are the most popular for 3D
crystal awards, we offer a massive range of other shapes to suit your business needs as well!

From stunning obelisks to baseball diamond shaped awards, classy profiles like towers and pyramids all the way to unique crystal awards in industry-specific shapes like big rig trucks, we can find an award shape and size that fits your business's requirements and branding.

Explore all of our subsurface 3D crystal award options here on our website product search.

The only limit to the details captured in your crystal recognition awards is your imagination. Not sure what to do with your custom crystal awards? Have no fear - luckily our team of promotional products experts are here to help you create ideas beyond your dreams!

Simply send us your logo and event details, and we'll create virtual mock-ups of our recommended design options to show you all the amazing possibilities for your business's award needs. 


Sustainable & Chic Award Options

Create a lasting impression without a lasting environmental impact 
with this collection of uniquely modern,USA-Made eco-friendly awards!

Our sustainably-made awards and plaques are crafted with care from appealing natural wood elements, recycled aluminum, other recycled metal or recycled glass accents, or even natural wool felt segments that allow your full-color graphics to shine while highlighting your employee's accomplishments.

We offer a huge selection of awards made from ultra-sustainable bamboo, reclaimed barn wood, and
other unique upcycled materials in awards for your green business's recognition and appreciation needs.

We love using the Refresh Glass line of drinking glassware, carafes, and self-watering planters made from recycled wine bottles or wild tonic bottles as executive gifts, functional awards, and premium employee recognition gifts. Refresh glass's line of recycled promo products are not only beautiful and eco-friendly, but incredibly useful items that your recipients will use and show off to their friends and family. 

Eco-friendly and chic wood & resin plaques, recycled glass trophies, and sustainably-made perpetual award plaques are gorgeous, high quality, and forward thinking - sure to be displayed and cherished by employees and retirees for decades. 


Museum-Worthy Art Glass for Premium Display

Creating unique, show-stopping awards is a guaranteed way to heighten your employee recognition events. Custom art glass awards and plaques with your logo engraved are sure to wow your audience and make recipients feel special. Make use of dynamic colors and organic, artful textures to create an award that demands to be displayed with pride.  

Choose from engraving or deep etching for your customized award logos & personalized messages, and have them filled with classic metallic ink for a polished look - or choose from many other award decoration finishing options like sandblasting, brand color fills to match your brand standards, or anything else you need to create the art glass award of your dreams!

Our team of custom award creation specialists are here to offer white-glove service to take the guess work out of making custom glass trophies and mixed media plaques for your event - we'll provide good-better-best options in your budget, and virtual mock-ups to show you what you can expect from your finished custom awards, before you invest, to give you peace of mind.  

MARCO Ideas Unlimited can offer you the best pricing on glass awards and trophies wholesale for large-scale events or annual meetings for your company. We can also source low-minimum order or low cost glass awards to give your smal business events a classy finish without breaking the bank. 

If you're looking for premium, wow-worthy art glass awards made with quality craftsmanship, Luili Art Glass, Moderne Glass Company, and Monarch Custom Glass are a few of our favorite museum-quality glass makers (for whom we are a verified distributor) lending their talents to the world of corporate awards. Monarch Custom Glass's Parris-Roche Studio is even based in Oregon just like us, and we always love to source awards made locally (or local to your shipping location, if you're not in Oregon)! 


Fun Awards for In-Office Competitions Support Teamwork

Obviously personalized awards and plaques are the go-to choice for employee milestones, sales goals, and team accomplishments which corporations typically promote and recognize. But have you considered using custom perpetual awards, plaques, or medals to promote in-office fun, friendly competitions, or annual events outside of standard productivity goals? 

Raise the stakes of your annual team chili cookoff, support your employee's fantasy football league with a trophy worth their fantasy team management efforts, or give your office gamers a way to commemorate break room high scores with fun-oriented awards that can be updated year after year to create a hall of fame for office fun.

Support employee interests and mental health while fostering
camaraderie among your crew by encouraging engagement with entertainment in the office!

Our friends at Ramsay Signs in Portland, OR recently stepped up their annual employee chili cookoff competition with a gorgeous perpetual award with new winners added on their own colorful crystal stacker each year. Plus, the winners get their own 3D optic crystal award (as featured in the first section of this blog) with a chili pepper beautifully rendered inside to keep and display with pride. 

Office Olympics competitions become much more fun with real medals on the line! We can customize any style, metal, and ribbon color of competition medals for your business or sporting events. Just shop our medal options or send us your art files and we'll customize your something special! 

Fun and festive awards for non-work related competitions show your employees that you care about their personal enrichment and success on all fronts, not just contributions to profits.   



Functional Award Gifts They'll Love to Use for Years

While traditional awards and trophies have their appeal, they can get repetitive for recognizing long-term employees and can easily clutter up cubicles or small offices. Instead opt for a functional, useful gift-quality item with personalization instead of an award to show your employees you care about giving consciously and offering utility as a business.

From award-quality desktop timepieces to premium self-watering planters to elegant engraved barware and glassware in our custom labeled Traveler drinking glass sets, functional award-gifts take your recognition off the shelves and into your employee's daily lives! The custom personalized gift creation specialists at MARCO Ideas Unlimited will help you come up with award gift ideas for your employees based on their interests, demographics, and your event budget.  

Many of our functional gift awards can be produced on fast or rush turnarounds
for last-minute recognition needs or for emergency event award orders. Don't sacrifice on your award gift value just because you need them quickly! We offer a wide range of top-quality, USA-made awards with quick turnarounds. Simply contact our team for assistance finding rush award options.

Functional and desirable retail-quality items make perfect safety award gift ideas for construction crews and outdoors-minded audiences! From customized Igloo brand coolers, to damascus steel & wood pocket knives, and even full kitchen knife blocks custom engraved with your company logo - you'll not only wow your crew, but give them years of useful assistance from your token of thanks.

Looking to create something truly special that your team will actually want, or truly needs, to express your gratitude? Our swag specialists are ready to help you find the best staff award gift ideas for your unique and talented team.     


Unique Sports Trophies to Encourage & Inspire

Sports awards and trophies are a perennial need for schools, universities, and community centers. Whether you need bulk sports awards for cheap to stay on your tight school budget, or unique and show-stopping awards to recognize exceptional sports star and coaching accomplishments, we can help you create the right custom sports awards for your squads! 

Whether you need sports awards focused on volleyball, basketball, tennis, soccer, baseball, football, lacrosse, field and track, cross-country, hockey, golf, cheerleading, dance, or even less common sports and active hobbies like pickleball, we stock and customize them all according to your team size and budget.

Even custom TV-worthy wrestling championship belts can be personalized to your school colors and desired level of flair to reward your wrestling team with a unique award they'll always remember. Custom branded championship belts also make a great incentive for your sales team or company safety leaders - each month or year's top performer can claim the belt with pride and motivate others to perform to be crowned the new champion. 

Customized medals and accomplishment ribbons can elevate intramural sports competitions, academic achievement events, and spelling bees from ordinary to extraordinary memories for your students to cherish for years! Whether you're looking for custom die-molded medals with 3D details in the metal itself, or vibrant color filled medals with enamel detailing, we can help you design the right custom sports medal for your needs.

Encourage your students to follow their sports dreams, believe in their own talents, and find the confidence to achieve their potential with custom sports awards, medals, plaques and trophies to recognize their practice, dedication, and hard work.


MARCO Ideas Unlimited can tailor existing award designs to your event needs and budget, or create fully custom awards from scratch with minimum orders as low as 1 piece to give your event true one-of-a-kind flair - simply contact us today for concierge award design service based on your brand guidelines.

Even more ideas can be found by browsing our wide range of awards and trophies here on our website. Visit our custom awards category page for a one-stop awards online shopping resource!



Samantha Sage is the Marketing Coordinator & Sales Assistant for MARCO Ideas Unlimited. Sam leverages her 10+ years of multi-industry marketing experience to help businesses grow their brands with quality promotional products. When Sam isn't researching new & unique swag options, you can find her in the Oregon woods with her husband & senior rescue dog. 

  • Category: Swag Design Ideas
  • Tags: Promotional Products, Personalization, Design Service, Marketing, Branding, Swag, Business Events, Awards
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