Why should you care about the design of certificates attendees receive at the end of your course? How do certificates issued by renowned educational organizations look? Read this article to get inspired and check the industry’s most beautiful and effective certificates.

The process of creating an online course consists of a few elements. You need to define your target audience, find a need or a problem your course will solve, work on educational materials, and then revise and distribute them, preferably in an automated manner. And that’s not all! Every valuable and memorable online course should be completed with a certificate.

And not just with a certificate. The certificate you create for an online course should be outstanding. It should look in a way that makes attendees satisfied and willing to share the certificate with their network.

Certificates are an important part of any online course. We know that, that’s why we did some research to gather examples of the most noteworthy certificates issued by respected educational organizations. Find inspirations that will help you create certificates you will be proud of.

Online course platforms are booming. Although the EdTech industry had already been flourishing before the COVID-19 times, it was the pandemic that accelerated its growth. Businesses operating on the online course market reached a 221% surge in new course creation. The rise of online courses happened in the early days of the pandemic.

Let’s have a look at the design of certificates of the best-known online course platforms and marketplaces to find some inspirations and learn best practices.

Udemy certificate by Microsoft

Coursera Course Certificate

edX - example of a certificate template

Udacity Certificate

FutureLearn Certificate

The Ivy League diplomas and certificates

Eight private research universities based in the US are dream-come-true schools for thousands, if not millions, of applicants. Have a look at their original certificate design and pick best practices and eye-catchy elements. In addition to this, don’t forget that these are extremely traditional organizations, and the design of their certificates depicts that in many ways - starting from layout colour, through the presence of emblems, signatures, ending with specific kinds of stylized fonts.

Brown University diploma

Brown University Electronic Diploma displayed on a tablet


Columbia University Diploma

Harvard University Diploma

Traditional Cornell University Diploma

Cornell University Diploma issued online

Dartmouth College Certificate

University of Pennsylvania Certificate

University of Pennsylvania Electronic Diploma

Princeton University Diploma with a frame

Yale University Diploma

Yale School of Medicine Certificate


Certificates issued by well-known IT organizations

The last group of online certificate inspirations we gathered comes from tech giants, the largest companies operating in the IT sector. See how the design of certificates issued by technology companies differs from, for example, diplomas from the leading US universities.

Certificate issued by Apple

Pay attention to the dates on both Apple certificates. The lean and beautifully simple design of Apple certificates hasn’t been changed for more than 8 years.

IBM Course Certificates

Cisco Career Certification

Amazon AWS Certificates

Note how the certificates have been changing throughout the years from 2016 to 2020.

Samsung Masterclass Certification

Microsoft Certification

Wrap up: best certificate design ideas and inspirations

As already mentioned, certificates are an essential part of any online course. Not only are they valuable to course attendees, but they also provide value to your organization.

Beautiful and eye-catching certificates are a way to advertise your course, promote your brand and attract  new course participants. So be sure to invest enough time and resources into creating unique designs for your certificates.

Certifier, the best online certificate creator will help you with that. Just follow this link and start creating beautiful digital certificates for free!