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Martial Arts Belt Certificates.
Belt Ranks Explained
In most Martial Arts Schools the students level of proficiency is indicated by a colored belt worn on their uniform, kimono, or Gi. This practice is relatively new and is about 120 years old. Throughout most of the practice of these arts the rank was only recorded on a certificate of rank. Many schools that award colored belts present a certificate of rank..
I have been hired by several schools to do their belt certificates and have sold supplies to others who wished to do their own certificates.
Size: I have done 8.5 x 11 certificates for rank below black belt and 11 x 14 and 11 x 17 for black belts. This is dictated by the customers wishes and the available size of special papers desired. There is a large variety of pre-printed border paper in 8.5 x 11 size and a smaller selection of 11 x 14 paper. Much of what I do is on Digital Silk 100 lb car stock a few have been on 11 x 14 border paper. Some clients had 11 x14 natural parchment made up with gold foil border and their logo in gold foil. Generally this requires an order of blank certificates made up of about 1000 sheets. Border papers are usually 20 to 40 lb text weight. When I start with a blank parchment use 65 lb. cover or 100 lb. digital silk cover. In some cases borders were created and printed as part of the certificate.
Design: You need to design the certificate. Headers, student name, and rank are generally in a larger type size than the body text. Old English is a popular font for this. Mixed case is desirable since all capital letters is hard to read. The body text can also be in Old English or in a simple script like Zapf Chancery Medium Italic. Do not try to use too many fonts. If we were to set each character to a different font the result would look like a ransom note. Those new to design tend to make this mistake. Because you have 1,200 fonts on the computer does not meant you should try to use them all. You need to decide the overall layout. How many signature will there be and where will they be placed? Will there be a seal, ribbon, logo, background graphic? Wi8ll it be printed in black and white or in color? Will it be printed on a pre-printed border paper, have a simple line border created in the page layout program, or have no border?
Text: The first problem is to figure out what you want to say, and the font to be used.
The header can be straight across or curved. A curved header takes up a lot more space and if you have a lot of text it may not fit into the design. You have the option to create a drop shadow or leave it plain. The text can be set to a color or not. You can set the header text to black with a drop shadow and then set the first character of each word to Gold. All characters can have a simple 1 pixel white outline or another color outline, or do not outline them at all.
Background graphics: It can have no background graphic, a faint graphic like a watermark, or a stronger more intense image . It should be keep light enough that it does not interfere with the text. Any photo can be processed in Photoshop and be turned into a background graphic . An image of two students sparring can work well if you have a good picture. A good line drawing works best since you don't have to worry about the white Gi disappearing into the white background of the paper. A photo of two marshall artists in black can work well also.
Logos: You high resolution logo can be printed either as a background graphic or as a solid image. It can also be turned into a pre-embossed foil seal with a background ink. They must be ordered in rolls of 1,000 seals. There are available on Gold boil, Silver foil, or Bronze foil. The more rolls you buy at a time the lower the cost per roll. You could purchase multiple rolls at the multiple roll discount and pay a small change fee and change the color of foil or the color of ink and save a lot of money over ordering the rolls as a separate order. There is a $25 die charge and a 4MD on standard foil is only $221 for a thousand. Eight thousand is $680. For a small ink color change size each of the thousand could be done with a belt color ink in the background. If you created a generic logo rather than one with your schools name on it, you could order each of the thousand on short rolls, of 500, 250, or 200 paying an extra $1 per roll for the short rolls. You could share the seals and the cost with other schools. The following background inks are available.
Embossing blank seals with your embosser: Some schools have embossers with their school seals. They seek blank colored foil seals to use with their embossers. I have shiny blank gold, silver, bronze, red, blue, Green seals in stock in a 2 inch size. I have access to purple seal, but I don't keep them in stock.
These colors are available by flood coating a foil seal: black #1, brown #15, dark blue #6, medium blue #11, light blue #7, baby blue #29, ruby red #4, purple #5, teal #37, dark green #12, light green #13, mint green #28, yellow #2, golden yellow #41, orange #9, orange/red #3, white #17 (PMS match add $95)
Flood coated label with no personalized imprint $170 / 500 seals , $205 / 1000 seals, $175 / add'l 1000's
We can also do embossers.
Ribbons: Some people like ribbons on their certificates. We have one piece double faced satin ribbons. You place the ribbon on the certificate and place a seal over the top edge to hold it in place. We can only get them in the five colors below. We can provide rolls of ribbon that you can cut into strips and apply in the same manner.
Presentation: You can give your students their certificate loose or we can provide padded certificate folder either blank cover or with your school's name on the cover. Again you can use a generic Martial Arts design and share with other studios to get a volume discount on the presentation folders. We can also provide certificate display wall plaques. Many schools give the certificate to the students, but off for sale the plaque. The profits from the sale of the plaques can become a profit center and offset the cost of the certificate.
Our service: Not only can we sell you the materials to do the job yourself, we offer design and print service at low rates. We can design a certificate and pdf the design so you see and approve the order before you spend any money.
We offer the following options:
Paper weight: If we do not print the diplomas, you need to make sure that the printer you use to do any printing on the certificates can handle the weight of the paper. Some printer can print on heavier papers from the paper tray, others require you use the bypass method to hand feed the paper. Some printers can not print on heavier papers at all. Check the printer specifications in the specification section of your owners manual or go online to download an owners manual from the manufacturers web site. Look for the paper weight capacity in gms.
Those Tricky Paper Weights