While students with the best hair and best smile are immortalized in your yearbook superlative section, there’s a little trick you can use to save yourself the hassle of a big, school-wide vote and, at the same time, bring those award more in line with your community’s core values: Use a superlative certificate.
You might know these little bits of extra recognition as the piece of paper that comes with “student of the month” or “student of the week” awards, but superlative certificates can come in handy for your yearbook, too.
Well, simple. Keep track of all the ones your school distributes throughout the year and … viola … your yearbook superlative section is done.
This whole thing is so easy, the hardest part is actually designing your superlative certificate template. Don’t worry; we handled that for you and have a free template to share.
So, what does a superlative certificate template look like?
Well, it could look like this:
Let’s jump into the rest of the blog post, so we can show you how we made ours.
The Advantages of Using a Superlative Certificate
Real quick, though: We covered this briefly in the opening, but using a superlative certificate program throughout the year can give you a ready-made yearbook superlative section when it comes time to wrap up your yearbook.
From our point of view, there are two things about this approach that are totally great:
- It saves you a ton of work. If your school already has a “student of the month” or “student of the week” program in place, it doesn’t take much work to keep a running log of who won the award and why. And, heck, you might not even need to do that. The reason they won the award is probably written right on their certificate and we’re willing to bet someone at your school is taking a picture of that student with their piece of paper. (Umm… hello awesome superlatives spread with practically zero work?)
- It aligns more with your school’s values. We’ll go out on a limb here and say your school probably isn’t giving someone the “student of the month” award for having the best hair or best smile. It’s probably more likely that they’re getting the award for being an empathetic peer, showing outstanding academic progress, or always working hard. And those awards probably align more with your school’s values than who has the trendiest hair style. Why not keep that in the yearbook?
With that out of the way, we’ll get onto the good stuff.
How to Create a Superlative Certificate Template
To create a superlative certificate template, we’re going to use Google Slides (Google’s version of PowerPoint) instead of a more robust editing software or a Microsoft product because it’s free and the work is shareable. This makes life easy for everyone.
The shape of a single slide is the perfect guide for you to work within, and you can print an entire presentation, with each slide representing an individual superlative certificate. By working in Google Slides, you can simply duplicate your template the required number of times, change out the names of the superlative and the student who won, and print. It’s that easy.
(If you don’t have time to design your own from scratch, you can download our free superlative certificate template and adjust as you see fit.)
- Access your Google Drive and create a new Google Sheet (it’s the small, yellow icon).
- The first slide of your new Google Sheet will feature two text boxes. Since we’re going to be making our own layout, you can go ahead and delete them.
- Navigate to the “Insert” tab and move down to “Shape.” Once the shape menu populates, select the square. Drag the square across the slide so that there’s a border (in our template, the border is the green area) . Google Sheets has a phenomenally useful feature, a set of red guide lines that show you how evenly spaced your objects are. They’re going to become your best friend.
- The color of both the lines and the fill (the inside) of your new square can be altered. If you know the Hex codes for your school’s colors, consider using them here. To save your school a bit of ink, we recommend making the fill color white and then using colored lines in concert with a colored border (which can be achieved by right clicking the screen and clicking “Change Background.
- Now we’re going to create the banner for the header text. Go back to “Shapes” in the “Insert” menu and add a banner. There are a handful of options available to you, and each can be sized to your liking. Simply drag the one you want onto the slide and adjust the color.
- Next it’s time for the header itself. Instead of a text box, we’re going to use Word Art. This will make it easier to scale the header up or down to fit inside of the banner. Navigate over to the “Insert” tab again and select “Word Art.” A box will appear. In it, write a headline. “Congratulations,” or perhaps the name of your school followed by the word “Superlative.”
- Move the header and the banner. Using the guides, place the banner in the top third of the middle of the certificate. Move your headline into the banner. Adjust the color and thickness of the lines, and the font.
- Create a text box and place it in the center of the certificate (below the banner and headline). This is where the majority of the actual copy on the certificate will live. As you type your message into the box, adjust the font and size accordingly. No matter the length of the message, try to size the copy so that there aren’t line breaks in the middle of ideas, as this can be difficult to read. For example, on the certificate for “Best Smile,” ensure that both “Best” and “Smile” are on the same line of text.
- Below the description copy you’re going to want to leave space for the name of the winning student. You can either type this in (using some sort of handwriting-inspired font) or hand-write it after the fact for a more personal feel.
- Just beneath the student’s name, there should be a fairly large blank space. This is where you’ll want to insert some sort of image. If your school has a mascot or crest, drop it in and size appropriately. In the event you don’t have access to a school-specific image, simply pull a picture of a medal from the internet and crop it down to size.
- Nearly finished! Traditionally, certificates of any kind feature small “Presented by” and “Date” sections; they live in the bottom left and right corners of the certificate and each consist of a line on which to sign or write the date and a label beneath it. Create a pair of lines and text boxes and use the guides to position them accordingly
- Let’s add some final decorative touches and call it a day. In the template we’re working on, we’ve decided to place a small star in each corner. To start, shimmy your mouse on over to the “Image” and “Shape” tabs and select the star (or something else, if you wish). Move the shape into position and scale it up or down until you’re happy with the size. Adjust the color (line and fill) and weight (line thickness) of the star. Now, time for a little trick. Copy (Ctrl+C) your star and then paste (Ctrl+V) it three times: one for each corner. Let the guides assist you in moving the star into position (the should already be sized perfectly).
- Every component of your certificate is in place: all that’s left is a bit of quality assurance! Use the guides (again! I’m telling you, they’re a lifesaver) to ensure every dimension is properly sized and spaced. Check the colors of each component to ensure they match. Finally, edit any spelling errors (nobody like a red squiggly line).
- Duplicate your certificate, altering the names of the superlative and winning student, respectively.
- Print and distribute.
Using superlative certificates can make your yearbook (well, a couple of pages, at least) a little bit easier to pull together. And it has the added bonus of bring your superlatives section more in line with your school’s values.
Don’t have time to create your own certificates from scratch? We’ll cover you. Download our free superlative certificate template, and give one to each of your winners this year.