The awarding of college degrees with diplomas has been around for centuries. In this way, graduates could prove their credentials as they traveled and moved jobs. Though the style and design of diplomas have changed significantly throughout history, the authority and importance of these documents have been left unchanged.
With the advent of modern printing technology and advances in synthetic paper materials, modern diplomas typically are able to be made quickly, even with intricate designs and fonts. However, many of the modern diploma designs used today are rooted in the history of their respective institutions.
We'll go over the history of college diplomas, how schools choose their designs, plus some of the best diploma designs among top universities. Plus, if you're interested in buying a copy of your own diploma, we'll detail how you can find realistic diploma replicas of the coolest designs out there.
What Is the History of College Diplomas?
Since the middle ages, colleges have awarded degrees to students who completed the required coursework. Since it was necessary for the students to have a way to prove their education credentials, a sheet of sheepskin detailed a graduate's enrollment dates and other important, relevant information. Sheepskin was the most popular material due to its flexibility and resiliency. A graduate would be able to roll up their sheepskin diploma as he took it on the road to a new location.
Harvard University, the oldest college in the United States, didn't start handing out regular standard diplomas until 1813. Any sheepskin diplomas before this time period were made and paid for by the college graduate. They even had to pay the president of the university to sign the document.
However, the use of sheepskin diplomas rapidly disappeared in the last half of the twentieth century. Instead of rolling up their diplomas, graduates started to prefer framing them. Since college diplomas are not typically handed out during graduation ceremonies, the university will hand out a symbolically rolled piece of paper instead. The roll of paper is reminiscent of diplomas in the past and has been a traditional element of the graduation ceremony.
Today, there are few, if any, colleges that hand out sheepskin diplomas. With large graduating classes, obtaining a large number of sheepskin diplomas is not easy or economically feasible. Instead, universities focus on creating diplomas with high-quality designs that pay homage to the history of the school.
Why Are Diplomas Important?
The main purpose of the diploma is to prove to people that you graduated from a certain college or university. Since starting a career or obtaining a particular position within a profession often requires advanced education, it's important to be able to show your academic achievements.
Though potential employers have other ways of verifying your education qualifications for a job besides seeing the hard copy of your diploma, this document still is an important part of your career or academic development. In particular, if you choose to work or continue studying abroad, you'll need to bring along your diploma for verification purposes. In addition to travel, some jobs may require or strongly suggest hanging your diploma in your office or near your desk so that clients can see your qualifications.
Ultimately, diplomas are more than just pieces of paper. You should take extra care to ensure that it doesn't get lost, stolen, or damaged, as replacing these documents can be a pain later.
How Do Colleges Choose Diploma Designs?
Most colleges tend to keep the design of the diploma for many years. Unlike other university branding materials, like logos, which change with modern trends, most universities tend to stick with traditional designs that offer historical significance. However, some universities choose to update their diploma design to prevent fraud and counterfeiting. Usually, the board of trustees for a college or university will decide on the final plans for the seal.
The official seal of the university, which is placed on all important university documents, like the diploma, typically doesn't change that much over the years. For many older universities, the university seal (or elements of it) has been around for a hundred or more years. The typical seal will often contain design elements such as a Latin phrase, imagery specific to the school, an important date, school colors, and the name of the university.
The seal can be used on a number of different official university documents. Its colors can also usually be adjusted, so on documents, you might see the seal in color, grayscale, or in black. Generally, on diplomas, universities will use an embossed (raised) seal on gold or silver but may choose other colors.
What Are Some of the Best Diploma Designs?
Some of the top universities in the world use a traditional seal that is rooted in the school's history. You'll often find a coat of arms in its imagery, as well as old Latin mottos and phrases. Some of the diplomas are even written entirely in Latin, as this language is a tradition in the academic world.
Though diploma designs have changed in recent years to prevent forgery or counterfeiting, a lot of the seals have remained relatively the same. Bryn Mawr College has a seal that has been in use since the early 1900s. Around this time frame, the college's board of trustees came up with a design that contained relevant imagery and colors to the school. Today, you'll find that not much about the seal has changed. There is still a coat of arms that contains three owls and the Latin phrase "veritatem dilexi," which means "I have chosen truth." The seal also contains images of lanterns and daisies that were symbols already relevant to the school. It also incorporates the college's colors–white and yellow.
The prestigious University of Oxford has used a similar coat of arms since the year 1400. On the emblem is an open book with the Latin phrase "Dominus Illiminatio Mea," which means "The Lord is my light." It also has images of three golden crowns and seven seals along the left side of the book. In addition, Oxford is well known for its blue color, as seen in the coat of arms. Throughout the years, the phrasing has changed, and the number of seals wasn't always seven.
While a lot of top universities utilize old-fashioned design elements like elaborate script font or the university's name in a curved arch shape, some top universities opt instead for a plain script. Harvard University's undergraduate diploma is designed with a modern, easy-to-read font and size. It's also issued in the typical horizontal format. However, Harvard University's graduate degrees are typically in a vertical orientation. In addition, graduation degrees have been issued entirely in Latin.
Issuing diplomas entirely in Latin is not that unusual among Ivy League schools. Since Latin has held such an important place in the international academic world for much of history, these kinds of diplomas hold onto tradition and history. Brown University issues all of its diplomas in Latin, except, of course, the name of the graduate.
Princeton University also issues all of its diplomas entirely in Latin. The diploma also features a calligraphy-inspired font, which is reminiscent of old handwritten diplomas by calligraphers.
Can You Find Realistic Replicas of Cool Diploma Designs?
Finding high-quality replicas of prestigious universities' diplomas is not easy. There are often multiple elements of design that are rooted in the school's history and traditions. In addition to design, you may also want to think about technique and materials. A university's seal is often embossed or done in gold or silver. At Same Day Diplomas, there are multiple options for choosing the technique of the seal, as well as a graphics team that can produce realistic diploma designs.
There are a lot of cool diploma designs out there. Top universities are known for their historical tradition, like writing in Latin. University seal designs also incorporate a lot of traditional design elements.
If you don't like your original diploma's design and want to find a replica that has a better style or design, then you might want to consider getting a copy made. If you plan on displaying your diploma at home or at your business, you'll have to see it every day. If you don't like the design, then looking at your diploma may be an eyesore rather than a source of pride. When you decide to buy from a diploma maker, then you'll be able to have control over how you want the diploma to look.
Whether you're looking for a close replica of your diploma or you want a different design for your diploma, attention to detail is key. It's important to go with a diploma-making company that takes design details seriously. One of the easiest ways to tell whether a diploma is legitimate is by looking at the design details–the seal, font, size, and proportions. If the diploma is not realistic, you'll be able to tell because the design details are off.
Why Might You Want a Personal Copy?
Buying a diploma replica doesn't mean that you can pretend that you graduated from the school if you didn't actually go there. It can be a serious legal issue if you misuse the diploma or misrepresent your academic credentials. So it's important to remember that using these diplomas is for personal use. It is not an official document. However, there are a lot of reasons why you may want another copy of your diploma for personal use. Having extra copies of your diploma can give you peace of mind if you want or need to display your diplomas publicly or if you travel a lot.
You may want multiple copies of your diploma for safekeeping. While displaying your diplomas at your place of work might be a good idea or even necessary, you may feel more comfortable keeping your original documents in a more private, secure place. Losing or damaging your diploma will be stressful, as getting a replacement diploma from your university can be a hassle, and it may take a long time to receive it.
It's also important to keep in mind that most universities won't issue multiple copies of your diploma for personal use. Since it's an original document, there isn't an option to order more than one. Knowing this general rule can save you the time of asking your school for an extra copy of your diploma, as they won't issue another one unless it's been lost, stolen, or damaged.
Also, if you travel for work, you may want to keep your original diploma at home and bring a copy instead. By bringing a copy of your diploma, you can mitigate the risks of it getting stolen, lost, or damaged in transit. If you plan on traveling, you'll also want to consider buying a padded cover to keep the copy safe. High-quality diploma copies tend to cost at least one hundred dollars. So, you'll want to do your best to keep the diploma copy from getting folded, wrinkled, or damaged, as you'll want it to look as nice as possible.
Special care and attention to detail are taken into account when creating a diploma. Some universities choose specific elements to incorporate history and longstanding traditions into the design and overall look of the diploma. Old and prestigious universities often take their own institution's history into consideration by maintaining the historical seal design, as well as academic historical traditions, like Latin wording. Whether you're looking for a realistic replica of your current diploma or you'd like to incorporate different designs into a new diploma copy, going with a diploma-making company that produces high-quality results is important. Same Day Diplomas is able to produce realistic and authentic-looking diploma designs.