The Different Types of Diploma Seals

All universities have official seals or emblems that are used on any of the school's formal documents, including diplomas. A seal is used to provide authentication on important documents that need to be verified. Some schools have traditionally used the same ink stamp seal for generations. 

However, many institutions have adopted a couple of different techniques to highlight the seal's uniqueness and make it harder to replicate. Embossed, metallic, or raised seals take a lot of effort to duplicate. Since the use of university seals is limited to important and serious communication purposes of the school, the seal is more intricate than the school's logo. 

If you're looking for an authentic-looking college diploma, you'll need to consider the type of seal you need. Whether your school has a raised metallic emblem or uses a multi-colored design, a superior-quality replacement diploma will be able to represent your university's seal accurately. We'll go over the basics of a university seal, such as its history, how it's used on diplomas, top designs, and how to spot fake ones. 

What Is a Diploma Seal?

An academic institution uses a couple of different images to represent itself. The two most common images that a university or school may use are a seal and a logo. A seal is used on important documents, like diplomas and transcripts. It is a way of verifying official documents and guaranteeing to the observer that the document is from the highest level of university authority. Every university is strict about the use of its seal on university communication documents, and it must first be approved by a person in charge at the institution. 

In comparison, the university logo is used much more liberally than the seal. You'll see a university's logo on sweatshirts, notebooks, and stickers around campus. Typically the school's colors and a simple design are used for most logos. While the logo's purpose is to identify the school, it can't be used as a symbol of authenticity. Logos also typically change with the ever-evolving style and brand trends of the time. So while logos are generally contemporary, most seals remain the same throughout generations. 

If you ever see a university's seal on unofficial items, like hats or t-shirts, then it's likely used without permission or is phony. A university's logo will be much easier to spot as it is meant to be promotional and recognizable by the general public. You'll find a school's logo on a lot of items in the campus bookstore and on the website. A university seal is reserved for important communication by the university, such as letters from the President or academic records. 

Why Is a Diploma Seal Important?

A college diploma can speak for your accomplishments and abilities as you prepare to move on academically or professionally. Employers and other institutions value the work, knowledge, skills, and dedication that go into completing a degree. Having a college diploma from a prestigious university will ensure that you are qualified for your dream job. If you plan on applying for specialized roles where having certain levels of education is required, you will need official diplomas. 

Since degrees are an important aspect of applying to graduate school or to certain jobs, prospective employers and schools need something to verify your credentials. An official university seal on your college diploma means that the document is legitimate. Without the university's official seal, the diploma is most likely a fake one. 

What Is the History of the Diploma Seal?

The university seal has been around for a long time. Ever since modern universities were established in Europe around the 12th century, universities used seals to indicate the authenticity of important documents. Though the use of university seals has changed over time, colleges still use them to convey a sense of authority and provide authenticity to important documents. 

Many older universities choose to honor the historical legacy of original seal designs. The design of the university seals rarely changes. However, with modern technology, new printing techniques have been discovered to prevent counterfeiting university documents. These new techniques do not usually interfere with the unique and intricate nature of old seal designs. 

What If a Diploma Doesn't Have a Seal?

All authentic diplomas have official university seals. If you're looking for a temporary replacement diploma, it will need to have a similar seal in order to pass as the real thing. If you find a diploma that doesn't have a seal, then it's likely a fake one. 

What Do Diploma Seals Look Like?

The graphics of a diploma seal are usually quite different from the university's logos. The diploma seal is usually an intricate design, perhaps with a coat of arms. In comparison, a university's logo is likely to be a simple modern design. Diploma seals also use different methods of application that make them stand out on paper. 


Most college diploma seals are embossed on the paper. This term means that the image has raised impressions, making it stand out on the paper. A special metal tool is used to create these raised impressions. Since embossed seals require more effort and skill to create, one of the easiest ways to tell the authenticity of a college diploma is to check whether the seal is embossed or stamped. 

Embossed seals are typically preferred over stamps when it comes to important documents due to their ability to convey authority and class. You'll find that important documents often use an embossed seal to signify authority and official validation. For jobs where document authentication is essential for safety or legal purposes, like notaries, engineers, and architects, embossed seals are used frequently. 


Depending on the design of the seal, a university may use multiple colors. In this way, the seal is unique. Typically seals use one or two colors, but some may use more. They almost always correspond to the school's designated colors, as most institutions have adopted a specific color for branding and recognition purposes. For example, Yale University is well known for its blue color that it has sported since the late 1800s. 


A lot of university diplomas use a metallic foil seal on them. They can be silver or gold and embossed with the official seal. Other university documents may use the seal without gold or silver foil, like on the university president's letterhead. For a diploma, this applique offers a more distinguished look that pairs well with the important accomplishment of a degree. Because of its unique and high-quality appearance, a lot of universities use their seal with metallic foil on their diplomas.


Thermography is a fairly new style of printing that is similar to the effect of embossing. With this process, offset printing ink is combined with a powdered resin that is then heated. From the heat, the resin is melted to form a raised impression based on the ink. Thermographic printing is popular due to its cost-effectiveness and quick turnaround time. Because it goes through a heating process, those making the diploma can pack it up immediately once it's finished, as there's no need to wait for the paper to dry. 

Top Designs

Many well-known universities have intricate seal designs that can be applied in different ways. They always include the name of the university plus other phrases or dates may also be included on the seal. The designs are also usually more intricate than logos. Whereas logos are designed with simplicity in mind, seals often have many graphic elements involved in the design.

The University of California Berkley seal is a registered trademark. The seal is multi-colored in gold, blue, and white, with the name and date, prominently displayed. It has a couple of different noticeable graphics, including an open book, a script that reads, "let there be light," and a star at the top. However, though it is multi-colored, it can be printed in one color, grayscale, and only in black. Most UC Berkley diplomas will have a gold embossed seal. 

Though universities don't typically change diploma or seal designs often, some institutions choose to update their designs to prevent counterfeiting. The University of Chicago underwent a redesign of its seal fairly recently that aimed to improve the functionality and overall aesthetics of the university's diploma. 

This redesign was meant to incorporate more modern printing techniques and systems that prevent counterfeits. One of the additions to the diploma redesign was its seal. The embossed seal on the diploma has a maroon foil overlay. However, much of the historical design of the seal remained the same–a phoenix rising from flames and the Latin phrase, "Crescat scientia; vita excolatur," which means "Let knowledge grow from more to more; and so be human life enriched."

What Details Should You Look for When Buying a Replacement Diploma?

When buying a temporary or fake diploma, you'll want to look for high-quality ones that can work in replacement of your real one. One of the easiest ways to tell if a diploma is legitimate or not is by the seal. Universities want to convey the authority and level of distinction that their degree implies, so they will use techniques and materials that indicate high quality. 

Fake diplomas often have a hard time measuring up to the quality handed out by universities. You'll also be able to spot a fake diploma because of inaccurate school seal designs. Because seals are more intricate than logos, they can be difficult to replicate. In order to get realistic results, a diploma replacement company will need to have a graphic design team to replicate university seals. There are a lot of small details to get right, like font, proportions, and sizing, so you'll need to go with a professional company to get the best results.

A fake diploma might not abide by proper spacing guidelines. A university's seal will always be placed with enough clear space around the emblem. The clear space should not include any graphic elements or text. The seal should also not be placed too close to the edges of a document. 

There is also a minimum size requirement for a university's seal. The purpose of this size requirement is to ensure that the seal can be properly identified and verified. If it's too small, then the seal might be too hard to identify correctly. Since the purpose of the seal is to serve as an official identifier, then it needs to be big enough to see properly. 

If you're looking for the most realistic diploma replacement option, you'll want to choose a company that has the skill and means to create an accurate and high-quality university seal. People may be more suspicious of flat seals (those without embossing), colors that don't align with the school's colors, poor or missing graphics, and incorrect wording or phrases. The best temporary replacement diploma companies will have options for the seal, like embossing and metallic foil since most universities utilize these techniques on their official seals. 

There are a lot of reasons why you may need to get a temporary replacement diploma. Whether you're looking to display it or you need it for other personal reasons, working with the right diploma maker company is key to getting an authentic-looking diploma that looks just like your real one. When you work with the right company, you'll avoid fake-looking diplomas that don't pass as the real deal. Since the official seals are a part of the diploma that is hard to get right, you need a company that can handle the graphics and techniques necessary to achieve the correct results. If you're looking for high-quality diplomas with a few different seal options, check out our replacement diploma samples.

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